Touchdown into Zurich, a train to Bern, checking into our hotel, a quick power nap and back on the train to Lausanne in Switzerland. I won’t lie, it was rather exhausting – but there was a silver lining to it all and it started with the views. As the train from Bern gets closer to Lausanne and turns around a bend, the tunnels start to brighten and you’re greeted by this view above. This was the actual image taken on the train and you realise that all the travelling was suddenly worth it.
After exploring this absolutely stunning city perched on Lake Geneva, we arrived at our destination – Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne. An impressive Art Nouveau five-star hotel which was originally built-in 1909 and recently restored to the beauty it is now. We settled in on the hotel terrace and began to prepare for a feast to remember.
With Lake Geneva only moments away from our table, humidity that evening was incredibly high – but a glass of chilled champagne with some rather fantastic home-made bread helped us settle in nicely.
La Brasserie du Royal was our dining destination and what an utterly fabulous place it is, looked after by Michelin-starred chef Marc Haeberlin. I love what this Alsatian chef, the brasserie and executive chef Julien Krauss have created. It’s not Michelin starred, but some dishes feel as though they easily could be and at the heart is a true brasserie which carries a lot of refinement on its back. This plate of cured ham from the Valais region with dried fruit chutney was testament to that. Simple, but effortlessly good.
Starters began to arrive and they were magnificent. Two solid dishes which managed to satisfy every sense. Colour, flavour and presentation. Homemade chanterelles terrine with pickled vegetables was as good as it looked and more, offering richness and a multitude of contrasting flavours in the mouth – especially when spread over the freshly baked bread. My favourite starter was the asparagus duo with citrus flavours. Thick pieces of juicy white asparagus with citrus fruits, Parmesan cheese, more of that cured ham from Valais and a Maltese sauce which is poured over the dish at your table. A really stunning plate of food.
Main courses were more generous portions of quality, lots of richness and of course given our location to Lake Geneva – very French. A classic beef tartare was taken to new heights and served with all of the usual ingredients spread around the plate for mixing to your own personal liking and a little dried egg yolk grated over the top. If there was ever a dish which fully captures the true classic cooking from Marc Haeberlin, it would be this lobster mousseline. The depth of flavour in the foam sauce was incredible, the texture of the mousseline was the best I’ve ever tried and inside revealed large chunks of juicy lobster meat. A must order dish when dining here at this fabulous brasserie and executive chef Julien Krauss was really pulling out all of the stops re-creating it.
If you’re someone who knows me well, you’ll know I have a thing for desserts and back here in the UK I’m chasing pastry chefs across the city to find my sweet-tooth fix. Here at La Brasserie du Royal the desserts are some of the best in the city. The lemon tart “revisited by Marc Haeberlin” was nothing like the classic lemon tart you’d expect and instead served in a martini glass on different layers. Sweet, satisfying and very zesty.
For me the star of not just the desserts, but perhaps the entire meal was this strawberry iced meringue. Chewy meringue sat on a bed of vanilla whipped cream and topped with a strawberry glazed dome. Inside was an almost iced parfait which revealed a strawberry inner centre and a final sprinkling of coconut to top it all off. An incredible dessert which really felt like it belonged in a Michelin starred kitchen – in fact both desserts did.
Finishing up our meal with some petit fours in the cigar lounge, we decided to walk off our meal with a quick look around the hotel.
From the elegant lounge bar which sits at the heart of the hotel, to the wine cellars which lead you back through to the restaurant.
The second best feature of the hotel is the new rooftop Sky Lounge. Not only does it offer stunning views of Lake Geneva, but also showing the entire city of Lausanne which makes for something rather interesting and unique to this hotel.
Back on the train to Bern, the capital city of Switzerland – we only wished we’d checked into this lovely hotel for the night and was very tempted after dinner to do just that. I’m not a person who’s exactly hard to please (well in the grand scheme of things), but I am particular in restaurants I want to return too and this is most certainly one of them. Good food doesn’t always make for a destination restaurant and it has to encompass a lot of things to create that feeling – something La Brasserie du Royal managed. A good excuse to return for yet another delicious meal and explore more of what this hotel has to offer in the future.
NB: My meal was complimentary. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight.