It is 50 kilometers from Lyon International Airport to Vonnas, a little community where George Blanc stores and restaurants seem to predominate the landscape. This location, which is located near the hamlet of Bresse, is home to the renowned appellation chicken “Poulet Bresse,” which is the only chicken to have an appellation. It was a pleasure to stay in room 27 since it was big and well-appointed. However, like Paul Bocuse, Georges Blanc is regarded as an institution, and unfortunately, it is still benefiting from its illustrious history. The meal is barely worthy of a one-star Michelin rating, and the service was shockingly incompetent for such a prestigious French establishment.
Wine was seldom topped up, water was infrequently offered, and bread was much less often offered. Waiters did not always recognize who had ordered what, and obtaining their attention was difficult. If I had given a score to service, it would have been roughly 12/20. Overall, the cuisine here was usually acceptable, although always around the 16/20 level, as seen by fillets of red mullet with mushrooms and sorrel, or a lobster salad with mediocre leaves, among other dishes. The Poulet Bresse itself was of excellent quality, but I’ve had it prepared far better elsewhere, such as at Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, where it was considerably more flavorful. It was served three different ways here, however two of them seemed to be essentially similar, being simply roasted and served with a cream sauce on the side. Indeed, the cooking technique is fairly heavy, with a lot of butter and cream being used; this is customary in the region, but surely the addition of the occasional green vegetable would not be detrimental?
The cheese carts (there were three of them) certainly had a high turnover, however the cheese on offer was not of the greatest quality, for example, Brie de Meaux that was not ripe and Reblochon that was not ready to be served. In terms of desserts, they were competent but uninspiring, such as pineapple grapefruit served with chocolate ice cream. A few of them were just terrible, including a dreadful apple millefeuille that I barely touched before it was whisked away without a word. The wine list is extensive, with more than 2,500 distinct options, and the markups are not too high. Even still, at a cost of around £150 per person, including a moderately priced bottle of wine, this is a lot of money for what is really one Michelin star cuisine. This is a massive establishment with more than 100 seats, and you get the distinct sensation that it is a bit cynical milking of former successes. Our favorite part of our visit was a little cafe nearby that is also owned by George Blanc, where we had a fantastic 15/20 lunch for just £30 per person, with a more attractive menu (and tastier bread) than the big restaurant.
Cuisine Type: Classic Cuisine
Multicolore de homard bleu au savagnin et trilogie de ravioles végétales à l’ail noir
Poularde de Bresse “Élisa Blanc”, crêpes vonnassienne
L’idéal vonnassien, fin sablé de gaudes et chocolat lacté infusé à la vanille
Address: Place du Marché, Vonnas, 01540, France
Phone: +33 4 74 50 90 90
Website: Georges Blanc Official Site
Hours: Closed: 2 January-5 February, Monday, Tuesday, lunch : Wednesday-Thursday
Michelin Stars: 3