Delicious memories: a return to childhood food

Published on 21/02/2024

Sausages and mash, pasta and ham, egg mayo... Firm favourites from our early years are making a comeback in restaurants around Lyon, which are having fun indulging in culinary nostalgia. Grub’s up, kids!

For a long time, restaurants turned their noses up at popular children’s dishes, seeing them as too plain and simple. They are now becoming some of the star attractions of many establishments, however, such as Les Saints Potins, where chef Bruno Da Eira would never dream of taking sausages and mash off his menu. While his fellow chefs made fun of this choice at first, Lyon’s restaurant-goers are truly enamoured with this organic, nitrite-free sausage made in Crépieu (Rhône) by Patrimoniam. “It’s a deceptively simple dish, particularly 
when the mashed potato and gravy is home-made!”
, told us Bruno, who revels in the commonality of this dish.

He is also a proud member of the Association de sauvegarde de l’œuf mayo (ASOM – association for the preservation of egg mayo): “This is a dish that people love and remains affordable.” More than that, it brings a warm, homely touch to the restaurant.

Memories of Sunday dinners

   Café Terroir was also on the receiving end of some teasing when it opened. This restaurant on Place des Célestins got chins wagging with its soft-boiled eggs served with Beaufort cheese 
soldiers. Be that as it may, after nine years in business, this is one dish that Jean-François Têtedoie simply could not

Just like at grandma’s

Other restaurants have followed suit, like Le Bouillon Baratte. “People like to find something familiar at the restaurant: dishes that nobody was making any more,” said the owner, Arthur Buchard. His offerings include croque-monsieur (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) and French fries, quiche with cream of vegetable soup, a custard tart… and a new addition that’s a big hit: macaroni with ham!

This classic dish has recently been revisited by a virtual restaurant that just opened in the Croix-Rousse under the name ‘Coquillettes’. It has also been the star of the menu at Mama Shelter ever since it opened. Led by Cédric Gobilliard, this hotel restaurant has made comfort food its hallmark. Originally working with chef Alain Senderens, it created a menu that gives good old-fashioned dishes the respect they deserve. “We wanted to honour the generous, comforting quality of our grandma’s recipes,” told us Cédric, who still gets emotional talking about the veal Orloff that his grandma from Roanne used to make, and the pralulines (praline brioche) she would buy for his teatime treat.

Comfort food with no hang-ups

People are loving the concept. Offering relief from the solemness of some restaurants, this light-hearted and relaxed approach to food is just what the doctor ordered. Take Les Fils à Maman, for example, a warm, inviting restaurant near Place des Terreaux. Greeting customers at the door is a giant Playmobil figure, while the walls inside are adorned with various references to French 80s children’s TV, including the anime characters Grendizer and Candy, and the mascot Casimir. There’s even an arcade machine at the back of the dining room. On the menu, dishes like cordon bleu, Babybel cheese croquettes and Kinder tiramisu complete the immersive return to childhood. At the end of the meal, diners receive a ‘bon point’ [Translator’s note: a token given as a reward in French schools]. With ten tokens, they get a spin of the prize wheel to win a gift.

Patisseries are also picking up on this kids-friendly concept: Mercredi Biscuiterie, which is delighting lovers of Neapolitan cakes with its delicious creation named ‘L’Impoli’; and Sève, with its hugely popular black-chocolate, milk-chocolate and raspberry marshmallow teddies. We can’t wait for teatime!

Mercredi Biscuiterie
41 Rue Franklin, Lyon 2e
Uniquement en livraison avec UberEats et Deliveroo

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Les Fils à Maman

Babybel cheese croquettes, cordon bleu, macaroni with truffled ham, Snickers-style cake, Kinder tiramisu... Les Fils à Maman is comfort food at its best.

25 Rue de l'Arbre-Sec, Lyon 1er

Mama Shelter

With its multi-coloured rubber rings and table football, the interior sets the “kidult tone” right off the bat. The menu picks up the baton with its cheeseburger, Mont Blanc cream dessert, Bueno cookie and, the undisputed champion: casserole of macaroni, Mostoles ham and soft-boiled organic egg. Brunches at weekends.

13 Rue Domer, Lyon 7e

Les Saints Potins

Standing opposite Place Edgar Quinet, this excellent neighbourhood restaurant has built its reputation in part on its legendary sausage and mash. Make sure you try the egg mayo too.

7 Place Edgar-Quinet, Lyon 6e

Café Terroir

While the menu at Café Terroir has taken a bistronomic, or even gastronomic direction, one dish has remained a firm favourite with regulars and new customers from the start: the soft-boiled egg served with soldiers of Beaufort cheese (matured 24 months).

14 Rue d'Ambroise, Lyon 2e

Bouillon Baratte

Seated beneath the glass roof, diners enjoy dishes such as macaroni with ham and Comté cheese, croque-monsieur with French fries, old-fashioned egg mayo, and a one-kilo Toulouse sausage to share with other gourmets. If you have any room left, we recommend the custard tart for dessert.

25 Rue du Bât-d'Argent, Lyon 1er

Pop and Wine

This place is nothing like your usual wine bar. With its colourful neon lights, laid-back atmosphere and fun food, Pop and Wine offers a refreshing change. Explore the selection of wines and chow down on chicken-sausage corn dogs, nuggets and popcorn with cheddar, Smarties cookies, and a chocolate fondue with fruit and sweets.

14 Rue Palais-Grillet, Lyon 2

By Véronique Lopes