Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rating Bistro Hotel de France, Ferney-Voltaire

Grissini with dip to enjoy before the meal
The Bistro Hotel de France in Ferney-Voltaire is the one of two best meals I have in 2011. Superb service and outstanding food and wine package at a very decent price. I am happy to say that Bistro Hotel de France was so different from the Hotel with the same name.

Rating Bistro Hotel de France: BBBBB- (4,63 points)
  • Location: BBBB+
  • Service: BBBBB-
  • Interior & Atmosphere: BBBB+
  • Food: BBBBB
  • Wine: BBBBB-
The restaurant sign show its old roots
The Bistro Hotel de France is is located in the hotel with the same name in the community of Ferney-Voltaire, bordering Switzerland. Ferney-Voltaire is a charming village with quaint houses, restaurants and bars in abundance just a half-hour drive away from Geneva.

The bistro is found on the ground floor is in an early 17th century listed building that once belonged to Monsieur Wagnière, secretary of the famous philosopher Voltaire that resided here from 1758 to 1778.

The F-bus from the City Hall will take you to Geneva’s main railway station in around 30 minutes, whereas bus Y will take you to the airport.
Old architectural features
Part of the modern interior is definitely classy, in particular modern strongly coloured chairs, but they   do, when combined with neutral upholstered wooden benches, not match properly.

All tables are beautifully set with sets of knives and forks, wine glasses, white china and real napkins waiting for the dish after dish to be served, and you wait in suspense.

Modern chairs and traditional benches slightly mismatched
The service at the Bistro Hotel de France is almost as good as the food. You are given the best attention from the waiters (one of them is, in fact,  the cook's wife).

You are given good instructions when ordering, as well as when you are being served.

Dish after dish were brought to the table, not in a hurry, slow enough to enjoy the the superb food, but quickly enough not to be bored.

You feel welcome, and we commend the staff for their effort give us an excellent social, as well as culinary event.
Baby mozzarella and cherry tomato with dip
How I would have loved to have more of this  foie gras!!
Rack of veal with cured ham and pasta gratin
Selection of cheese after your choice

And then we must proceed to the meal.

We were, as a small starter served small soft mozzarellas and cherry tomatoes marinated in home made pesto with a garlic potato dip.

They tasted decent enough, but I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed, as I have been served small delicious surprise starters under similar circumstances that were exquisite in both taste and presentation.

Marinating tomatoes and mozzarella is an idea I could have chosen for an informal meal, but the starter was neither inventive nor special in any way.

Then it all changed. The foie gras de canard with forest mushroom brough us to another, metaphysical culinary level.

Three large pieces of duck foie gras, one with a sliced, crisped cured duck breasts (I think).

The duck foie gras was awesome, deliciously creamy and with a layer of sliced black forest mushrooms.

The mushrooms looked (end even tasted) like sliced black truffles. The foie gras had just those intense rich foie gras aromas, sweet and umami at the same time. 

The main dish was fried rack of veal. Very unusual to be served a relatively large piece of meat without any vegetables, and the pasta gratin was another, quite unusual side dish to serve with veal.

Excellent taste, the gratin was immersed in, creamy white sauce over penne pasta individually separated with thin slices of cured ham.

The veal was covered in creamy concentrated gravy, and tasted equally good, but surprisingly I found part of the meat to be tough, hardly anything you should expect from a piece of veal.

What would a good meal be without a tray of French cheese. At the Bistro Hotel de France you are not given a plate with cheese selected for you. No, you are allowed to pick the cheese yourself.

The festive table
Passion fruit mousse with raspberries

After all this delicious food, one should expect to hit rock bottom at the end of the meal, but I am happy to say that the whole meal held a very high standard.

The dessert was no exception, and was the prettiest one. The passion fruit mousse rested under an arch way made up by white chocolate. On the plate you had a serving of freshly made lychee sorbet.

The fresh raspberry balanced the sweet and slightly sour passion fruit mousse and the delicious fresh sorbet, and then you could take nibble of the sweet chocolate.

Coffee and macaroon at the end of the meal
We took a glass of kir royal before the meal, and we offered a wine menu adjusted to the menu.

We started with a glass of Kir Royale
It was a great bargain, considering the fact that you were served a generous amount of wine to each dish. I was surprised to be served a dry white wine to the foie gras. I would have chosen a vin santo, sauternes or a vendange tardive, as it generally provides a great contrast to the foie gras.

Our bill ended at 160 Euros for two, that may be more than your regular dinner, but a bargain compared to all you were served.

As I have already said, this is one of the two best meals I have been served in 2011. Account of the other will come soon, but if you consider the service and food offered at Bistro Hotel de France, Enjoy Food & Travel highly recommends a meal at this quaint restaurant if you visit the Geneva area.

It is just a pity that the hotel itself did not offer a similar standard.

Bistro Hotel de France
1 Rue Genève
01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
04 50 40 63 87

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