I have had designs on visiting this restaurant for a long time. I first encountered Michel Roth’s culinary brilliance at the Ritz in Paris in 2006 and 2007; a beautiful and exquisite meal was enjoyed. When the Ritz closed for renovations, Michel relocated to Switzerland to head up the Restaurant Bayview and I was certain he would bring is culinary brilliance here and now I finally had the chance to visit.
The restaurant is situated opposite the lake in the Hotel President Woodrow Wilson. The restaurant has large over-sized windows which overlook the lake and mountains. The restaurant has beautiful wood paneling with dark blue glass panels with aquatic life designs. The tables have crisp white tablecloths over marine blue coloured dress. A glass of potted flowers are on the table with a crystal blue water glass. The over-sized light beige leather chairs with dark wooden arm rests and legs add to the experience providing a soothing touch to the dining experience.
To start I choose the Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé as an aperitif. It’s like a first kiss, it sends a rush of adrenalin, a tingle and sensuous allure which leaves one a little weak kneed. The strength of the floral bouquet tantalises the nasal senses. One the palate this full bodied wine impresses lovely floral notes, with a light mix of strawberries and stone fruits with some savoury spice which circles the experience in the finish.
First Amuse Bouche
I am brought the first amuse bouche. The two items are a beautiful emmental cheese canapé and a spicy fish ball. There is sufficient strength of flavour in each of the tasters to wake-up the taste buds.
Bread and Butter
The bread and butter course is quite something. I choose the olive baguette from a selection of breads. A range of specialty butters are hand cut at the table. The first is a garlic herb, the next is a Madagascar vanilla, followed by a salted butter from Brittany and the final butter is a rich creamy one from Bern.
Second Amuse Bouche
Cigar of broccoli purée and broccoli cous cous. It’s an elation of textures, crisp pastry, soft creamy puree and the grainy broccoli cous cous. A little rub on the taste buds, akin to a massage which sets the tone for lunch.
The wine list here is quite awesome. Typically wines by the glass, even in fancy restaurants, are run of the mill and overpriced. In fact I am amazed that restaurants can even get away with it. Restaurant Bayview is very different. There is an excellent selection of fine wines by the glass which vary by style, region and age.
Domaine Joseph Drouhin (2015), Burgundy, France
As I have opted for the lobster for the first course, I choose a Chablis to pair with what is quite a rich and creamy dish. The nose has a complex aromatic symphony of citrus fruits, florals and minerals. On the palate its fresh with beautiful flavours of green apple, citrus and stone fruit which are balanced with a lovely mouth-watering minerality and chalky acid which round out the wine.
This dish is a Brittany Lobster with Leek, Orange and a Fine Champagne Reduction. The Lobster meat contains the claw and the tail.
The leek base is filled in alternate order with lobster meat, orange purée and caramelised onion. The beautiful lobster champagne bisque is poured over the dish. It’s a mix of the saline richness of the lobster fused with the sweet citrus of the champagne. There is crumbed orange butter ball which adds an eclectic mix of cream, flavours and textures to the dish. It’s a sensation on the nasal senses, the taste buds and indeed very pleasing to the eye. The dish cannot be faulted in any way. The clean minerality from the Chablis proves to be the perfect kiss to complete this dish.
The view from the table is quite amazing too even if it’s winter in Geneva.
When I lift my eyes from the plate and that’s rare given how captivating the dish is, I gaze at the mountains, lake and the winter atmosphere of Geveva. It’s truly oh so magical.
Third Amuse Bouche
The next amuse bouche is a cappuccino with potato and truffle with cocoa on top. There is the grainy fluffy moist potato, the pungent aroma of truffle and the allure of the deep cocoa flavour which proves the perfect touch to get one’s mind off the lobster and onto the next course.
Chateau Haut-Bages Monpelou (2010) Bordeaux, France
This wine immediately draws my attention; it’s a Bordeaux with about 7-8 years on it and the location is Pauliac.
