Stepping into Le Train Bleu is like traveling back in time. From the moment I walked into the restaurant, I was enveloped in a bygone era. The Belle Époque décor, with its opulent gilded mouldings and period frescoes, spoke of Paris in its golden age. If the walls could speak, they would surely tell tales of the literary giants and celebrities of yesteryears who dined in these same quarters.
Located in the heart of Gare de Lyon, one would be forgiven for assuming that Le Train Bleu is merely a respite for travelers catching their trains. But, to say so would be to deny its esteemed heritage and its impeccable culinary offerings. It’s more than just a restaurant in a train station; it’s a symbol of Parisian luxury and gastronomy.
As I settled into my seat, I couldn’t help but take a moment to admire the beautiful ceiling, depicting scenes from various destinations to which the train station’s original trains traveled. It was an art lover’s dream, and I found myself imagining the many travelers from the early 20th century, glancing up at those same paintings, filled with excitement for their own journeys.
The menu, an ode to classic French cuisine, was expansive, offering a range of dishes that catered to both traditional and contemporary palates. With the help of a very attentive waiter, who was more than happy to walk me through the delicacies, I opted for the foie gras terrine to start. It was served on a bed of fig compote, and each bite was an exquisite mix of the rich, buttery foie gras and the sweet, tangy compote.
For the main course, I decided on the roast rack of lamb with Provençal herbs. The lamb was succulent, tender, and cooked to perfection. The herbs added a burst of flavor that transported my taste buds straight to the South of France. Accompanying it was a serving of the most divine dauphinoise potatoes. Creamy, with just the right amount of garlic, they were a perfect side.
Dessert was a dilemma. Everything on the menu looked enticing. Eventually, I settled on the chocolate fondant with a molten heart, and it was pure bliss. The cake was airy, and the molten chocolate center was rich without being overpowering. Paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it was the perfect end to a sumptuous meal.
The wine list, as expected, was extensive. I opted for a glass of Bordeaux, recommended by the sommelier, which complemented my meal beautifully. It was evident that the wines had been carefully curated to complement the food, showcasing the best of French vineyards.
Service throughout the evening was impeccable. The staff was courteous, attentive, and had an impressive knowledge of the dishes they served. At no point did I feel rushed, despite the bustling atmosphere around me.
But beyond the food, it was the ambiance that truly made my dining experience at Le Train Bleu memorable. Every corner of the restaurant had a story to tell. I learned from one of the servers that the restaurant had been a favorite haunt of Coco Chanel and Brigitte Bardot, among others. Dining in the same space as some of history’s most iconic figures added a touch of magic to the evening.
By the end of my meal, the hum of Gare de Lyon had quietened down. As I walked out, I took one last look at the grand dining room, grateful for an evening of culinary delight and Parisian history.
In conclusion, dining at Le Train Bleu is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. It encapsulates the very essence of Paris – its history, its love for the arts, and of course, its undeniable reputation for world-class cuisine. Whether you’re a tourist looking for an authentic Parisian experience or a local rediscovering the city’s gems, Le Train Bleu is a must-visit. For me, it was an evening that will be cherished for years to come.
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