What attracted me at first was the menu – with this kind of food, the quality of the raw ingredients is key, otherwise it just doesn’t work, however well it’s executed. Sadly, I found this to be the case. A new project of Philippe Chevrier, with an experimented Chef leading the kitchen, a historic setting (former Relais de l’Entrecote) on Rue du Rhone, and a fresh menu with reasonable prices, this was definitely worth a try. Tripadvisor reviews are tricky and often polarised, so I will try to be as objective as possible.
SETTING: the cadre is beautiful, and the restaurant itself has a lot of history and charm. If you ask for a table right at the back, you will see the flowered clock. At the front, and you will be on rue du Rhone. Noise levels can get high, and tables are very close together, especially the ones with a “banquette” by the wall. The front room seems more spacious.
FOOD: Week-days lunchtime menu is CHF26 for starter, main and coffee.
Dinner is à la carte, and the carte had me drooling when I read it. The first thing to clarify is that, with the exception of the garden vegetables, which were completely overcooked, the food was cooked perfectly, and portion sizes for the mains were good. Pasta was al dente, the vongole were soft, with just the right amount of sauce, and the fritto was juicy and tender, and not too greasy. The extraordinary thing which was lacking was the actual flavour of the main ingredients – The pasta did not have that sea-fresh smell it should have, the vegetables were overcooked and tasted of butter. With this kind of cuisine, you cannot compromise with the quality of your main ingredients, or sadly, it just misses that freshness and comfort. I did not seem to see any of the provenance of the ingredients of the menu, but I may have missed it. I know however I would like to know where my burrata and your meat come from (country, region, producer), to bask in the full effect of the “cuisine du soleil”, as Morjolaine describes itself.
WINE: Disappointment on the wine recommendations – the website seems to suggest that the Maitre d’hotel will recommend wines. This may be true if you are ordering a bottle. If you are going by the glass the selection is very limited, and your waiter will describe your possible selections in the usual terms of “fruity”, “un vin plutot facile”, etc… which even I, who drinks almost no wine, know means nothing. We want to know about who makes these wines, what makes them special, and why they are on your wine list, and why you are recommending them.
SERVICE: The staff was very courteous and pleasant. We had read reviews about long waiting times for plates to arrive but this was not the case (but we did dine early, and the restaurant was not full at the time).
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