The retro dining room looks like it could have come out of the 70s, decorated in Halloween colors of bright orange, black and white with stainless tables and hanging pendant lights. Huge black and white graphics line the walls.
We are always hesitant to eat inside a hotel but when we arrive in a new city after a day of traveling, it sometimes seems like the path of least resistance. In this case, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
The 40-seat Silk Brasserie has been a fixture on the ground floor of the five-star Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour (France) since it opened in 1969. However, award-winning Parisian designer Patrick Norguet transformed this informal restaurant in 2008 to give it the contemporary feel and look it has today—with the only remaining design element of the past probably being the rich hardwood floors.
The menu offers a variety of reasonably priced options divided into appetizers, risottos, pates, fish, meats, cheeses and desserts. Less adventuresome guests can even order a burger or club sandwich. Since we arrived late we ordered one appetizer and one main course to share.
Our charming waitress, Samantha, was fluent in English and very efficient and accommodating. A native of Brazil, she had come to Lyon to work and study. The city is a mecca for young people hoping to learn about cooking and the restaurant industry. She explained that her parents used to like American TV so they named her after Samantha, the witch.
The kitchen was kind enough to split our orders onto two plates. For an appetizer, we ordered foie gras de canard that came with apricot chutney. We were going to order a salad as a second course but succumbed to temptation when Samantha explained that it was the last day that the chef would be serving seared veal liver, one of our favorite dishes. (The restaurant menu changes each week with different themes.) It was perfectly prepared, served with onions in a brown gravy and potato gratin.
When we saw a Pot Lyonnaise of rose wine from Provence on the wine list, we asked Samantha for an English translation. She explained that typically many casual restaurants in Lyon–bouchons, bistros or brasseries–serve half-bottles of local wine called a pot, similar to the half-carafes we know in the States. It turned out to be a perfect choice for us.
For dessert, we ordered a sinfully rich but delicious Tiramisu.
The term bistronomie is often used to describe the food at Silk Brasserie, the word a portmanteau (combination) of bistro and gastronomy. This type of cooking uses the same techniques, skills and ingredients that define gourmet cuisine but in ways that are far more informal, more inventive and less expensive.
Comfortably lingering over coffee and dessert, we began speaking to a friendly Lyonnaise couple who were dining nearby. Laur and Jacques mentioned that they worked in the area and came here frequently for food that was fresh, dependable and reasonably priced. They offered suggestions for other restaurants we might try during our stay in Lyon as well.
Brasserie Silk passed our taste test but learning that the restaurant is frequented by locals and not just travelers staying at the hotel confirmed our impressions that we had made a good choice.
IF YOU GO
- Le Silk Brasserie – accessible through the hotel lobby and centrally located close to the Place Bellecour.
- Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour, 20 Quai Docteur Gailleton, 69002 Lyon, France, Phone: +33 4 72 41 20 80
- The brasserie is open 7 days a week but like many other restaurants in Lyon, you need to dine during rather narrow time windows. Lunch is served between noon and 2:30PM; dinner between 7 and 9:30PM. During the summer, there is an outdoor terrace service.
- The Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour also houses a an award-winning gourmet restaurant, Les Trois Domes. Chef Christian Lherm oversees both restaurants at the hotel.
The Fork is a helpful restaurant website for visitors to Lyon (it also has listings in major cities across Europe). Not only can you make reservations but the site also advertises discounts and offers.
This post is part of a LinkUp with Noel Morato’s Travel Photo Discovery.