Saturday, July 27, 2019

L'Hotel de Ville Franck Giovannini - 2nd visit

For positive reason(s) or not, Restaurant Hotel de Ville Crissier has become more and more popular - not that it's relatively unknown before. To be the "best" restaurant according to La Liste 2016 and the ability to retain 3-star Michelin + 19/20 of Gault & Millau under 4 different chefs until now are impressive accomplishments. The latest award this place received was the 'best' restaurant from Elite Traveller. A few years after the sudden death of Benoit Violier, finally the full transition to the new owner has been completed. Consistent to the past experiences, the Executive chef of l'Hotel de ville would be the owner as well. Circa the 2nd half of 2018, Franck Giovannini, who has been working under here for about 25 years, officially became the chef-patron of this legendary restaurant after he had bought out the shares of Brigitte Violier. It meant that his wife, Stephanie would soon join and be more involved in the restaurant ... to give some feminine touch perhaps.     

Unlike my last visit in 2017, this time I was staying overnight at Lausanne. Thus, I was able to order the (adapted) full tasting menu. Close to 8 PM when I reached the restaurant, apparently I was the last diner to arrive - in Spain / Paris, I would be considered an 'early-bird'. My meal took place on Wednesday, several weeks after the New Year, yet the restaurant was full. As far as I'm concerned, I was definitely the only Asian and possibly the sole customer speaking English ... so yes, most of the guests were locals. I also noticed young children eating during this dinner - a good sign that I could bring my son here in the future. The restaurant has been doing very well, and did not seem to be dependent on the support of foreign tourists. Bravo! I began my meals with some good quality bread - pumpkin, corn and rye. Then the full show of the evening executed with good pacing began,


Rafraîchissante effilochée de Dormeur de casier cuisinée aux trois citrons réduction au Dézaley et perles acidulées (Refreshing frayed Crab cooked with three lemons, Dézaley wine sauce with sour pearls) - The Atlantic crab 'white' meat did not have much taste, instead the flavor was derived more from the delicate wine sauce and acidic lemon. There was crunchy carrot surrounded the crab. Overall, it was kinda refreshing but rather ordinary

Huîtres No 3 d’Oléron tièdes au Champagne et caviar Osciètre (Lukewarm Oysters No 3 from Oleron with Champagne and Oscietra caviar) - The high quality Brittany oyster was fresh and juicy with refined taste. It was accompanied by crisp leeks and celery, and enhanced by buttery champagne sauce as well as smooth & almost nutty caviar - very good. It was one of the "famous" dishes at l'Hotel de ville

Accompanied by wine: Ployez-Jacquemart Champagne Blanc de Blancs (an in-house label with good flavor, crisp with fine mineral, good pairing with the oyster and scallop)

Noix de Saint-Jacques poêlée aux petits coquillages jus gourmand au Chasselas et caviar Osciètre (Sautéed Sea Scallop served with small shells tasty juice, Chasselas wine and Osciètra caviar) - Carefully seared plump scallop having natural sweetness was outstanding. It was beautifully accompanied by the delicious sauce made from the shell juice and 'white' wine. The caviar nicely provided luxurious yet essential accent to the dish. Another winning dish; each byte was filled with bursting of flavors

Elégant fuseau de Cardons de Crissier aux truffes noires crème légère déglacée au vieux Madère (Elegant cylinder of Cardoons from Crissier with black truffle and a light cream de-glazed with vintage Madeira wine) - The (boiled) cardoons, my first experience eating them, were soft and rather sweet in contrast to the crunchy celery underneath. The cardoons were alright, but the creamy sauce and aromatic / earthy black truffles improved the quality of this elegant dish - one of the specialties at this restaurant

Dos de Turbot sauvage caramélisé au four salsifis du canton aromatisés à l’orange sanguine (Caramelized wild Turbot fish served with local salsify flavored with blood orange) - Beautiful piece of Turbot's back. It was superb and somewhat fatty. The glistening and well-seasoned flesh perfectly absorbed the delicious (a bit salty & tart) sauce. The salsify had an enjoyable firm texture - a fantastic dish!

