In Lyon, “Le Fast Food” By — Paul Bocuse??

January 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Posted in culinary/food & drink, Europe, France | Leave a comment
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by David Paul Appell

On a swing through France’s gourmet capital not long ago, I’m sure I packed on a few extra pounds after some mega-memorable and mythical meals at the bouchons and the Michelin-starred likes of Le Bec, Terrasses de Lyon, and of course Bocuse’s hallowed Auberge du Pont de Collonges (below left). But just as memorable, in a way, was my sandwich and custard tart at a fast-food joint out in Lyon’s gentrifying Vaise neighborhood, right next door to a multiplex. That’s because Ouest Express (below right), opened in 2008, is Monsieur Paul’s latest culinary venture, around the corner from his buzzy, seven-year-old contemporary bistro, L’ Ouest .

Can it be? The world’s most revered chef turning to burgers and fries? Well, pas exactement, so don’t get your toques in a twist. Located in the up-and-coming Vaise neighborhood, this futuristic bit of business does a great job with pastas, salads, baguette sandwiches, and pastries — I can attest that the stuff is fresh-tasting and primo quality. Fancy it ain’t, but tasty — and affordable, and reasonably healthy — it certainly is; combo platters start at 5.90€ (US$8.50/CA$8.75/£5.30) and a combo including a hot main dish du jour like “Basque-style chicken” will set you back 12.90€ (US$18.60/CA$19.20/£11.60).

I must say, I’m glad to see it’s catching on, too; this past fall, a branch opened in downtown’s fancy-sleek La Part Dieu mall, and before too long we may be seeing others spreading elsewhere in Europe and beyond.  Because in a world awash in horrifically junky fast food, would that all fast food were like this.

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