Le Chapon Fin’s golden era began in 1843 when it was acquired by one Jean Riom, who strategically recruited a highly-talented chef to deliver top-class cuisine. The establishment’s reputation developed rapidly. Come 1886, new owner Louis Mendiondo teamed up with the renowned wine trader Arthur Dubois. The latter’s knowledge of fine wines further strengthened the restaurant’s dining credentials, which were once more to be enhanced by the 1896 arrival of the young Parisian chef Joseph Sicart.
The design he came up with combined numerous decorative plaster cast bas-reliefs, a fair amount of live greenery (photos from this period even show a tree trunk bang in the middle of the restaurant), and a substantial fake rockery feature. This kind of folly was commonplace at the time. Similar man-made rockery from that period, on an even grander scale, can be seen in Parc de Majolan in Blanquefort.
|The restaurant as it was in the early years of the 20th century as featured |
on postcard/wine menu picked up by Adam of Invisible Paris.
|The King Alfonso XIII table.|
|Georges Mandel, |
|Looking around the restaurant, including name-checks for Edward VII and Sarah Bernhardt, and the hallmark of cement specialists H. Chassin... responsible for the rockery perhaps?|
- Find it: 5 Rue Montesquieu, Bordeaux
- Behind-the-scenes report including pictures of the kitchens and wine cellar on the most excellent Anne Lataillade's culinary blog Papilles & Pupilles, while the inimitable Bordeaux guide Yves Simone provides his account of the restaurant's history in this TV7 "Suivez Le Guide" report.