Chef Michel Roth brings his ethos of simplicity, audacity and refinement to the Bayview Restaurant, giving classic French dishes a rockstar grace
Located inside the President Wilson Hotel, facing Lake Geneva, Bayview Restaurant is the place to go if you’re looking for an elegant lunch or special evening. Chef Michel Roth (with a French background) has brought his experience and his simplistic attitude and has turned Bayview into a Michelin starred restaurant. So during our recent trip to Geneva, we knew that we simply had to check it out!
Roth started his career in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, where he undertook an apprenticeship. He showed promise immediately, and in 1977 was awarded the title of Meilleur Apprenti de France – or France’s best apprentice. He worked for the next few decades in some of the country’s most prestigious restaurants and under some equally respected chefs (achieving the Bocuse d’Or and the Meilleur Ouvrier along the way), before eventually taking over the Parisian Palace as head chef. Here he was awarded two Michelin stars. In 2012 he moved to Geneva to work at Bayview, and he helped it achieve a grade of 18/20 at the Gault & Millau, alongside a new Michelin star.
It is safe to say that calling Roth well respected in the world of cooking is an understatement then, and at Bayview he has assembled a talented team to assist him. This includes acclaimed pastry chef Didier Steudler, who previously made his name at the Ritz in Paris. Roth cites simplicity, audacity, and refinement as the core values which he seeks to infuse into the Bayview experience, and this ethos is certainly apparent in the menu.
As soon as we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by several waiters, all fussing over us. Gathering our coats, setting up a stool for my purse, and helping us find our way through the maze of white linen, fresh flowers and elegant diners chatting quietly. At first I noticed the large windows overlooking the bay and completely captivated by our ambiance, I almost missed the best part of the restaurant - the incredible cheese cart. Slowly seeping scents of the stinkiest and yummiest French cheeses wafted in the air. Heaven. Give me a bottle of wine and I could have easily sat here all day ;) But at the promise of even better food, I continued on to our table.
We wanted to get the full experience, so we went for Roth’s tasting menu. As delicious course after delicious course was served, we saw why he has won so many awards and understood what he meant with his values. It was all unashamedly French, and all had that simple touch that he aims for. These were classic meals, without obvious and eccentric attempts to make a statement with strange combinations of ingredients. The food was far from ordinary and somehow Chef Michel Roth manages to elevate tried and tested dishes, to new delicious levels.
In every bite there is something special and different, which makes it modern and unique. Everything was presented wonderfully as well, and the bright colors of the food contrasted beautifully with the clean, white dishes and linens. Sadly, by the time the cheese was offered we were a bit full, but next time I plan on coming back and making a meal out of just the cheese and wine!
The refined quality of the food was matched by the design of the restaurant. If the menu is best described as classically French with a modern touch, then the same words could be used to describe the dining room. It was open and light, with the large windows emphasizing the spectacular view, and white being the decorative shade of choice. This was offset by the occasional splash of color found in the azure glasses or the peacock feathers used to decorate the tables. It was like the whole place was a canvas for the vibrant food to be painted onto.
There were a couple of design features which really stood out however. Of course the aforementioned view was one of them, but the breathtaking wine rack was another. Made of polished metal, and sitting in its own cool room (while still visible thanks to the glass walls), it was as enormous as it was stylish. The other eye-catching feature could be found built into one of the walls. Strips of blue ran up from floor to ceiling, and on closer inspection we discovered that these were aquariums. Floating serenely inside were dozens of jellyfish – something I have never seen in a restaurant before!
Bayview Restaurant provides you with no nonsense and no gimmicks. You expect classical refined European food when you hear Roth’s name, and when you see the elegant design of the place. This is exactly what you get. The special setting just adds to the experience, and eating this top notch food in front of the lake just feels right – like it is all meant to be this way.
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