Translation: Marc Checkley
L'ATELIER ROBUCHON, THE WOODWARD (15/20)
# L'ATELIER ROBUCHON, THE WOODWARD (15/20)
After much anticipation, The Woodward has opened its doors in the historic Bellevue Hotel. The two restaurants bear the signature of the late Joël Robuchon, who was named "Chef of the Century" by GaultMillau. Shortly before his death in 2018, he told us how much this double project meant to him. Finally, it is unveiled.
L'Atelier has the look of all its brothers around the world: a little 1990s nightclub feel, dressed in red and black, with a long bar from which you can see the chefs at work. The service is close to perfection, with a sommelier from the Royal-Monceau in Paris, who knows how to match wines that are often unusual, but always masterfully paired. In the kitchen, Olivier Jean, the chef who collaborated with Mr. Robuchon for 12 years, and who reinterprets his legacy with respect and skill.
Our tasting menu begins with a verrine of foie gras and parmesan, cooked in wine from Valais (the chef makes a point of integrating Swiss products whenever possible). We are then greeted with a goldsmith's presentation: caviar from Sologne and crab from Brittany adorned by an intense, iodized jelly and airy cauliflower cream. A marvel. Alongside, a full-bodied Chardonnay from the slopes of Etna.
Next, the lobster with Malabar pepper, coconut foam and bok choy is impeccable, but a little less stunning. So is the - otherwise exquisite – confit of wild seabass with a marigold and lemongrass emulsion. The coriander and Espelette chili bring some nice flavors, but the whole lacks the punch that would make it truly unforgettable. The Rossini of Swiss Beef is impeccable (a creation of Olivier Jean), presented in a pretty medallion, half meat (perfectly cooked), half foie gras (with the consistency of a flan). It’s followed by the sublimely tender suckling lamb chops.
The inevitable Robuchon-style signature purée is a core part of the meal. After a refreshing mojito crowned by an aromatic bomb of pineapple, mint, rum and lime, comes the dessert: an amanita, containing the flavors of the black forest, reinterpreted. The delicate flavors of the creams and mousses of Morello cherries and kirsch are slightly overshadowed by the chocolate crumble (the ‘earth’ in this pretty picture).
# LE JARDINIER, THE WOODWARD (15/20)
We might as well say it straight away, a meal here is a moment of grace and lightness, perfectly mastered. Launched in New York in 2019 by Joël Robuchon and Alain Verzeroli, his worthy heir, this primarily plant-based concept, makes its European debut after some (understandable) delays.
The menu, however, is perfectly in tune current tastes. It highlights first the vegetables, then - but not always - the meats and seafood, almost as accompaniments. Olivier Jean, the chef who trained in the Robuchon style for over a decade, offers dishes that are faithful to the spirit of the master and delicately exploratory. Refreshingly, he aims to source his produce within a 150 kilometer radius of the Woodward, and the results are admirable.
For example, cucumber from Vaud, with calamansi and trout from the Valais, in a delicately summery and refreshing dish, as pretty as a garden, full of colorful contrasts and subtle flavors. It arrives topped with a quenelle of caviar, delectable luxury. The polenta Vaudoise in crispy cubes, surrounds a tasty fricassee of chanterelles and a cloud of tricholomes (a pretty word for a variety of mushrooms), making for an exquisite play of textures. We continue with the cauliflower risotto, in a vegetable broth and enhanced by crispy leek. And the beluga lentils are pleasant in the company of diced salmon from Grisons. The desserts are quite simple. But the yuzu tartlet from Niels Rodin (the famous citrus producer in La Côte) is a delight, sweetened with Geneva honey and flavored with Hermance verbena. While the chocolate mousse surrounded by a buttery sabayon is delicious, it lacks a little virtuosity.
Exquisite gluten-free breads, menu for children (of wealthy parents), very reasonable lunch menu, nice wines by the glass, afternoon tea also an option.
# LA MICHELINE (14/20)
If we had to summarize La Micheline in one word, we would say "modernity". Modernity of the Eaux-Vives station area with its refined architecture. Modernity of the room with its soft and warm colors. And, above all, modernity of the bistronomic cuisine of the young and talented Andrés Arocena, formerly of the Lausanne Palace with Edgard Bovier. The service, a little slow at first, eventually finds its rhythm, punctuated by smiles of the young and dynamic staff. On the menu, meat, fish (the chef is passionate about fishing) and vegetarian dishes are available in five starters, five main courses and five desserts.
To start, amberjack sandwiches, lightly candied. It's simple, it's good, it puts you in a good mood for the squid - served warm (a choice made by the chef) - and accompanied by a squid ink sauce as black as a moonless night. Although the dish is good, the sauce is a little too rich. The pheasant rump is superb, simmered in perigueux sauce, however, it sits overly plump in the center of the plate. The pork belly lacquered with hoisin sauce is a real success, both in terms of taste and aesthetics, artfully combining crispness and softness, taste and finesse. The corn mousse served as an accompaniment is brilliant.
