Spending a week-end at A La Bonne Idee is a must if you’re visiting France, it’s only an hour’s drive from Paris. This charming small hotel has a wonderful Michelin starred restaurant.
This restaurant is a true discovery and may serve the best food you can find in the region. The dinner prix-fixe at €50 during week-ends and €34 only during the week is a real belly-filler: the food is worth the journey, just as the nearby Chateau de Pierrefonds and the medieval Compiegne.
The dining room, like the entire hotel, was pretty old-fashioned and rustic but that’s how we liked it. The decor at La Bonne Idee matches the crowd: decked in wood with a few taxidermied stag’s, and lighting coming straight from the nineties. But such a high-quality restaurant has a top service. Staff was very professional, warm, though a bit stiff sometimes.
Appetizers were not extravagant: salmon ; shrimps ; puff pastries. There’s nothing surprising but ingredients were very fresh and flavorful.
Mister Bordier’s butter (a well-known producer of butter of Normandy) was also on the table. Delicious.
My entree was highly subtle too. I chose the langoustines: perfectly cooked and pretty big. They came with a green pea puree and ginger carrots.
The carrots were not amazing, but the green pea puree was one of the best I ever had. The soft consistency of the puree made the green peas even more flavorful and their lightly sweet taste lasted a long time in my mouth. A dream.
After those incredible entrees, my partner ordered the red mullet. The filet, unilateral cooked, was served with a ratatouille and tomatoes spiced with combava citrus. It was exquisite. And precise.The red mullet’s meat was preserved and its beautiful red skin slightly golden. The ratatouille was also stunning, I could imagine myself in the South of France. As for the combava, this sort of citrus, it brought acidity to the dish.
Turbot, fennel, celery puree, crawfish butter and crawfishes. I didn’t regret my choice but it was somewhat disappointing compared to the rest of the meal. First, the turbot filet was a bit overcooked and crawfishes were not flavorful enough. However the celery puree met my expectations. All in all, the dish lacked consistency.
Cheese. Oddly enough, we saw the waiter coming with a huge chunk of Comté, doing his best to cut a decent slice. The slice was huge too (did he have to get rid of all his supply of cheese, did Le Grumeau have a winning smile?). It was definitely too much.
The Comté was not old enough to have its full taste, but it’s no big deal as the rest of the dinner was amazing.
Speculoos and rhubarb tart for dessert. It came with a strawberry juice and a mascarpone ice-cream. It was simple but tasty. Rhubarb, spicy speculoos and strawberry go very well together, and the creaminess of the ice-cream was a bonus. The biscuit was stunning: crunchy with a rich butter taste.
In short, La Bonne Idee is a restaurant not to be missed if you’re looking for a cozy week-end, including good food, not far from Paris. The chef has the right technique and knows how to modernize the classics of French cuisine. We felt too lazy to drive home and spent the night at the hotel, which was great and inexpensive (c. €120). The breakfast menu was also quite solid.
For more information about the menu, hours and booking a room or a table at the restaurant, click here.
A LA BONNE IDEE
3 rue des Meuniers
60350 Saint-Jean-aux-Bois France
03 44 42 84 09