Translation: Marc Checkley
# Hôtel Beau-Rivage Palace, Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic (18/20)
This elegant and luxurious restaurant, continues to wow the gourmands of Vaud and beyond. Kévin Vaubourg, 27, has taken on the reigns as Pic’s ambassador and Romain Hémont leads a tactful and dazzling service brigade.
We begin with an Ode to Japan: dried sakura (cherry blossoms), atop a garnish of potato crisps and a grapefruit ball, adorned with pepper and elderberry, make for a subtle and completely unexpected sonnet. The sake is flowery and ample. Its spicy finish responds wonderfully to the cucumber with blackcurrant leaves and green tea foam. The trio of tomato, in multicolored hues is suffused with a verbena, wormwood and Ethiopian coffee consommé. A smoked burrata ice cream completes the moment.
The oyster then arrives, intoxicated with a citron sauce of combava. What delicacy! Our ocean journey continues with blue lobster, accompanied by a tart plum with honey fermented chamomile, wrapped in cinnamon consommé. The locally sourced entrecote of Limousin beef pairs perfectly with the seared aubergine bristling with purple flowers. Smoky notes continue, a novelty that is beginning to lose its puff. The cheese, Tomme de Gstaad, is presented in a pillow-like emulsion with a sweet clover meringue: original and delicious!
Finally, the Chasselas arrives enveloped in mousse, garden honey ice cream and «kouglof tartlet». The hot verbena and raspberry soufflé admirably concludes this sumptuous meal.
# Hôtel Lausanne Palace, La Table du Lausanne Palace (16/20)
With the retirement of much adored chef Edgard Bovier, the Lausanne Palace could have fallen into gastronomic oblivion. Thankfully, it is far from it. It sports a new name and face(s), helmed by a daring and energetic young duo. Sarah Benahmed flies around the room like a benevolent fairy with a keen eye on everything. While Franck Pelux, Top Chef France finalist in 2017 and our "Discovery of the Year" (2021), steers the kitchen with obvious precision, coupled with jaunts around the world.
His premiere menu begins with «egg meurette», paired with local pinot noir and dried meats. A light, voluptuous and delicious appetizer. Next, baked gougères with L’Etivaz cheese and exotic smoked eel candy, garnished with beetroot jelly.
The Dampfnudeln (an Alsatian specialty) arrives stuffed with leeks and accompanied by a divine clear broth (a wink to Asia). The roasted watermelon with seared strips of tuna is original, like a magnified vitello tonnato, served hot: unforgettable. The dormeur crab is presented as an eclectic trio: ravioli, beautiful and thin like paper, punctuated by the green of coriander leaves. Then in lemongrass scented gyozas, theatrically staged on the shell of the crab, swimming in a bisque emulsion. Finally, in a thin crust vegetable tart, served with a honey and tarragon vinaigrette.
The red mullet scintillates, bristling with its puffed scales and escorted by pissaladière (Genoese) pizza. Land side, the foie gras shares its place with an ebony curtain of beluga lentils in espuma. The sweetbreads are crispy and soft, and the black-legged poultry of Belle Luce, from Gruyère, is roasted to perfection. The flesh is fine, the finish is delicate and the sauce irresistible, worthy of a king’s table.
Flambéed with kirsch at the table, the gruyère caramel crouton develops aromas of fondue, but in a tasting portion. The cheese is then redressed with compote in an espuma on pear ice cream. We love the chocolate-tonka soufflé and the cloudy green apple with Tahitian vanilla.
Franck Pelux's wanderlust denotes a remarkable mastery of varied cooking skills and flavors and is teeming with ideas, so much so that the whole thing is perhaps missing an obvious common thread. Sarah Pages, head sommelier, accompanies the array of tastes with excellent, sometimes rare wines, chosen with infinite skill.
# Le Berceau des Sens (16/20)
The prestigious Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne is world famous. Not only in academia but also for its highly praised restaurant. In the kitchen, Cédric Bourassin reigns supreme over a high-flying team of professionals and students working side-by-side. The menu is short, but nonetheless magical, offering a colorful variation of seasonal products of the best quality.
The exquisite breaded snail cromesquis and tartlet ringed by mushroom mousse begin this flavorful adventure. It’s followed by foie gras balls, each revealing a particular flavor: Kampot pepper, white chocolate and Espelette pepper. It’s both fun and different (more please?). Then we delight in pagre (seabream), served in rillettes and thin slices, alongside creamy avocado and cucumber, and juicy parcels of pink grapefruit.