Another great moment is the spice roasted Austrian venison filet. The cooking is just right, the beet millefeuille exquisite and the sauce, the sauce!... Simply sublime! We finish with dark chocolate and creamy fleur de sel. Simply amazing. It’s flanked by a very original milk charcoal and a mousse with Alicante nougat, full of taste and imagination. At lunchtime, a business menu - starter-main course-dessert - at 44 francs is available in one hour and there are nice suggestions of Spanish wines: the chef does not deny his origins!
# Natürlich (14/20)
Remember his name well, because you're likely to hear it again. Jonas Bolle, at just 25 years old, took over the reigns as head chef of Natürlich in mid-2021, and Geneva’s dining fraternity continue to sing his praises.
He already made a name for himself during his apprenticeship at the Vieux Bois of the Geneva Hotel School. Winning (at the age of 17!) the international final of the Jeunes Talents Escoffier competition. After completing his studies, he worked alongside David Tracol in Chambésy. Following jaunts in India at Vandana Shiva's ecofeminist farm and a bicycle trip from Phoenix to San Francisco, he was hired as second in command at the Auberge de Chambésy. When Guy Savoy called him to join his teams in Paris, he preferred the Bleu Nuit in Geneva, where he stayed for a year and a half. Tough decision, but just rewards.
At the Natürlich, he crafts 100% home-made cuisine with a maximum of local products that he sources from artisan friends. His menu is short but changes regularly. We love his sourdough bread, kneaded with enthusiasm. The flour comes from the Moulin des Verpillères. The camelina oil comes from l'Affaire Tourne Rêve in Choulex.
Most of the dishes are for sharing. We are delighted by his leek dish, both melting and crunchy in a crayfish bisque, with trout eggs from a Neuchâtel fish farm and a hint of stracchino - a creamy cheese from Lombardy, subtly acidic. The lake trout, cold smoked by the chef, is accompanied by tomatoes from the Jardins de Trajets. Intoxicating!
The lamb from Vessy, preserved with lemons is a feat of tenderness. Topped with a Piedmont hazelnut and pecorino pesto, mustard and basil leaves, it melts in the mouth and reveals a perfect balance between the fat of the meat and the citrus acidity. While looking at the next table, we see a plate of spaghetti on which we throw our devotion instead of the dessert. Good choice! The pasta, made with eggs, again from Jardins de Trajets, is prepared with eggplant, slow cooked in the oven. The flesh is mixed with parsley and anchovies. A caramelized ricotta (infornata) and fried capers punctuate the whole. Magistral.
Very friendly service, wine list with the best Swiss wines and many natural wines.
# LE FLORIS BY JEAN EDERN HURSTEL (13/20)
Jean-Edern Hustel, the highly skilled and media-savvy chef has returned to Geneva following his successes in Paris at Ederm, to helm his latest unique fusion concept.
Le Floris, displays a relaxed cosmopolitan chic, reminiscent of the Côte d'Azur or Ibiza - complete with valet and hostess service. The menu opens with bite-sized tapas to share: mischievous salmon tacos with cumin and wasabi guacamole, intensely marinated tuna crisps, exquisite scampi tempura with ponzu and seductive beef cheek baos with crispy grilled onions.
Next comes an array of beautiful appetizers: Anières' pike pate or octopus accented with parsley. But the main dish of Label Rouge salmon, is a bit dry and overcooked, caramelized with miso (which we don't really see), is only saved by an exquisite emulsified soy butter.
There is a luxurious offer of exceptional meats, pasta with lobster or caviar, but also the presence of a rather severely priced burger. For dessert, the baba and the apple pie are traditional and impeccable. From its opening days, it’s quickly become the place to be seen and to party.
LE LOTI, LA RESERVE (13/20)
# LE LOTI, LA RESERVE (13/20)
It’s a new concept and a new story for the Loti, the restaurant of the famous and atypical five-star hotel La Réserve in Geneva. The restaurant and bar are now one space, with a beautiful terrace offering a view of the Lake.
To start, it's a ceviche of sea bream with black truffle, soy and lime. The tastes are powerful, the flavors balanced and the sea bream remains the center of the dish. The same goes for the salmon ceviche with pickled onions. The Asian influences are present and successfully administered. The rest, however, is a bit more “vanilla” in execution. The grilled chicken does not turn any heads. Four pieces of meat - certainly well cooked - placed side by side, then some broccoli with vinegar and truffle on a separate plate. It is finally (too) simple?
The same goes for the Swiss black angus beef filet and its pepper sauce. The cooking is mastered, the mashed potatoes that accompany the dish are creamy, but after a promising start, we expected a little more complexity. On the sweet side, a Grand Marnier soufflé made according to the rules of the art is beautiful to see and pleasant in the mouth. The service is impeccable, friendly and professional.
# INDIAN RASOI (13/20)
To taste the cuisine of Kuldeep Rawat (former chef of Rasoi by Vineet at the Mandarin Oriental) is the equivalent to a flavor-packed journey through the Indian subcontinent.
