A Royal Treat; for Ladies who Lunch…..

I very much doubt that I have a reputation as that of a ‘Lady who Lunches’; mainly because I never have that much time to linger over a lunch.  Therefore it is a real treat when this type of occasional event comes along.

Just recently I was visiting family in the beautiful city of Lausanne, Switzerland.   The daughter who lives there decided that the two Grandmothers (one visiting and one local) deserved a little treat and made a luncheon reservation at Brasserie du Royal.  The Royal Savoy is Lausanne’s newest five star hotel which re-opened last year after a major restoration programme – apparently costing over 50 million CHF.  Its origins date back to 1906 so it is a historic hotel, but now has a contemporary makeover.  Already it is making a name for itself, with its 196 bedrooms, extensive Spa facilities, never mind the wonderful Brasserie du Royal.  This is now a well established fine dining establishment owing to its signature chef being the famous Marc Haeberlin, a 3 Michelin star chef and owner of the iconic Auberge de l’Ill in Alsace .

On arrival we were shown to the Brasserie via a corridor cleverly called the ‘corridor of the senses’, where a mosaic floor depicted the winemaking tradition of the local Canton du Vaud, which has eight famous ‘designation of origin’ wines.  On either side of the corridor were showcases with local products from wines, cheeses and cuts of ageing meat.  This was a very good sign of things to come.

I was delighted when we were shown to a table in the main room where I had full sight of the open kitchen.  It was a very impressive looking kitchen and everything was done with Swiss efficiency and cleanliness.  After all Switzerland is where all the best hotel staff and chefs train.  Both my companion and I decided on the Plat du Jour.  Our server was an elegant urbane young man who obviously enjoyed his job.  His English description of the lamb shank was quite charming and he was delighted to hear a more exact description, even though he was slightly suspicious of the word ‘shank’.  The dish was beautifully served on a bed of perfumed rice, rich with spices, including cumin, fleur d’oranger  and bitter almonds essences.  It was topped off with a sprinkling of shaved almonds.  The jus (poured separately) ensured that the dish was moistened but not drowning in liquid.  We were glad that we had ordered just the one course as this was a very substantial.   We treated ourselves to a glass of the House red wine.  The conversation was relaxed and we both enjoyed each other’s company; not usually in such quiet surroundings without boisterous grandchildren hopping around us!  We skipped dessert and went straight to the coffee.  This was accompanied by unusual petits fours in the form of fine slices of chocolate butterscotch which protruded from tiny chocolate seeds in a silver dish.

When is a treat a treat?  My answer is when it is something special that stands out and is memorable.  My lunch was indeed a Royal Treat – and well deserved too!