07 Jun Takao Takano: Lyon’s rising star
The question I asked myself when a local Lyon wine trader suggested eating at Michelin-starred Takao Takano was, ‘Why would I want to visit France’s gastronomic capital to sample the food of a Japanese chef?’
Takao Takano is not about Japanese food. This is French cuisine, ‘created’ and ‘assembled’ by a chef born in Japan, in the foothills of Mount Fuji, & who has since made his mark in France.
Last year, I visited Japan, to be amazed by the strength of the Franco-Japanese bond. Tokyo abounds with French bakeries and patisseries & French restaurants. Both cultures do things with passion, as well as a sense of tradition & ritual.
Takao Takano, or TT, meanwhile, has one Michelin star, with the ‘red’ guide – my bible to eating in France, together with Le Fooding – praising this corner restaurant as a “fine homage to French cuisine“.
Takao started his training in France with Nicholas Le Bec and he was then at the Hotel Cour des Loges, where he also had a Michelin star to his name.
He is not the first Japanese chef whose food I had tasted in France. I had already eaten at Au Fil du Zinc in Chablis and La Racine in Reims. Neither with Michelin stars, but both offering amazing gastronomic experiences.
South of the Tête d’Or
Takao Takano is located in Lyons’ 6th district, just south of the Tête d’Or park; the other side of the Rhône from the more internationally famous 2 Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier, a Lyonnais institution established in 1921.
The restaurant offers two menus, one at €55 and the other at €80. We were 2, so we had one of each menu.
What we ate at Takao Takano
We kicked off with a beef consommé with citronella, Shitake mushrooms and mackerel…
Then we went on to…
Huîtres imperiales pochées, servies tiède,
Sommité des choux croquants
Nage a l’ortie des prés
Poached imperial oysters, served warm, with a ‘summit’ of crunchy cabbage and a ‘wave’ of nettles from the meadows…
Asperges vertes de domaine des Roques-Hautes,
Pied de cochon, colonnata, câpres
Jus au vin rouge gras
Green asparagus with pig’s trotters, colonnata (a type of Italian cured meat), capers & red wine sauce…
An unknown course…we had so many, & now the weeks have passed. Always the danger when eating with company… you focus too much on having fun rather than taking notes.
Féra du Lac Léman
Ecrevisses, tête de nègre et oeufs,
Bouillon de carcasses au clou de girofle.
Fera fish from Lake Geneva (a 2-hour drive away) with crayfish, ‘black’ mushrooms, crayfish eggs, & a stock with cloves…
Poivrade et ail des ours,
Jus aux herbes de garrigue.
Aubrac beef with a peppery source and wild garlic, with a sauce made with herbs from the garrigue…
Selection of cow, sheep & goat’s chees…
Fraises de Pays ‘nature’,
Chartreuse Verte et basilic glacé
Strawberries with green Chartreuse and basil glacé ... together with rhubarb…
And the wine…a couple of glasses of…
Stylish, minimalist decor, with plenty of wood & white, & lampshades that I fell in love with …
Definitely the highlight of my trip to Lyon.