I’ve more or less given up on eating out in Geneva, you have to pay so much to get food that isn’t awful, by which I mean you can get something inedible for 40CHF (about $45US). I’ve spoken about this more than once, so I shall leave it there. Nonetheless, we were tempted by a buyclub.ch offer for Le Grand Quai. It entitled us to 2 entrees, 2 mains and 2 side dishes for 89CHF. We were required to pay at least 5CHF each extra for drinks. That was not hard to do, since even water was more than that.
In practice we were tempted by the cocktails, which although plain in presentation, were excellent quality and on the lethal side. Indeed, I found myself several times during the next hour or two trying to cut through things with my knife upside down. I’d say I’m a cheap drunk, but my cocktail cost 21CHF….so not that cheap. But not unreasonable for Geneva, I should hasten to add. Indeed, we would consider their bar as a place to go, but for the fact that it comes with a big screen and I for one decline to go to restaurants and bars that display them. I would have thought a 5 star hotel above that, and the bar itself is beautifully laid out belying the basic fact that the screen turns it into a sports bar. Uggh.
I understand the chef, Adriano Venturini is passionate about the quality of his ingredients, which is so very important, as he appreciates, given the simplicity of the dishes. Between us we tried:
saint-jacques, chou romanesco, vinaigrette à la truffe noire 25
foie gras, fruits de saison, éclats d’amandes 27
thon rouge mi-cuit au poivre de sichuan, réduction de campari 45
loup de mer, purée de pommes de terre à l’huile d’olive, girolles en persillade 49
It was a pleasure to eat seafood that had not been overcooked – maybe a first for me in Europe. Accompaniments were light, a compliment to, rather than a distraction from, the sea tastes. The side dishes ordered were sauted spinach and steamed vegetables – nothing special about them and I don’t think they added to the dishes. They would have been more appropriate with the meat on the menu. Still, having said that, we’d paid for them anyway and I always feel like God’s given me a bit of a tick when I eat spinach.
Bread was good quality with truly excellent butter on the side and the meal started with a complimentary crab salad, pretty and tasty.
You can feel rather unwelcome presenting a discount voucher at some restaurants. This was far from the case at Le Grand Quai. The staff were friendly and attentive, almost as if they realised what the issue was. They speak excellent English should you need it.
For my money the only thing they did wrong was in their timing. I would have thought it was obvious that food shouldn’t be served until after cocktails have been drunk. Or is that just me?
All in all, an excellent European dining experience and good value even at full price, if you are around this neck of the woods.