In a region renowned for its earthy cuisine, the Franco-Japanese fusion menu at Le Charlemagne is a breath of fresh air. The 30-year-old chef Laurent Peugeot is a born-and-bred Burgundian, but after an apprenticeship at Lameloise, the local Michelin three-star eaterie, he relocated to Tokyo for several years. His wife, Hiroko, is Japanese and an equally passionate cook.
Today, his dishes are constructed with haiku-like precision. Unusually for this area, there's a good choice of fish. My tuna starter - raw within, charred without and accompanied by crushed peanuts, radish, ginger and wasabi - was exquisitely presented on a black, undulating rectangular plate with a Japanese root grater to hand. Main courses include stuffed rabbit accompanied by brochette of kidneys tempura. Of the deserts, we were seduced by hot chocolate and banana gateau glazed with Sichuan pepper.
The atmosphere in the airy dining room is Zen-calm, with bonsai trees on every table. Waiters hover with the discreet attentiveness you expect at a Michelin-starred restaurant - Peugeot should gain his accolade in the near future.
In the heart of the Côte d'Or, Burgundy's premier wine-growing area, the restaurant's glass walls look out over rolling vineyards of Pernand-Vergelesses and Corton-Charlemagne grapes against a backdrop of pine woods. Legend has it that the latter appellation, a fine white Chardonnay, owes its provenance to the domestic squabbles of the eponymous 10th-century emperor. Apparently his wife could tell when he had been drinking red wine by the stains on his beard so he ordered the surrounding hills be replanted with white.
Set menus range from €20 (£14 - not at weekends), €30 (£21), €37 (£27) and €50 (£36) per person. On the à la carte menu, expect to pay around €20 (£14) for a starter, €25 (£18) for a main course and €10 (£7) for a dessert. Wines start at €29 (£21).
Le Charlemagne, Route des Vergelesses, 21240 Pernand Vergelesses (00 33 3 80 21 51 45; www.lecharlemagne.fr)Reuse content