Frederic Menager has quite an impressive resume, cooking throughout France at some pretty posh addresses. He has now taken a ‘tree change’ and is hidden away in the Hautes Cotes of Burgundy about 25 minutes from Beaune. The restaurant is just open Saturday’s and Sundays for lunch and is inconspicuous in its setting as part of a working farm. Much of the produce is grown and/or raised on the property and there is a card on the table that warns children that if they wander around unaccompanied they may be eaten by the big llama at the front gate (I don’t think it really says that but it does not want children roaming around the grounds without accompaniment).
You arrive at La Ferme de la Ruchotte and are basically treated to what Frederic feels like cooking for you for the paltry sum of 35 euros. The wine list is ok but has been picked over somewhat with many selections having been ruled out with the stroke from a kilometrico pen. The aforementioned pen also decided that Dujac’s 2006 Vosne ‘Malconsorts’ was worth 20 euros more than it was originally listed at and took the liberty of making a crude change. We settled on a 2009 Francois de Nicolay Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Les Fontenys’ which was quite big and ripe at first with notes of blood plum and cherry. It settled down and was a decent drink, showing a combination of ripe and tart cherries. It was creamy in the mouth and finished with chewy tannins.
Some house bread was served with wafer thin spreading of lard and fennel seeds to start. We then were presented with a hearty bowl of wild asparagus; gently poached egg and a broth of liveche, a herb that added a light curry taste. It was a dish that was so bright and vibrant. Next was Grand Gascon Roti. A huge roasting pan housed roast meat that looked like lamb but was indeed Porc Gascon, a rare breed of pig. The meat was milky, elegant and succulent and it had been roasted perfectly with crunchy crackling on the outside whilst retaining moist and tender flesh. The pan juices were fantastic. A simple gratin de pommes accompanied, not many better foods on the planet than organically grown potatoes that have been cooked perfectly with cream and cheese.
The cheese course was a simple, fresh goats curd with Frederic’s naturally leavened sourdough. Dessert was also a simple affair of fresh strawberries with a rhubarb ice cream.
This is a great place with a convivial atmosphere and cooking from the heart, using the freshest of ingredients.