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Olivier Roellinger's Les Maisons de Bricourt


eugenezuckoff
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We haven´t been there in a few years. I can tell you that after every other dinner taken at a two star restaurant in Brittany, we´ve regretted not making the effort to get to back to Roellinger. Although we´ve had but one meal there, we are surprised it´s not rated three stars.

We had the degustation menu and that´s what I would recommend having. I distinctly recall the service starting with the tiniest of courses, no more than amuse bouches, and slowly building in size. The final savory course for us was baby lamb chops from the region. There´s a report on our meal over on my WorldTable site. Sorry, I´m replying from a cybercafe in Spain and a bit pressed for time--so you´ll have to navigate to find the page if you are interested.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I have been to this restaurant more times than any other quality restaurant in France over the last ten years and can honestly say there is practically nothing you shouldn't try - the guy is a genius IMHO. If you are up for it at lunch then go for the degustation as this is usually the most inventive and well balanced menu. Be sure to make time to have coffee in the garden and if there are just two of you I would recommend one of the three window tables overlooking the duck pond. Wine wise I can recommend the Chablis Premier Cru from Raveneau (or Dauvissat if you prefer something less austere). Enjoy!!

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

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I've not been, but friends have and highly recommend it. Gordon Ramsay's Head chef also worked there for a while too, trivia fans.

Whilst in the area, in the walls of St Malo is a 'a la duchesse anne' one of best places i've been for classic french comfort food eg steak bearnaise, turbot beurre blance, tarte tatin etc. Had a star for many years but lost it somehow this year. Regulars i know went recently and said nothing had changed so it'll be fine.

you don't win friends with salad

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I have been to this restaurant more times than any other quality restaurant in France over the last ten years and can honestly say there is practically nothing you shouldn't try - the guy is a genius IMHO.

Gavin -- When you have a chance, please consider discussing some of the dishes you have taken at Roellinger.  :wink:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Olivier Roellinger has been the subject of some interest here before as has the use of curry by French chefs. The arrival of his e-mail newsletter Subject: En juillet chez Roellinger seemed worth bringing to the attention of members. The e-mail featured links to new information on his site and an online article in Gourmet magazine.

You can find a set of links for the English versions here.

The page in French is here.

The recipe for the Curried mussel velouté, includes instructions for making the blend of spices as well as instructions for the entire preparation.

20 g turmeric (2/3 oz) - 22 g ground coriander (3/4 oz) - 10 g ground cumin (1/3 oz) - 10 g white pepper powder (1/3 oz) - 5 g ground cloves (1/6 oz) - 5 g dried ginger (1/6 oz) - 5 g Cayenne pepper (1/6 oz) - 5 g mace (1/6 oz) - 5 g ground fennel (1/6 oz) - 5 g ground fenugreek (1/6 oz) - 3 g ground star anise (1/8 oz)

This is but a bit from the Gourmet article on the restaurant and the chef:

His Jewish father had fled Alsace for Brittany in his youth, and his Breton mother was descended from aleader of a royalist uprising after the revolution. Raised on romantic tales of pirates and ships that once brought riches across the oceans from afar, as a young man he was on course for one of France's prestigious Grandes-Ecoles. Then, one night in 1976, he was beaten up by thugs in nearby St-Malo and left for dead, with both legs broken and severe damage to his face.

Confined to a wheelchair for two years, Roellinger completely reexamined his life.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Very interesting Bux. The mussel/curry recipe is from his glorious book, which was published in 1994, and which most chefs serious about French cooking were eager to get their hands on. It's only taken 8 years to run the recipe in English but kudos to Roellinger for caring and for making the effort on his site, which is getting more rewarding by the month.

Note he embraced toasting the spices whole and aging before grinding--very sophisticated awareness on the part of a Western chef--and way before the rise of French/Indian fusion articles started appearing in mainstream US media. (Or before the odd American chef was quoted spouting off mistakenly about how French chefs utilize curry.)

