Fancy Sunday Brunch at the Ritz Carlton
It was one of my best friend’s birthday and when we knew we would coincide in Geneva this winter during her birthday week, there was no other choice but to indulge ourselves a little bit. To be fair, I had done a little bit of research on what was available in this mega expensive city and felt that the Living Room Bar and Kitchen of the Ritz Carlton, was comparatively still within the more reasonable range particularly given what was being offered in terms of menu (solid assortment of brunch staples such as eggs Benedict and Belgian waffles), location (right across the lake), brand (Ritz credibility), and reviews (the usual online travel portals) were pretty positive.
We were positively surprised when entering the Ritz in Geneva. It had more of a boutique luxury vibe and less of the gilded P.Diddy palaver. Small, intimate, marble black and white floors and grey Romanesque columns as a base. The Living Room Bar and Kitchen is visible at the lobby, head to the the doorway on the right. True to it’s name, the restaurant also had a ‘living room’ ambiance – not intimidating or too high end but the right amount of sophistication and coziness. A lot of light pours in through the windows and the front space, with it’s comfortable sofas and armchairs, has the best view of the lake. We couldn’t get that seat unfortunately.
The plating was also smart without being overdone. We started with the complementary bread basket and cheese and butter. I had to sneak a photo because the fake newspaper had my birthdate (but not year) on it and it was just kind of cute that we came for my friend’s birthday and there was a symbolic reference to mine too over the meal making the outing very much a celebration of us (a bit narcissistic of me perhaps?).
When it comes to the food, one of their standout dishes was their crusty poached eggs with seared shrimps. I loved how they prepared the crust – crunchy and tasty – and the perfectly moist but firm poached egg that the crust gives way to. The shrimps on the side was a nice accompaniment and while the dish did not look heavy, it was a good filler, particularly with the hot chocolate and basket bread that came before.
We had the Benedict eggs and salmon salad next and to conclude, my friend ordered the Belgian waffles for us to share. By then we were consumed with conversation (and bit exhausted from eating) and food photography was not the forefront of our impulse. The one thing that did surprise us however was how the waitress pretty much forced the waffles upon us while we were still having our salad. We noted that as an aberration of standard protocol and certainly did not expect that faux pas to take place in a Ritz establishment. Still, we were not diva-ish enough to take too much issue with this as we wanted to keep chatting but was reminded of this folly when we started to eat the waffles and it had already become cold. In any case that was a slight de-mark in an otherwise wonderfully pleasant and warm service, which had the right touch of attentiveness and restraint.
Let’s be clear – Geneva is expensive. Having been based in Bangkok-KL-Jakarta since 2014, I am only too aware of how Western Europe cleans your wallet for every meal, every entertainment, every practical need and additional want. Switzerland naturally is a step up in this department, made more obvious given that there are usually no ‘cheaper alternatives’ and the generic offerings are always dear. So in that way, while the Living Room Bar and Kitchen falls within this realm, it is not more exorbitant than say a mediocre restaurant across from Gare Cornavin but you get way more value than the latter option. For us, a once in a while treat that we did not regret.
Note:- Featured Image in this Page is sourced from Pexels.