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la mère brazier
La Mère Brazier was established in 1921 by Eugénie Brazier. For nearly a century politicians and well-known figures from a wide range of fields have flocked to the tables of this Lyon restaurant that has become an institution.
Mathieu Viannay, 47, winner of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France craftsman award in 2004, bought La Mère Brazier in 2008. After becoming enchanted by such a unique eatery he was eager to retain the original decor, which is steeped in the history of the place. At the same time, thanks to the decorators, Alain and Dominique Vavro, he undertook major development work. Rather than seek to alter the soul of the establishment, he decided to return to the roots. So the decor was preserved, hence the 1930s faiences are from that era, along with the finish flooring and bay windows.
New features have been added to the upstairs rooms and lounges, such as velvet curtains and Knoll tables. Visual souvenirs of the legendary founding cook have been added in the form of black and white prints.
Mathieu Viannay has deployed his own very personal style to rekindle the flame of the woman whom Jacques Prévert dubbed “the Blazing Brazier”, the first female chef to have been awarded, in 1933, three Michelin stars twice.
La Mère Brazier re-opened on 14 October 2008. The restaurant now serves up to 60 tables from Monday to Friday.
Mathieu VIANNAY / Owner and chef
Winner of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France craftsman award in 2004, recipient of a Michelin star in 2005 and stars in rapid succession in 2009 just after opening La Mère Brazier, Mathieu Viannay has become a distinguished feature of the French gastronomic landscape.
Politicians and personalities of all sorts may have frequented this establishment for around a century but it was by no means certain that the venture would prove triumphant when Mathieu took over. "People were expecting me to fall on my face", he recalls.
On the day of the opening, journalists streamed into Rue Royale to find out all about the new driving force behind La Mère Brazier. It was a big news - Agence France Presse sent a dispatch about it all around the world, while there was a report on it on the prime time TV news show with the illustrious presenter Claire Chazal.
“I was incredibly fortunate, everything took off so fast!” says Mathieu Viannay, still amazed. “Every day I question what I do and try to improve my cooking by exploring new culinary trails.”
“I try not to turn my back on the heritage of this wonderful, celebrated restaurant, but strive to continually put fresh twists on it.”
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