Having had the pleasure to dine at this Michelin rated restaurant, BestChampagne tells you why it is worth it to reserve a table and spend a night there. Whether you are a champagne aficionado, a foodie or just after a treat in a 5 star environment.
The Chef and Owner: Arnaud Lallement
Chef and owner Arnaud Lallement
Having gained his diploma at the Strasbourg Hotel & Catering College, Arnaud Lallement is the mind and creator behind the concept of the restaurant and the hotel. He shaped his cuisine by great French chefs such as Roger Vergé ; Chef of the legendary Moulin de Mougins, Michel Guerard ; one of the longest-standing 3 Star chefs in France and chef of Les Prés d’Eugenie in Eugenie-les-Bains and Alain Chapel ; once chef of the harmonious restaurant in the village of Mionnay near Lyon .
It is thanks to these haute cuisine French icons that Arnaud has learned the cuisine of the south based on olive oil (Roger Vergè), the lightness (Michel Guerard) and the art of making excellent meat or fish soups and sauces (Alain Chapel).
At the age of 26, faced with the responsibility to continue the activity of his father Jean-Pierre ; former chef and owner of the Assiette who prematurely died in 2002, he well succeeded in winning the great expectations that were put on him, maintaining some plates of the family and regional tradition but also introducing some novelties both in the cuisine and in the hotel style, with a cool and modern “Stark design”. This is how the young chef was awarded with two Michelin stars: in 2001 and again in 2005.
So much ambition and determination is actually accompanied by a warm smile and elegant welcome, this is how Lallement genuinely appeared to us. The care for the details and the attention to the guest, enjoyment is definitely something that comes from him and extended to the structure and the team.
The Bar: Krug by the flute
Cosy and intimate, the bar is one of the main attractions of the restaurant and the perfect spot for a flute before dinner. The ambiance is soft and colours are dark but quiet.
The Assiette Champenise bar where Krug can be tasted by the glass all year round
The decoration, the music and the courtesy of the waiters could give the impression you are in a fashion roof-top bar in New York rather than in the quiet Champagne Region. Nevertheless, looking at the book of Champagnes, it is almost impossible not to remember you are in the heart of Champagne region.
A list of every kind of champagne, divided by House can accomplish every taste, whether for an apéritif or for dinner.
From 1996 Boizel Vintage to a classic Krug Krug ,even with some small vigneron name Legras, Jacquesson, Henry Giraud, Pierre Moncuit, Michel Arnould Jacques Copin amongst the others, the choice is really vast and accurate.
Thanks to Mr. Lallement’s friendship and commercial partership with Olivier Krug with whom in 2010 he celebrated their 10 year collaboration, the bar of the Assiette Champenoise is one the very few places where you taste a Krug by the glass, all year long. Mr. Lallement is also one of the few to have rare Krug vintages (1973, 79, 81, 85, 96 and 98) beyond one the best Champagne canteens in France.
The Restaurant: Tradition and Innovation
In a good balance between tradition and innovation, the cuisine is really worth a travel to the Champagne region and is the icing on the cake of this top quality Hotel-Restaurant structure.
Mr.Lallement, chef of the multi-awarded restaurant proposes different kinds of menus, from the “Gout Menu” at 138 Euros with some representative plates of chef, the “Saveur Menu” at 158 Euros which already allows you to have a good idea of his cuisine, to the “Heritage Menu” at 198 Euros, probably the most complete and sophisticated, a choice to celebrate a special occasion.
The inside of the Assiette Champenoise 3 Michlein stars restaurant
For those who prefer to eat “à la carte”, the plates are gathered under two main sections “Intemporal” and “Innovation” and the chef organizes the entire dinner based on the choices of the guests, in a sort of “tailor made” menu, a very appreciated idea.
We had the pleasure to taste a special menu created by Lallement to introduce his cuisine and his signature plates. In the selection, very complete and refined, great dishes of the family, such as the Homard Bleu called “an homage to my father” or the magnificent cake de Pigeonneau (squab) with ham Reims of Lard, kind of a small cupcake made of paste brisée with inside layers of ham, foie gras, squab and epinard, a real délicatesse which is worth a dine by itself.
Others , shows his great expressive and artistic vain, along with the manager-chef one, like Saint-Jacques coquilles, presented with a cream of topinambour and a juice of epices d’Afrique du nord (North African spices) or the Asperges vertes Macaroni where simple legumes are marked with the intense savour of black truffle, till the Foie gras du Perigord, soft and delicate.
Every time Lallement creates unusual pairs that gently hit the palate, this is thanks to the great care the chef takes in choosing the ingredients of his cuisine. For instance, the chef has chosen to serve a small piece of salmon but of such a quality that it is almost superfluous not to add in some flavours and so the chef has deliberately chosen to add only a light coriander sauce on it.
Of the same excellent quality are also the homemade bread and the cheeses, a large tray with a selection of the best national and regional cheese.
For the desserts, the 100% chocolat is, more than a dessert but an experience with a kind of small chocolate truffle presented on a plate covered by chocolate powder like if it were itself made of chocolate.
To finish pastries of all kind – canelletes of Bordeaux, nougats and caramels beyond a selection of teas and coffees. Whatever the menu chosen, the chef will propose a selection of vignerons champagnes or Krug millesimé from his rare collection.
The Hotel: Modern Classic Appeal
The Assiette Champenoise hotel was designed in a very contemporary style
Looking at the neo Normand façade of the first 1900s, it is difficult to imagine that inside L’Assiette Champenoise there is a cool and modern style.
The design of the Hotel has little traces of the old manor, with the 35 rooms and suites have recently been refurbished in a very contemporary style, in keeping with the restaurant, bar, and reception.
The individual bedrooms however retain a more classic appeal, again with a modern touch.
The swimming pool, the park or the great tea-room naturally fits with the 5 stars of the hotel and the courtesy of the staff.