The Gourmet article...well, someone must have had a nice vacation. Too bad Catharine Reynolds and her editors are almost a decade behind the curve. (Who's advising them?) Again, the book came out in 1994. And his cuisine was just as deeply personal then.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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As for the spices, it was not clear to me from reading the recipe that the spices are heated (toasted) before grinding. As I read it, he ages the ground mix in a wooden box for two weeks. I would have thought one would want the spices ground just before using. The wooden box--not glass jar--is interesting. He doesn't specify any particular wood, but I wonder about benefit of transference. Then again maybe if the box is constantly reused, it reaches a point where it no longer absorbs flavor and aroma from new powder but imparts the flavor of past mixes. I don't know. I'm a bit in the air about that.

Your comment about vacation is apt. I think Gourmet has always been about eating well while traveling and not about traveling to eat. It's still about the life style more than the food. For me there's far less disappointment that they're well behind the curve than there is pleasure in seeing Roellinger get the notice he deserves.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Moving a bit farther West to Carantec, Patrick Jeffroy serves oysters in a coconut-curry gelée...

oyster.jpg

Huîtres en Gelée de Coco et Curry

3 dozen oysters

400 ml coconut milk

2 tb curry powder

2-1/2 sheets gelatin, softened in cold water

1 tb butter

1 leek, cleaned and minced,

white part only

salt and pepper to taste

cilantro leaves

dried orange powder

1. Quickly steam (1 minute) the oysters open. Remove the meat from shell and drain the juices through a strainer into a bowl. Discard the flat side of the shells. Set the oysters out on the curve shells.

2. Warm the coconut milk slightly and combine with the curry. Mix with a hand blender. Add the oyster juice and gelatin. Keep warm (liquid) until needed.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sweat the leeks, covered, until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until needed.

4. Drain the oysters again. Spoon a little cooked leek over each oyster. Spoon the gelée over the oysters and set aside in a refrigerator to gel.

5. To serve, place the oysters on a plate. Decorate with a few cilantro leaves and some grated orange powder.

Yield: 6 servings.

Bouland

a.k.a. Peter Hertzmann

à la carte

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  • 11 months later...

When I went I had the John Dory 'Retour des Indes', and it was delicious, and a 'pied de cheval' oyster that I thought was going to eat me instead, so huge was it.

That was about 6 years ago, though, and I've not heard any reports since.

He seems to go for the 'seafood + spices' thing a lot, like Bras and Veyrat do 'ingredient + wild plants' and Gagnaire does '20 things on one plate'.

Ready to order?

Er, yeah. What's a gralefrit?

Grapefruit.

And creme pot... pot rouge?

Portugaise. Tomato soup.

I'll have the gralefrit.

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I wasn't meaning to be at all dismissive, though. But it works well with certain chefs.

Ferran Adria - 'Snap, Crackle and Pop'

Ready to order?

Er, yeah. What's a gralefrit?

Grapefruit.

And creme pot... pot rouge?

Portugaise. Tomato soup.

I'll have the gralefrit.

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My visit was six years ago as well. I've been in Brittany a few times since and dined in a few other two star restaurants there. Each time I deeply regretted I was not back at Roellinger. I wrote about our meal then. No doubt it's cliche ridden writting, but may shed some light on his past, if not present attitude towards food. If you go, I recommend taking the tasting menu. The whole menu, as with many creative chefs, is more than the sum of the parts.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 1 year later...

Bonsoir,

I am very attracted in Olivier Roelinger's cooking (the way he mixes fresh seafood and spices from over the world, recreating in a way the " Road of spices" ( not sure about the english translation :huh:

I am about to book a table at "la maison de bricourt", his restaurant in Cancale, and I would be very interested in reading a review or getting differents points of view, if any of you have ever eaten there .

thanks a lot

Let Eat Be

Food, Wine & other Delights

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I was there on August 29(sunday)and perhaps because it was sunday the seafood was not as fresh as I would have expected. In the same trip I had better bar and turbot elsewhere at Dinard. His homard "saveur des iles" was quite memorable in terms of flavor combination and subtlety. But I prefer 1 to 1.5 kg blue lobsters and this was smaller--hence a bit cottony.

