La Ferme St Simeon

Honfleur's grande dame

La Ferme St Simeon is a bit of a legend in France, as this old farm has long been one of the country's most prestigious country hotels

Trained by Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse among others, Erwan Louaisil certainly has an admirable CV for a chef of his age. Having been at the Ferme St Siméon for a few years now, he is producing a cuisine that seems to be influenced more from Ducasse than Gagnaire: It is straightforward, relatively simple and based on high quality produce.

Whilst not every dish on his menu is of the same high standard, there are some rather surprisingly good dishes to be found in this restaurant. One of them would for instance be a Dover Sole with vegetables and a sabayon. Classical this dish might well be, but it is truly exceptional, purely because of the quality and precise cooking of the fish. The meat is so juicy, firm and flavourful that it is quite something. The sabayon’s richness works perfectly with the fish, whilst its airy texture ensures that it doesn’t overpower the protein in terms of flavour. This is highly accomplished cooking that shows the potential of this young chef.

Equally good is a Bresse pigeon that is simply roasted and served with a hearty jus. Fairly minimalistic in presentation, this dish revolves around the bird, which is perfectly timed and of high quality. Gamey, rich and full of flavour, this pigeon is hard to not enjoy. With dishes such as these the chef produces classical cuisine of a very high level.

It is with slightly more questionable plates of food that things are a little less convincing. The combination of foie gras, scallops and apple for instance doesn’t work, due to the product quality and balance of flavours. Here, the scallop is for instance not of the same quality as the sole, and the foie gras is a tranche that is far too thin and of mediocre quality to make sense in the dish. This is the kind of dish that looks a bit out of place in what is otherwise a very promising cuisine.

To finish on a more positive note, the desserts served here are quite simply delicious. Precise, technically impeccable, they are more convincing than those in most other 1* restaurants. Be it a chocolate carré or an exotic fruit/citrus combination, this is fine pastry.

With such food being produced already at such an early stage, chef Lemoisnil is set for a good start. Judging from his stronger dishes the potential is there for some highly interesting cuisine, which we hope will come out of this kitchen in the future.

La Ferme St Simeon

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