The black-legged chicken from Gruyère is sublime, served in a ballotine with tamarind jus and white eggplant purée. The Hautes-Alpes lamb, is marinated in Asian flavors, then sous vide for hours before being seared, dressed and topped with an aromatic umami-flavored sauce. Complemented by a diaphanous spring roll of sea lettuce.
Our meal is punctuated with a selection of light desserts, such as this pistachio soufflé accompanied by cherry compote and a tart sour cherry sorbet. We applaud the chef's mastery, and the astute service, overseen by André Wawrzyniak.
# Myo Sushi Bar (15/20)
Incased in a glass pavilion at Montbenon park, a stone's throw from the city center, this sushi bar offers a quality of gastronomy inversely proportional to its small size.
The service is warm and attentive yet unobtrusive, the hallmarks of Japanese dining experiences. Dining is intimate. One sits at long high tables, shared by other diners. In summer, however, the generous terrace provides a relaxing alternative. A memory we will regale again soon.
The lunch-time menus are very affordable, without skimping on the quality of the products, which includes sustainable fishing suppliers. Biting into a slice of the little pearly scallop, will leave you sated: have we ever eaten better? It is one of the pearls in the generous «sushi deluxe» sharing platter. The marinated mackerel is a pure marvel, the salmon melts in the mouth, the sea bream and sea bass reveal flavors of stunning purity.
Beyond sushi and sashimi, the menu offers dishes prepared with precision. Japanese cuisine of the highest class.
# Eligo (15/20)
Elegant, understated and welcoming, this is at the heart of Eligo. And despite some recent changes, the address hasn't lost any of its much-revered panache. Obviously, boss, Gabriele Bazzichi, knew he was onto a good thing, hiring the young chef Enrico Ferrari, 28, following a stint at 3-star Uliassi in Ancona and running his own restaurant in Milan, before arriving in Lausanne.
Our experience begins with an extra warm welcome and we’re presented with a list of wine recommendations - pleasingly by the glass. As an appetizer, the escarole mousse with raisins and chilli pepper entices the palate. Then comes the cuttlefish in saladine flavored with passionfruit seeds - hey, that's original, isn't it? Enhanced with a hollandaise sauce of absolute voluptuousness.
We also applaud the egg cooked at 64°C in the contemporary carbonara, embellished with pecorino cheese, bacon and squid ink: devilishly good. As for the pasta, the aglio e olio spaghetti with bottarga roe is among the best, north of the Alps. The guinea fowl is also cooked to perfection, even if an extra morel or two, would have made the dish truly satisfying. Suffused with ginger, atop a bed of crunchy lentils, the white fish takes on an alluring Asian influence.
Sweet endings: the tiramisu is as playful as it is exquisite: perched on a cookie that soaks in the coffee sauce, right in front of your eyes.
# Le Rossignol (15/20)
Each year one more point! Rossignol continues its starry ascent, to the delight of its regular patrons. Despite Covid-19, owners Mara and Willy Rossignol, navigated the challenges, producing hugely successful takeaways. But nothing beats a meal in this pocket-sized restaurant with impeccable tablecloths, superb floral arrangements and the mini-terrace so pleasant in summer.
Our meal begins with the superb shortbread tart with spring vegetables, a broad bean here, a stuffed morel there, enrobed in chevré. There is also the stuffed squid, a treat with the smoky touch of haddock and pea cream. As for the velouté of green asparagus in olive oil, the artichoke ravioli in a silky broth and the focaccia with morels in yellow wine emulsion, they are flavorful journeys from start to finish.
The red mullet is mounted in a skillful turban, bathed in an intense asparagus bisque. An ode to spring on the shores of the Mediterranean. Dessert is hard to refuse: crème brûlée with pistachio and cherries, as an example, is a luxurious twist on a classic.
The choice of wines is also intriguing and Mara enjoys sharing her recommendations to pair with each dish. A dining experience that is rarely faulted.
# Hôtel Royal Savoy, La Brasserie du Royal (15/20)
Adorned with neo-medieval turrets and dressed in Art Nouveau designs, this small palace near Ouchy has a charm unto itself. The brasserie and its famed terrace is entered through a most astonishing corridor, where prestigious bottles of wine catch the eye. The open kitchen, offers a spectacle worth viewing during service.