I was surprised that he served the turbot with a grapefruit chutney as I do not think sweetness is a welcome element there. He tried to balance it with nutty flavors of almonds and oily sesame seeds but the dish never achieved the balance one expects in a place like this. I was also dumbfounded that he did not cut the turbot piece from the bone.

His cassis souffle with apricot coulis was outstanding. Light, airy, intense and noneggy.

Wine list is stunning. Fairly priced too.

Perhaps I expected too much as the recommendation came from Jellybean/Degusto whose criteria are rigorous and he is a very hard palate to please.

Please try. Chances are that they had a mediocre day which can happen anywhere. Also think about lamb there if they have the presale from Mont St. Michel. In august they did not have. They have great red burgundies from best producers and also from top and appropriately aged vintages.

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My wife & i ate at Bricourt in May, the weather was perfect & the food was superlative (IMO better than an earlier meal at Gagnaire although the degustation menu was not taken at PG). Raw john Dory, warm Cancale oysters, sea bass with elderflowers, breton lobster & the best lamb i have ever eaten- dessert was just average, but the caramels were very good! Better value than Paris. Oh great bottle of Loire sancerre & good array of cheese.

Eddy M., Chef & Owner

Se.ed Artisan Foods, Vancouver BC

Follow Se.ed's growth at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/fromseedtofood/

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There's no question the provinces generally provide better value than Paris. My only visit to Roellinger was back in 1997. I was very impressed with our meal. I thought he handled a wide range of spices better than anyone else in my experience at that time. I was surprised he didn't get three stars. Seven or eight years is a long time. It's hard to be sure my recommendation still holds up. It's one my places I'd love to revisit. I've had other meals in Brittany since and none have compared well. The other two star restaurants in Brittany in which I've dined, did not compare although I've not eaten in every one of the two star restaurants in Brittany. Let us know what you think. I'd like to believe vmilor just hit a bad day or that his expectations were too high.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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As far as I know there are only 2 more 2 stars in Brittany. I heard very good things about the Auberge Breton but have not been there. Have you been there Bux?(or anybody else?)

The fact that Roellinger served turbotin and called it turbot was inexcusable. It is possible that not getting 3 stars when you deserve it can be demoralizing. Roellinger may also be spreading too thin because he is involved in other ventures. But if I go the the region I will give it another try given that so many people whose opinion I value recommend this place highly.

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Auberge Breton? If you mean the one in La Roche Bernard, we ate there but several years ago and Don't remember the meal because it was the one and only time in all our years we had a rude server. I don't think she liked Americans.

She was young and acted like Miss Rachitt. The hostess otherwise was very nice and we told her our feelings when we left.

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

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As far as I know there are only 2 more 2 stars in Brittany.  I heard very good things about the Auberge Breton but have not been there.  Have you been there Bux?(or anybody else?)

The fact that Roellinger served turbotin and called it turbot was inexcusable. It is possible that not getting 3 stars when you deserve it can be demoralizing. Roellinger may also be spreading too thin because he is involved in other ventures. But if I go the the region I will give it another try given that so many people whose opinion I value recommend this place highly.

I've heard so many good things about Thorel's food at l'Auberge Breton that I've questioned my own reactions to meal we had back in '97. I recall it being spectacularly inconsistent, with the low spots ruining my evening. A pushy sommelier didn't help my mood by the end of the evening. I recall an overdone lobster, but something in my memory says it was one that should never have made the pot of a two star restaurant in the first place. However, that all flies in the face of what I've heard about the place.

At Crozil's in Plancoët, I recall a dish with fish and syrup. I don't recall much else, but some sort of fish preparation swimming in a sweet soupy liquid. I just didn't get it. Amphytrion in Lorient was fine, but for me, at the low end of the two star range. Admittedly others at the table thought it was a more solid two star experience. I have not eaten at Joffroy's in Carantec. Those are the only two stars, at least currently, or as of last year.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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