[Disclaimer: some of the images are not clear, the images were taken using an iPhone 6S and 7 but being in a Michelin starred restaurant, I do not want to disrupt and disturb other diners of the restaurant].
Land of lakes and mountains, it’s not every day that one has the opportunity to visit the scenic Swiss city of Geneva for it’s fabled international car show, so when the opportunity arises it’s advisable to make the most of these beautiful surroundings by taking advantage of the fine dining available, a veritable taste sensation that I can still remember now.
I had the pleasure of visiting Restaurant Bayview by Michel Roth, located within the President Wilson Hotel. This Michelin-starred eatery provides a glorious and enviable view of the effortlessly tranquil Lake Geneva through large bay windows that allow light to stream through, in addition to chic décor, comfortable chairs and generous amount of space between each table which allows for privacy in conversation.
The surroundings were certainly to die for, but what of the food itself? Happily, this was every bit as mouth-watering as the design was desirable.
We began the meal with freshly made bread that smelled every bit as appetizing as it tasted, served with a variety of salted, spiced and olive butters. The only problem here was not to eat too much of it before our real meal commenced!
We ordered the Oeuf de poussine parfait, macaroni et truffe melanosporum, otherwise known as Poussine egg parfait, macaroni and melanosporum truffle.This dish is simplicity itself; macaroni and cheese, topped with truffles. It was also delicious, with the ingredients delicately balanced to perfection. The pungent aroma of the truffle did not overpower the tempting scent of the cheese, and the macaroni was carefully positioned, standing upright in shape. This is comfort food with a luxurious flourish. Just a hint – ‘melanosporum’ is a black truffle indigenous to Southern Europe! Move over American mac ‘n cheese – this starter is the real thing!
Next came the Ormeau de Plougastel snaké, longeole traditionnelle, which translates as Slightly Seared Abalone from Plougastel, with Traditional Pork Sausage. I’m usually not an avid fan of abalone, but I believe that this dish has managed to change my view and palate altogether. The abalone was carefully sliced and placed over the diced pork sausages, then gently and elegantly positioned within the shell. The abalone was fresh, and I particularly enjoyed how the taste of the sausage remained strong but subtle, balancing the experience of the dish as a whole. It is often said that ‘you eat with your eyes first’ and it was certainly true in this case – a wonderful presentation.
For mains, we ordered the Filet de boeuf Rossini cardons genevois truffés et os à moëlle, or Beef fillet Rossini truffled Geneva cardoons and bone marrow. You did read that correctly; the dish contained bone marrow. Despite this, the beef melts in the mouth almost immediately once the dish has been bitten into, albeit in a different manner to a wagyu beef. Needless to say, the fillet was perfectly tender and will provide a visit to the food heavens for carnivores who crave a strong, meaty dish.
Saint-Jacques d’Erquy dorées, tarte fine aux truffles topinambour et pomme granny erquy sea scallops (Thin truffle tart Jerusalem artichoke and apple granny) would have to make my top two dishes of the evening. This was my first experience of truffle tart, but I now consider myself a convert to these sumptuous ingredients, especially when I discovered that each scallop also contained a succulent piece of truffle within. The sweetness of the Jerusalem Artichoke and Granny Apple puree laid delicately beneath the truffle, complemented delicately by the rich taste of the scallop.
Selle d’agneau jdu Limousin, Tatin de navet boule d’or gnocchi et noix de cajou (Saddle of lamb from Limousin, Tatin of golden ball turnip gnocchi and cashew nuts) came next. While I did not get to experience this dish for myself, I am assured that it did not disappoint thanks to a hint of earthiness adding a distinctive taste sensation, and the cashew nuts playing a valuable role in balancing the rich qualities of the perfectly-cooked lamb.
Dessert is typically my favourite part of any meal, and I was delighted to find that Restaurant Bayview did not disappoint. Millefeuille à la crème diplomate, sauces chocolat, pralinée, caramel à la fleur de sel, aka Millefeuille with diplomat cream chocolate, praline and pure sea salt caramel sauces, came first. We were advised that this famous French pastry was constructed with a ‘thousand layers’ and accompanied by whipped cream – it certainly satisfied my sweet tooth.
Glace au bois torréfié, crumble de champignons et biscuit à la pistache, or Roasted wood ice cream, mushroom crumble and pistachio biscuit came next. One of the many charming quirks of this eatery is the differing forms of crockery and presentation platters that the food is served upon, and this dessert was presented upon an aesthetically pleasing slab of fine wood.
All of this was merely the appetiser for my favourite dish of the evening, however; Tarte soufflée au Chocolat Guanaja 70%, or Guanaja 70% chocolate tart soufflé. I ordered this dessert expecting a generic chocolate soufflé that rises when cooked, but this dish arrived in the shape of a macaron, which had the same taste sensation and that melting moment in your mouth. Slipping that first mouthful of the soufflé into my mouth was a revelation and I soon realised that I had never tasted anything quite like this before; the taste of the pastry was so delicate, and the Guanaja chocolate so rich, blending to perfection to create a truly divine culinary experience. Switzerland is highly regarded for its chocolate production, and a simple taste of this dessert explains why. Truly heavenly.
Concluding the dessert element of the meal – (all desserts are priced at an extremely reasonable CHF24) – Monsieur Roth introduced a dish from his fellow elite chef Didier Steudler. This renowned pastry cook utilises kitchen techniques rarely used by other culinarians, and he provided millefeuille with a cream diplomat, chocolate sauce, praline, salted caramel, pressed pears, crunchy hazelnuts, ice-cream Tatin, and a cloud of milk, medjoul date puree, sorbet calamondin (orange) and crisp speculoos (for those of you not familiar, these are spiced cookies, originating in Belgium) to conclude an impeccable meal and experience.
Geneva may not enjoy the same reputation as the likes of Paris as a city of extraordinary restaurants, but a visit to the Bayview is enough to ensure that I wish to return in the future. With a locale and décor matched in beauty and care only by the food served by the dedicated and attentive team, this was a luxury dining experience that I would recommend to anybody.
Visit Restaurant Bayview at: 47, Quai Wilson, Geneva, 1CH
Average cost for two people: £130