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Review of Hôtel de Ville - Restaurant Philippe Rochat in Crissier Switzerland

by Andy Hayler

Food Rating: 10/10

Last visited: September 2004

Andy HaylerThe restaurant is in the pretty village of Crissier, a few miles from Lausanne. It must be the only 3 star Michelin restaurant to have a guard dog (a sort of cross Alsatian, Doberman and Hound of the Baskervilles) behind the reception desk – surely this isn’t the sort of place that a brawl is likely to break out and they need the dog as backup? It certainly has an impressive bark, and I saw nobody refusing to pay the service charge. Service itself is pleasant and yet not at the peak of perfection that France can deliver. Fortunately, the food amply compensates. The décor is less gloomy than when this place was run by Frédy Girardet.

Bread is a selection of rolls: olive, cereal, white, brown, country and black bread (9/10). Amuse guele was a slice of vegetable terrine served with a little artichoke and an excellent small salad with a fine grapefruit dressing (8/10). Stella started with ravioli of celery, served with tiny diced potato, pistachios and chopped vegetables served with a celery froth (9/10). Even better was my starter, two beautifully presented hemispheres consisting of ceps mousse surrounded by a perfect fan of cep slices, almost like a 3D tarte tatin in appearance, the mushrooms resting in a frothy sauce of the cooking juices. The taste of the ceps was as sublime as the presentation, and I would rate this dishes one of the most memorable I have ever eaten (10/10 is insufficient).

We shared a large slab of turbot carved at the table, served with a creamy vin jeune sauce laced with crushed peppercorns, which worked really well to give an edge to the sauce without overwhelming it. Alongside were some perfect baby tomatoes, some carrot, fennel, a skewer of black olives and a small potato filled with roasted onion (10/10).

Cheese was in fine condition: Brie was runny, Camembert tasty, a fresh goat smooth, St Maure silky rather than chalky and Munster in fine fettle, as was an aged Gruyere (10/10).

A pre dessert of sorbets and ice creams were all in perfect condition: apricot, blackcurrant and strawberry sorbet, caramel, vanilla and lemon ice cream (10/10). Our main dessert was a perfect passion fruit soufflé served with passion fruit coulis. After all this, you are presented with a selection from a large dessert trolley (which, rather sneakily, you are charged extra for though this is not announced). Here is a wide selection of tarts and fruits; I had a lovely leon tart slice, and some excellent strawberries.

Coffee was excellent, though perhaps only 9/10 but served with fine petit fours: a passion fruit macaroon, a raspberry sponge, a chocolate truffle, a tart of mixed fruit (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry with a spear of sugar) a red fruit jelly, a lemon sponge, a choux bun, a palet d’or chocolate, a chocolate with hazelnut filling, some chocolate covered almonds and a chocolate with a liquid raspberry centre.

We had Cuvee Frederich Emile from Trimbach from a mostly French wine list. Overall a really magnificent meal.

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