Near Reims, L'Assiette Champenoise improves a passion for gastronomy, loving attention to detail, and a ceaseless homage to the best champagnes on the planet.
At the entrance of L’Assiette Champenoise you are instantly overwhelmed by the incomparable scent of peonies. The peony arrived in Europe in the late 17th century and is best defined by its loveliness (it is no coincidence that it is the favored flower of lovers!) and what it symbolizes: happiness and beauty. Which are precisely the qualities of this admirable décor built in 1986 by the hands of Jean-Pierre and Colette Lallement. Today, Arnaud Lallement is the one in charge of the top-notch cuisine (three Michelin stars and the Gault & Millau “Chef of the Year” award). “We serve contemporary cuisine,” he explains. “Most of our guests choose our ‘Émotion’ menu, a tasting menu of 10 to 12 courses. Our service remains solicitous throughout the meal and our maître d’s take care of our guests. We introduce them to our world with a combination of food and champagne or food and wine, always with some connection to our region. The chef visits the guests during the meal to provide information that further enhances their experience, explaining his love for sauces, which is the DNA of French cuisine, and he even serves the sauce himself from time to time. Just before the meal ends, we take guests on a tour of the kitchens, so they understand the chef’s world.”
If something sparkles especially brightly at L’Assiette Champenoise, beyond the fabulous creative cuisine, the (nearly) endless champagne menu, and the cheese cart, it would be the moment when evening falls upon the superb terrace surrounded by gardens in the heart of downtown, when the day ends as lightly as the bubbles that rise in the glass. That moment of “My friend, we are drinking the stars” (as Dom Pierre Ruinart and Dom Perignon exclaimed in the mid-18th century), for hospitality is almost a religion here: “When our guests arrive, we want them to feel utterly at home, invited as though they were already our friends,” says Arnaud’s sister Mélanie Lallement, Mistress of House of one of the most elegant dining facilities in France. The cuisine here is meant to be a magic carpet that buoys the guest’s experience, true to the seasons and each ingredient’s exceptional character, given pride of place in every dish. And that is achieved, be it in the Brittany sea urchins, the Breton turbot, the lamb from Monsieur Laluc, the fattened Cour d’Armoise chicken, or the calves’ sweetbreads.
The perfect weekend would not be complete without an afternoon in the pool that seems to be straight out of a Hopper painting (with water at the ideal 28° Celsius), reading a book one of the bar’s tables, or enjoying a bottle of champagne in one of the superbly elegant guest rooms, each the quintessence of art and quality. This boutique hotel is the legacy of a family with a sincere and epicurean philosophy: “Emotion, passion, and respect for the history of French cuisine.”