October 15, 2008

French food in Geneva - Day 3

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Day 3 in Geneva, and once again I'm running late for a meal. My unscheduled meeting ran over a bit, and I rush to meet my friend Nunu for lunch at the Michelin 2-star Restaurant du Parc des Eaux-Vives.

The restaurant setting is absolutely gorgeous, on the second floor of the building that sits atop a small knoll. We had a table by the window with views of Lake Geneva and the UN on the northern shore.

We forgo the "business lunch" and order a la carte. We were presented with a series of amuses bouches, which were:

chicken frittata - very creamy inside and very yummy
mini roll filled with cream of anchovie - not too bad
cockle with a diluted cream sauce - nice and bite-sized
sandwich of parmesan jello and tomato-flavored tortilla chips - kinda interesting

A cute little bar of lightly-seared tuna, topped with caramelized onions (and ginger?), and served with two halves of a tiny, grilled mushroom. This is really cute. And yummy, too!

The waiter rolls in the bread cart, and my eyes light up at the sight of so many yummy-looking buns. We choose three, and really enjoy the cheese bread. The cornbread is interesting, but not exactly what you get in the US...

I start with the l'oeuf de poule, Ormalingen pig. Ham and pig trotter made from free-range pigs, made into a potato salad with Burgundy black truffles. The egg - in the edible tube - is separated into a semi-hard yolk at the bottom and blended with potato into a foamy liquid at the top. Strips of black truffles make for a wonderful combination. The "L" is a wall made from squares of ham, pig trotter and truffes on top of small potato cubes. Very creative and pretty, although a tad heavy on the salt for my taste.

For main course I ordered the deer from the hunt of Jean-Marie, since I don't get to have venison much in Asia. Three pretty noisettes of venison sauteed to perfection - pink on the inside. The thin slices of beets hid a layer of pumpkim mash underneath. Puffy potato chips stuck in individual dollops of pumpkin mash were pretty. Separately, there was also a parmentier crumble in small cup which contained pumpkin, chestnuts and a layer of venison at the bottom. Unfortunately I again found this to be way too salty for my taste.

I had a selection of cheese from the trolley, choosing Comte, Epoisses, Appenzeller and some goat cheese. Wonderful stuff, but I'm almost bursting at this point.

I think Chef Olivier Samson is a highly creative and skillful chef, and the star rating is probably well-deserved. However as I mentioned earlier, I thought the tastes were a bit of the heavy side. My friend Nunu's choices actually looked even better than my own. She had scallops for starters and there were three plump ones topped with black truffles. For main course there was the line-caught seabass, which looked oh-so-tender and topped with Oscietra caviar and Champagne emulsion. I would suggest diners favor the seafood when they come.

For dinner, I wanted something regional that I can't get in Asia. I cross over to the right bank, and find myself in the fortunate position of securing a table at the Bistrot du Boeuf Rouge. This is one of the most popular places in town, and I can see the reason for this popularity.

I started with the rillettes maison, and the delivered three slices of the pate - taken from a large, refridgerated container. The warm bread for the rillettes came wrapped in a napkin inside a tin box with Asian motif. I was happy. The rillettes here wasn't as mushy and full of lard like the one I'm used to having at the Brasserie on the Eighth in Hong Kong, so I can tell myself that this is a "healthier" version...

For main course I had something that I had been craving for years - andouillette! This country sausage stuffed with pig tripe is something you just can't find in Asia, and it's been 6 long years since my last sampling. I got it with the mustard sauce. Unfortunately, this wasn't quite what I had in mind. First of all, the sausage was stuffed with a lot more than just tripe, including a lot of spices. The heavy mustard sauce - with Dijon mustard, of course - also got to be a bit too much for me. I should have ordered just the grilled version so I could have mustard on the side.

I am reminded of my dinner at the French Laundry. It was also a time when seasons were changing, and I was likewise wearing a sweater in a room that was packed and a bit too warm. There was also the mustard sauce for one of the meat dishes, and the combination of the richness, heat, and the spices took its toll on me. I felt a little ill then, and I was experiencing the same thing here. I struggled to finish the andouillette, trying not to get too much of the mustard sauce on the meat, and leave the delicious scallopped potatoes largely untouched.

I did have a nice glass of 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from L et Mermoud, with pleasant nose of green apples, muscat grapes and minerals. Good for a quaffing wine!

I pick up my very full stomach and have a nice stroll back to the hotel... taking in the last looks of Lake Geneva in the evening.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

God.. You're such an avid blogger.
Cool stuff I must stay.
Igot a long way to go a compared to you.. haha Great man!!


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