Accompanied by wine: 2017 Cru de l'hopital Pinot gris de fichillien (white wine from Vully region, aromatic and precise with a little touch of lemon, matched well with the turbot and lobster)

Médaillons de Homard bleu marinés aux pistils du Jorat céleris croquants et pousses d’épinards coraline (Blue Lobster medallions marinated with saffron from Jorat, served with crunchy celery and young spinachs with a coral sauce) - A well-executed and 'safe' lobster dish - tender and sweet, accompanied by rich sauce and Winter vegetables whose textures were in contrast to the lobster's .. satisfying

Filet d’Agneau de lait frotté au poivre vert croustillants d’épaule aux jeunes poireaux vaudois (Green peppered Suckling Lamb fillet served with crispy shoulder and young leeks from canton de Vaud) - The young lamb was pale pink and covered by the pepper - quite tender with flavorful sauce and hardly cloying. Even better was the crispy "money bag" fritters containing the lamb's delicious shoulder confit. The green side dish was a mixture of cauliflower and leeks to balance the lamb - solid but the next item was even better ...

Accompanied by wine: 2015 Swiss pinot noir, I forgot to write down the name (deep color, decent acidity and tannin, the red wine for my meat courses)

Pieds de Porc glacés au Porto et Madère, petits oignons caramélisés aux truffes (Pigs Trotters glazed with Porto and Madeira wine, served with caramelized young onions and truffle) - It was a half portion of Philippe Rochat's signature dish. The dish was shaped like an egg with the 'pulled' trotter meat and sweetbread inside (wrapped by crepine?). The sauce of glazed wines with black truffles wonderfully complemented the tender meat. The leeks would reduce any intense taste while the fragrant potato enhanced the dish. Mixed everything together and it was truly delicious - a perfectly executed French classic; the kitchen brigade was highly skilled indeed. A full portion might be too much for me  

Fromages frais et affinés (Selection of fine Cheeses) -  I had a mountain Gruyere cheese (like a comte) and locals version of blue cheese and mont d'or; good quality and pleasant. The rustic bread was not bad

Sorbet désaltérant aux Fruits de la Passion neige de coco flambée au Rhum Charrette (Passion fruits Sherbet, coconut snow flambé with Charrette rum) - A very refreshing dessert filled with pleasing sweet and sour flavors. This felt good after having savored lots of savory dishes earlier ...

Accompanied by wine: 2016 Jurancon les copains (soft palate, delicate, and exotic fruit nose)

Tuiles Chocolatées aux zestes de clémentines compotée parfumée à la Liqueur Impériale (Chocolate tile flavored with clementine zests, served with compote perfumed with imperial liquor) - It was more of clementine-based dessert with some chocolate as the supporting element - a nice combination; did not disappoint

The full menu allowed the kitchen to display an array of carefully crafted dishes with different kind of flavors, textures, temperatures and their combinations. Winter is a special time to savor French cuisine in particular here as it had plenty of dishes created by utilizing Perigord black truffle. The consistent performance of creating memorable dining experience with fine and fresh ingredients, meticulous and precise execution, perfect sauce, artistic presentation, and right wine pairing was the hallmark of this temple of haute cuisine. It was done even when Franck Giovannini could not be present in the kitchen such as tonight. Many service staffs, including my maitre d'hotels, were relatively young but they're capable of orchestrating remarkable service. They moved with ease and confident; ensured guests' needs were fulfilled. The hostess and senior manager, Mr. Villeneuve greeted each table at least once - the latter preferred / was more confident to talk with French-speaking clients. Restaurant Hotel de Ville Crissier always took pride in what they're doing in all aspects. I think this was the finest meal I've ever had at Switzerland and I don't know whether I like this place more or Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl. The pictures of my dinner can be found: L'Hotel de Ville Jan '19 

Food (and Wine): 97 pts

Service (and Ambiance): 95 pts

Overall: 96.5/100