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Dining on the Wine Trail: La Goutte d'Or, Meursault
Thomas & Yuki Broyer’s natural wine bistrot La Goutte d’Or blossomed during lockdown, when the couple began offering take-out pizza, karaage, and sushi - to acclaim from locals and tourists alike.
Counterintuitively, small towns in France were bleaker than big cities during the COVID lockdowns. In the metropolitan anonymity of Paris, you could basically sneak around and visit nearby friends (within the limits of social responsibility), particularly if you had the alibi of a dog. And quality take-out dining options were plentiful. In small towns like Beaune, there was a dearth of edible takeout food, and the police had nothing better to do than actually enforce the curfews.
The establishment that saved me (and the surrounding Côte d’Or community) from certain misery during the COVID curfew period was Meursault wine bistrot La Goutte d’Or, where owners Thomas and Yuki Broyer deftly transitioned to offering excellent take-out pizza, karaage, and sushi.
The karaage was crisp and succulent; the sushi was bright and fresh; the pillowy, savoury pizza dough was almost absurdly accomplished, for what had previously been a French bistrot known for the choice selection of natural wines on its list. The take-out offering was such a success with locals that the Broyers decided to continue it even after reopening for bistrot service last June.
“Now we can’t really stop,” says Yuki Broyer, as she prepares for service one July evening. “We do udon now. And takoyaki. People like it a lot, even tourists. Because there are so many restaurants in Meursault that do gastronomy.”
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Chef Thomas Broyer’s facility with Japanese cuisine can be explained by the nine years the couple spent in Japan before opening La Goutte d’Or in 2017. They met in Bora Bora, where Yuki worked in public relations for a hotel. Upon having children, they moved to Japan, opening a French restaurant in Sapporo, and later another at a resort in Niseko. In was in Niseko that Yuki first discovered natural wine, at a wine shop called Cave du Bamboo.
“At first I found it a little strange,” she recalls. “But he had me taste things each time I came, and I started to like it. So we bought a lot of natural wine for our restaurant there.”
Impressively, the Broyers continued their support of natural wine when they returned to France and opened La Goutte d’Or in the heart of Meursault - not, historically, the friendliest cultural climate for natural wines.
“There were vignerons here who were not very happy that I had natural wine,” says Yuki. “In Meursault, there were some who didn’t want to sell us wine, because we had natural wines on the list.”
Her wine list today is more pragmatic than radical. Solid, mildly sulfited wines from Sylvain Pataille and Domaine Simon Bize share space with more conventionally secure wines from François Mikulski and Domaine Pierre Morey - and with unsulfited cult wines from Pierre Beauger, Renaud Boyer, and Kenji and Mai Hodgson. There’s still enough of the latter category to make La Goutte d’Or a haven for natural wine lovers. Notably, thanks to the continued availability of pizza, it’s one of the few natural wine spots in the region where one doesn’t risk leaving somewhat hungry.
How a Frenchman and a Japanese woman came to serve the best pizza in Burgundy is a tale in itself.
As Yuki tells it, it all came from an act of kindness. The Broyers often used to take their children on Sundays to a small, out-of-the-way pizza joint in Chalon-sur-Saône called Tredici Pizzeria, run by a Tuscan-trained pizzaiolo called Raphaël Rocchi. Shortly before COVID appeared, Rocchi developed a gluten allergy that obliged him to cease handling dough and close his restaurant. After the first lockdown, when the Broyers were devising their take-out offering, Rocchi bequeathed them his dough recipe.
“Now our former clients are a little lost, because we used to do a French menu,” she says, laughing. “Since lockdown, the clients come back and say, “Really, pizza? And Japanese? And French cuisine? What is this?”
The restaurant has nonetheless grown far more popular with locals since the confinement. The Broyers plan, in the future, to separate La Goutte d’Or into two concepts: the restaurant’s front room will continue serving pizza and Japanese “snacks” (as they call them), while the rear dining room will offer a prix fixe French gastronomic bistrot menu.
“We’ll maybe separate the terrace, too. We’ll differentiate part of it with tablecloths and things,” says Yuki, as her daughter dresses the terrace with cutlery and neon green napkins. “But then, there are people who come to eat pizza with very good bottles. That’s good, too.”
La Goutte d’Or
37, rue Charles Giraud
Tel: 0033 3 80 20 94 05