New chef, Sébastien Cassagnol, favors local dishes with refined tastes. The «Grand-Mère» country terrine, recalls the rich spirit of the great Parisian brasseries. The baguette, presented in a paper bag, comes pre-cut with house made butter. From the sea: crumbed lobster with radish petals, citrus fruit and seasonal vegetables, and sea bass tartare served with mango chutney in vanilla oil: harmony on the plate. We continue with black truffle risotto and artichoke chips and carbonara-style celery spaghetti: voluptuous flavors enhanced by a creamy sauce.
Finally, the gourmet coffee is accompanied by some fine sweet endings: chocolate choux, red fruit sorbet and chestnut vermicelli. And the mandatory, «Haeberlin peach», with its champagne sabayon and pistachio ice cream. The apple millefeuille isn't bad either.
As expected from such a fine hotel, the wine list presents a wonderful selection, many by the glass; from Switzerland, the Old World and the New.
# Au Chat Noir (15/20)
It is one of few Lausanne institutions that is as attractive for its setting as it is for the cuisine. Ornate woodwork, mirrors and black and white photos displaying the past glories of the neighboring theater, give it the air of an authentic Parisian brasserie.
The menu is written on blackboards with titles that make you want to choose everything, despite, it must be said, prices that will discourage small budgets. Nevertheless, the quality on the plate undoubtedly takes centerstage. Likewise, the wine list features stellar international and Swiss references (a sublime Pinot Noir from Irene Grünenfelder, in Grisons, for example).
To the plates: the guinea fowl ravioli with mushrooms are a wonder to behold, topped with a delicate sweet and sour sauce. Crispy Tuna Avocado Rolls are as refreshing as they are delicious. The classic brandade of smoked cod, exudes the flavors of yesteryear. And the sweetbreads with ginger arrives with a delicate flower of potato and braised endive: it's good, unexpected and balanced. For dessert, the orange carpaccio is simply exquisite with its sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. And the apple pie with its cinnamon-vanilla ice cream is akin to a warm blanket to wrap yourself (and a significant other) into.
Energetic, and incredibly efficient service is balanced with cheerful repartee, making for an endearing and memorable meal out.
# Angleterre & Résidence, L’Accademia (14/20)
One of the best views in town, the L’Accademia's terrace on a summer evening is a pleasure one never tires of. Their menu offers a choice of Italian specialties, some with a flourish of modernity. This option is already reflected in the appetizer, in the form of a mozzarella sphere covered with a shell of cocoa butter, flavored with basil. It melts in the mouth and awakens the palate.
More classic, if not for its delightful presentation, the vitello tonnato is a model of Italian cuisine, perfect slices of veal in a creamy tuna mousse. On the other hand, the tuna tartare was a little bland and cluttered with an unnecessary slice of mozzarella. Redeemed, the seabass, accompanied by cannelloni stuffed with lobster and served in a rich seafood sauce, is art on the plate.
The desserts don’t seek to turn nouveau heads, but are nonetheless worthy of enjoying: tiramisu, panna cotta or iced limoncello soufflé, perfectly executed. A rich choice of Italian wines and original proposals by the glass (all at reasonable prices), complete the experience. The service is slow but very friendly.
# La Poesia (14/20)
Housed in a classic trattoria setting, all wood and white, don’t let the simplicity dissuade you from this Lausanne address.
Our entrée is a route into the unexpected: beet risotto. Yes, yes, with beetroot and smoked mozzarella. Served all’onda et al dente, which means as runny as it is crunchy, it is delicious and light at the same time. A savory flan follows with a delicate parmesan cream. It is decorated with mini-croutons and pieces of carasau bread, which adds the crunch, flat parsley leaves for freshness and briefly sautéed mushrooms! We Love.
The rack of lamb is clearly lacking finesse. Too bad because, under the overbaked crust, the heart of this quality cut is tender. The accompaniments, on the other hand, deserve more attention. The small new potatoes are singularly lacking in substance as are the grilled vegetables.
The desserts? Stalwarts of transalpine cuisine: Sicilian cannoli, panna cotta and more. We like the meringue pieces, which bring relief to a silky cream, just the right amount of sweetness. The cork-shaped baba is served open with rum syrup (a little too discreet) and drowned under whipped cream, embellished with berries. Prices may leave you pale, so be prepared.