Dining in France: l’Amaryllis* (2022)

Five years ago we enjoyed a nice dinner at l’Amaryllis, so we decided to go there again when we were visiting the area. The restaurant holds one Michelin star, same as five years ago.

The restaurant is located in an old water mill. We opted for the “Mon Univers” degustation (8 courses for 150 euros) with wine pairing (108 euros for 7 glasses).

Most of the amuses bouches were referencing the main course of Charolais beef; the first one beef tartare between crackers and served with mustard from nearby Dijon.

Next was oxtail from Charolais beef braised in red wine with mushrooms.

The snail with garlic and parsley was served inside a croquette; the garlic was very strong. This is the way snails are usually served in France, but for an amuse bouche it was a bit hefty. There was also some ox tongue with eggless mayonnaise.

The smoked trout with cream of leeks and oil of leeks was very tender with a nice smoky flavor.

Excellent sourdough bread was served with the meal, with smoked butter.

The first wine of the pairing was a Jacquère from the Jura, a wine with very high acidity.

As a pairing it did not make any sense with the green asparagus that was served with parmigiano croutons, a lemon sauce, and a pistachio emulsion (not on the photo). The wine was too strong for the dish and the dish did not reduce the acidity of the wine. The green asparagus was barbecued so lightly that there was no barbecue flavor.

The second wine was a natural wine from the South of France that was simply called “blanc”. It was an orange wine, made in an oxidized style.

This was paired with the chef’s signature dish: foie gras with a balsamic emulsion. The pairing wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either. The dish is very original and very nice.

I was starting to worry a bit about the wines, but the next wine was a very nice white Ladoix (oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy).

Langoustine butter was shaved tableside and served on warm brioche…

…topped with langoustine salt. It was nice, but not great and seemed to be more about the show than about the flavor.

What was great and probably the best dish of the evening, was the langoustine with a sauce of orange, ginger, and carrot. The langoustine was perfectly cooked and a great combination with the original sauce. It was also an excellent pairing with the Ladoix.

The next wine was also a white Burgundy, but a Premier Cru from Rully.

This was paired well with John Dory with artichoke and a cream sauce.

On the side was a cold artichoke snack as well as artichoke mousse. The artichoke was very nice and worked very well with the wine, which is quite a feat as artichoke is notoriously difficult to pair wines with. The John Dory was perfectly cooked.

The following wine was the first red, a Mercurey 1er cru, which is a Pinot Noir that is produced in the area of the restaurant.

An infusion with mushrooms, shallots, and coffee beans had been infusing on our table for a while. It was used for the next dish:

Mushroom cappuccino, a cracker with raw mushroom and hazelnuts, and caramelized shallots with more hazelnut and raw mushrooms. The caramelized shallots were very sweet and a very strong flavor compared to the very light-flavored raw mushrooms, so this dish didn’t really work for me.

The wine for the main course was an Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru, a Pinot Noir from the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy.

It was a good pairing with a strip steak of Charolais beef, served with a marbré of Comté cheese and cured ham, a slowcooked shallot, and a beef jus.

There was also a spoon with cold solid milk that we did not enjoy at all.

Next was cheese. I opted for three different goat cheeses.

The sommelier was a bit slow, so I had already finished one of the cheese when he showed up with a Chenin Blanc from Saumur that was a pretty good pairing with the other two goat cheeses.

The pre-dessert was something creamy with honey and mustard seeds…

…as well as some homemade caramels.

The Coteaux du Layon, a late harvest Chenin Blanc with botrytis from the Loire valley, could have been a good pairing with the dessert of rhubarb.

Unfortunately the rhubarb was undercooked and too acidic, so the dessert was not very enjoyable.

The dishes of the chef are very creative, but creativity and originality sometimes seem to come before flavor and that is a pity. Most of the dishes are good though. You would think there is a potential here, but compared to five years ago I did not really notice an improvement so this is probably going to stay one star. Except for the first two wines, the wines were good and paired well with the dishes. The service is fine, although little English is spoken. All together we had a very nice evening.


5 thoughts on “Dining in France: l’Amaryllis* (2022)

  1. An interesting critique to read ! Looking at the photos alone I would have thought this almost a perfect degustation meal but parts of it seem to have stressed the ‘show’ rather than the finished offering. The cold solid milk made no sense at all 10,000 kms away and I do wish the interesting mushroom dish had worked out better. Am loving learning about the wines – as fate would have it a reviewing of a ‘Secret France’ episode last night discussed some of the same wines . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoy your restaurant reviews, particularly the Michelin ones. Our one star experience at Roquetas de Mar was similar, the first time we ate there, it was very good but the second time, just so so. We usually pass on the wine pairing because I am susceptible to headaches from certain varieties (and sneezing fits if there are too many sulphites!).
    The smoked butter sounds wonderful, will try to make it when we return to Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

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