On the nose there’s a perfumed base which is a concoction of mint, cassis, red fruit and aniseed. On the palate it’s got that beautiful cabernet streak of red fruits but they been blunted by age with some lovely mocha and tobacco notes which are starting to assert themselves. The tannins are moderate but have sufficient grip for the beef and foie gras.
The next dish is the Swiss Simmental Beef Rossini with Geneva Cardoons and Grainated Bone Marrow. The dish is the epitome of richness. You have cardoons, the rich truffle base, the immaculately prepared beef, the pan-fried foie gras, the parmesan crisp and of course if that wasn’t all, there is marrow mix served on the side with crisp, vegetables and even more truffle.
So where do I start; the experience is a collation of the rich buttery foie gras, the deep earthy truffle, the beautiful crunch of the cardoons, the fat and oil of the marrow and vegetable on the side and then you have the beef, which is meant to the be star of the dish and in the ordinary course it would; however there are a bunch of ego / self-seeking produce in the dish which have an equal right to stardom. How does the beef perform; it is my pleasure to report it dazzles in its own way. The smoky charred outer portion of the beef slowly blends the light juicy red inside. The juices are on full display and each bite is a moment to be savoured. The crisp parmesan adds a rich chalky tart flavour which stands on its own but reinforces the overall excesses of the dish. I love every little bite and pair it with the rich earthy sauce and place a little marrow on each fork for good touch. The beautiful tannins in the wine perfectly deal with the oils and rich buttery flavours of the dish. I do love every moment of this course.
Dessert amuse bouche
A grapefruit piece dipped in white chocolate is provided as a dessert amuse bouche (right of the plate below). It does provide a nice touch as we head into dessert.
Chocolate Soufflé Tarte (70% Guanaja)
This is a lovely layered dish. We have the chocolate ganache, the crisp biscuit and the soufflé with mascarpone crème on side. The rich ganache is sensuous and alluring in every forbidden way, the crispy biscuit is light a fluffy kind of crisp texture and the moist spongy sticky chocolate soufflé provides a little overload of chocolate to overwhelm every sense in the body. A truly amazing taste experience and hits the nail on the head and that’s saying something given I am not a dessert person.
Coffee and Selection of Swiss chocolates
Next I opt for a coffee with some selection of fine Swiss chocolates and sweets. It nicely rounds out the afternoon and I then finish my time at this beautiful restaurant and brave the Geneva winter.
I fondly transported to that moment in 2006 when I first sampled Michel Roth’s amazing dishes at the Ritz in Paris. I never forgot the moment and indeed the lobster dish was very similar to that dish I had in Paris. Here is little video clip of the dishes I had which may give you a better sense of them:
The background tune is “Real Love Baby” by Father John Misty– I don’t own the rights to the song.
I ordered two main dishes and a dessert with some wines to match. The selection of wines by the glass and indeed the broader wine list cannot be faulted, the ambiance of the dining establishment is quite something, with soothing tones of crème and beige with the luxe of dark wood. The views are quite something even if there is a main road in between the restaurant and the lake.
The culinary skills of the team cannot be faulted. The lobster, the beef and the chocolate soufflé tart ticked every box, in terms of aesthetics, textures, taste and the “it factor” be it fine champagne sauce, truffles or 70% Guanaja chocolate.
The service was flawless with wines poured on the spot, friendly assistance through the menu, a little foot stool to store the camera and even being offered different steak knives with various coloured handles. Truly a step-out from most restaurants. The amuse bouche were each lovely on their own and preceded each dish with a precision only found in Switzerland. Michel still retains some of his Escoffier style from the Ritz with the sauce of the lobster poured at the table which is how I love it.
So It with little hesitation, that I whisk the pen from my coat and pen this as one of those experiences which deserves the perfect score – here it is Restaurant Bayview (Geneva) – 10/10.