Le Bois sans Feuilles? A kingdom located just a few kilometers outside of Roanne, where the Troisgros family treat guests to a world apart. Designed by architect Patrick Bouchain, this U-shaped space decked out with floor-to-ceiling windows is built around a hundred-year-old oak tree and brought to life by steel tree trunks, Little Tulip turquoise chairs and chandeliers that resemble trembling leaves… In short, it’s a small, reconstructed, nearly barren forest, where you can savor the superbly revisited, bourgeois cuisine of Michel Bras and his sons César and Léo. For us, served à la carte the day we went for lunch: a fabulous pigeon served bloody, with red shades of watermelon, tomato, beetroot, redcurrants, strawberries and infused bee balm leaves; jubilatory grilled veal sweetbreads sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, plus eggplant marinated in dashi and a rich jus de cuisson; before a sublime chocolate narcissus, a sort of cacao disc with shortbread edges, filled with a lightly runny, irresistible ganache, punctuated by tangy capers in the ice cream served on the side. For the voluntary vertigo of an even-lengthier tasting menu, you can dive blindly into the €300 menu – eg.: milk curds with autumn truffle; sole with mint; crayfish “melancholy”; venison medallions; “somewhere between a pear and a turnip,” etc. // Gilles Dupuis
FEELING THIRSTY? Precious nectars abound: an Alsace-Sylvaner from Valentin Zusslin (€15 a glass), a Jura Chardonnay from the Domaine Labet (€20), a Côte-de-Brouilly from Laurent Martray (€65 a bottle)…. And if you’re not worried about the bill, there’s a 1985 Côte-Rôtie from Guigal (€1,200) or a 2009 Montrachet from Romanée-Conti (€3,600).
PRICE: Tasting menus €130 (weekday lunch and for anyone under 35 on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evening, drinks included) and €310 (€500 with food and wine pairings), children €50, youngsters (11 and up – €100), à la carte €195-230.