Yesterday, I told you all about the interiors and general ambiance of the beautiful and incredibly elegant Swiss hotel, Beau Rivage Palace. Today? I’m talking food.
First up: breakfast. I’ve never had a buffet breakfast that tastes and looks as good as a la carte. At Beau Rivage Palace, breakfast is served in La Terrace. The buffet was hot and fresh (no sign of a congealed scrambled egg) and the bacon amazing – almost wafer thin and fire grilled – and the mushrooms and tomatoes were firm, not squishy. Over at the fruit bar, you could have whole fruits, fresh fruits, dried fruits, the works! You name it, it was there. There were even miniature fruit cocktails. Topped off with natural yoghurt and the home made granola, and we were in breakfast heaven! I don’t know what they put in the granola but it tasted better than any other granola I’ve ever tried – and believe me, I’ve tried them all. Mmm-mmmm! As if that wasn’t enough, there was the continental buffet with meats and cheese and figs and when we were seated at our table with our plates piled high, we were served tea and coffee and juice, bread and buns and French pastries, as well as a la carte, should we wish. I did wish; for the poached eggs. Again, mmm-mmmm!
Second: dinner. On our first evening at Beau Rivage, Mr Man and I decided to eat in the bar, where a professional pianist was in situ at all times (the epitome of sophistication in my book) and which offered a choice of comfortable armchairs or stylish booths. The bar area had that hard-to-get combination of being chic and feeling relaxed; it was totally chilled out but the 5 star standards didn’t drop in the slightest. I loved the walls, which were glass and contained shelves of wine inside. Super cool. Waiters in tuxedos served cocktails and food alike, retaining an air of ease despite the buzz of people filling almost every seat in the house. We ordered a good old-fashioned cheeseburger (perfectly cooked, medium-rare) that came with fries (standard, but so not standard) and a tangy, crunchy house ‘slaw and zingy (is that a word?) barbecue sauce. I washed mine down with a glass of champagne – just the ticket after a day of walking around Geneva.
(Looking very serious in the bar!)
Day two saw us dine in the French restaurant, Café Beau Rivage. Upon arrival, we were offered a glass of champagne and what I think might have been an entire loaf of bread while we perused the menu. The Maitre’ d’ ran through the menu with us, describing the dishes and giving us his recommendations, of which we chose two: the poached egg with Gruyere and truffle shavings, followed by the lobster. I’d never had lobster before, but it was already clear that the Beau Rivage was a safe bet for good food!
Our eggs arrived and my goodness, the flavour was insane – insanely good! It was delicious; an infusion of the intensity of the cheese with the distinct mushroom of the truffle shavings (again, a new experience for me), while the perfectly poached egg burst open, the runny yolk complementing the other ingredients so much so that we had trouble keeping our dignity in our hurry to gobble it all up! I wonder how it is that a chef can discover such fine ingredients that work so well together? It’s an art form, I tell you!
After our first course, Mr Man excused himself (after a beer and a glass of champers, nature still calls even in the poshest of restaurants!) and the Maitre’ d’ was over in an instant to flick and tidy his napkin, with a particularly French flourish. Not long afterwards, our second course arrived. My First Lobster. I was excited because our food was served in a covered dish and I was just desperate to grab the lid, whip it off and dive right in. Alas, I had to wait for our charming young waiter to reveal the dish inside: a vision of pink lobster with creamy yellow pasta, dotted with fresh green herbs and cabbage. It looked so pretty, and it tasted even better – the lobster was so meaty. The flavour was soft and light but unmistakable, while the taste of the mushrooms and cream was warming and, while there was loads of pasta, there was plenty of lobster too. There was no mistaking that this was a lobster dish and my goodness, the sauce was such a treat that we couldn’t resist dunking our bread in – there was no way we were going to waste such fine food! We fancied red wine (I know, I know, we should have had white) so we were recommended a light Pinot Noir, which was indeed lovely.
Last (but certainly not least) was dessert. The waiter rolled out a dessert cart, making me think of the Twenties and I instantly realised that the restaurant was subtly Gatsby-esque with striped chairs, metal knobs at the end of each wooden fitting and the three-tier gold light fittings and four spectacular chandeliers. The idea of another era suddenly filled me with happiness and excitement which resulted in me ordering a chocolate tart (again, recommended by our waiter), while Mr Man chose a lemon meringue pie. The chocolate tart was bitter and sweet – just how I like it – while the pie was light and fluffy and chewy and gooey and I almost wished I had ordered it myself. Almost. (You guys know I’m a chocoholic, so could never really betray it with a citrus option).
Third: room service. You can imagine how stuffed we were afterwards. We were so full of rich food and delicious wine that we had to go up to our room to enjoy a cuppa. We ordered room service; a breakfast tea and a fresh mint tea. The thing is, the lady taking my call offered us macarons with our tea. Of course, I simply couldn’t say no – my experiences had taught me that the food at Beau Rivage Palace was just too good to resist!
I have to say if anybody would like to treat me for my 70th, feel free! What a fabulous experience.