The chef, after a rather prestigious career, is now working for himself in this intimate and pleasant restaurant in Carouge. He proposes both original and innovative Indian cuisine, while offering aficionados a range of more classic traditional dishes. The chicken tikka is offered in a duo: the pieces, remarkably tender, are cooked in the tandoori oven with two different marinades. The small salad that accompanies them, however, suffers from a rather invasive dressing that is detrimental to the whole. The prawns marinated with sun-dried tomatoes and basil are characteristic of the chef's favourite fusion cuisine, where he gives pride of place to European influences - Italian in the case of this dish. The combination of flavors is accomplished and quite convincing, The sun-dried tomatoes blending perfectly with the Indian spices.
The lamb Rogan Josh, a dish from Kashmir, is delicately spiced, while the chicken Vindaloo will only appeal to those who like it hot, which is clearly stated when ordering. The saffron rice that accompanies the dishes is a real delight. Several vegetarian proposals will delight curious diners to go off the beaten track (eggplant curry, paneer tikka). The service is attentive and smiling and the choice of wines is resolutely in favor of the Geneva palette. In summer, a seductive terrace allows you to feel like you're dining on vacation.
# LA MAISON ROUGE (13/20)
Located on the rue des Noirettes and surrounded by unattractive buildings, the Maison Rouge is one of those unlikely places that draws everyone’s attention. Since the talented young chef Kevin Veronese took over the kitchen in 2020, local foodies have been flocking here to enjoy the colourful, gourmet cuisine.
After beginning as a pastry chef, Veronese honed his skills at the Cheval Blanc and the Fumisterie in Carouge. Plus, he did a stint in collective catering before settling a la Maison. His menu is an ode to the sea and the land. Vegetarians also have special suggestions. Our appetizer was a perfect egg cooked at 64°C, enhanced by a succulent and generous morel cream. The gravlax of sea bream with mango is a marvel of freshness, enhanced by a mousseline of avocado and slices of candied onion. The chef, who does not want to throw anything away, goes so far as to douse the carrot tops in gel. We applaud the scallops seared to perfection and the homemade veal jus with calamansi. Beautifully presented, the plate features small heads of multicolored cauliflower and a tasty sweet potato purée. A few fried rice leaves add a welcome crunch to the dish.
For dessert, we chose a verbena baba with white peaches marinated in almond milk and a quenelle of vine peach sorbet. The texture of the baba left us underwhelmed. The only downside to a superb meal accompanied by beautiful wines carefully chosen by the chef's wife, who studied at Changins.
# AU COIN DU BAR (13/20)
It's very small but full of retro charm, with zinc, large mirrors, tiles painted with Art Nouveau volutes and Art Deco chandeliers. The reception is adorable, with a touch of humor that puts everyone at ease. The menu presented on a slate makes you want to select everything. And to choose your wine, you go directly to the cellar, which houses some exemplary bottles. And what do you eat at this bistro-bouchon-brasserie located a stone's throw from the most chic boutiques and the Lake? A beautiful selection of gourmet cuisine, inspired by the most beautiful traditions and, sometimes, imaginatively original.
For example, an impeccable country terrine, or poached egg, topped with a sparkling sauce with whiffs of fragrant smoke. The foie gras is a model of its kind, surrounded by quartered fresh fig. We delight in discovering the generous veal chop, seared and pink in the middle, surrounded by pretty chanterelles and a full-bodied jus that is skilfully enhanced by diced chorizo. The desserts are just as good. A pearl of an address! Adorable and satisfying.
# MONSIEUR BOUILLON (13/20)
Monsieur Bouillon? This new gourmet address is located in the flurry of the city’s banking district. The rooms, decorated with exquisite taste, mimic the atmosphere of a private hotel. You can organize a business breakfast, an aperitif, a simple lunch with colleagues, as well as dinner. Behind the double-breasted suit, under the bright red crest, hides Philippe Chevrier, the starred chef and entrepreneur who has always dreamed of dedicating one of his restaurants to the ubiquitous egg. Gregory Ahr, creator of bistronomic brands, was planning a restaurant dedicated to poultry. The result; an instant marriage of their imaginations.
In the kitchen, chef Simone de Santis is making this dream come true with a host of original starters: egg smeared with breadcrumbs, fried and placed atop parmesan cream and crunchy roasted hazelnut chips. A good idea! Or zucchini vichyssoise soup, punctuated with tears of basil oil, on which a poached egg with feta crumbs, gently floats. More fried eggs in the form of chakchouka (a Maghrebian dish cooked in tomatoes and spices) sprinkled with golden croutons. It's a bit rich, but very good. The Nantua-style omelette was overcooked but there’s little to bemoan with other colourful choices.
The dishes, however, are less inspired. The Viennese chicken, served with (Pont-Neuf style) large fries, is a bit boring and the fries lack crispness. The signature dish is spit-roasted chicken, but the menu offers a wide range of proposals, including orange aiguillettes, a revisited Caesar salad, and so on.
A sweet to conclude? Some with eggs some without. The XXL coffee éclair is great to share, or the cappuccino pie and artisanal ice creams served in generous dumplings! Smile, your wallet will thank you.
We end with mentioning its summer ‘attraction’. The terrace, in the shade of the synagogue and potted trees, can be a wistful way to spend the day, as long as you like poultry. Because yes, ‘Monsieur Bouillon’ goes to the henhouse every day en route to the kitchen.