Walking into Le Grill Rotisserie, the Gstaad Palace’s 16 point-rated Gault Millau fine dining restaurant, you instantly realise you’re not walking into a restaurant, you’re entering a destination. Restaurant royalty some might say. After all, this is an establishment with history. A mighty long line of previous suitors who have come here not just to eat and see, but to be seen eating. This is Gstaad after all.
I had already made my first mistake, not bringing a jacket to wear. This, as they say, is de rigeur at Le Grill Rotisserie, however, far from incurring the wrath of the maître’d, I was quietly provided with a rather fetching number, fit for purpose in more ways than one. Let me say at this point that under normal circumstances I meticulously avoid restaurants which enforce stringent dress rules. It’s a practice quite unnecessary in today’s avant-garde world, however, this is the Gstaad Palace, almost a Swiss institution, and somehow it all seems perfectly normal in such venerable surroundings.
Of course, this just heightens all the drama. Can the experience possibly live up to the billing? Will the culinary class of Chefs Peter Wyss and Hugo Weibel stand out?
Our first courses arrive, for me a delicately balanced avocado and vine tomato tian with a Burrata, basil and herb salad (CHF 32) for my dinner companion a delicious Sea Bass carpaccio marinated in yuzu with avocado strips (CHF 49).
Andrea, a gentleman with an impressive 25 years service experience here, (and just like his colleagues, far too professionally circumspect to divulge any past stories) assures us the grilled Simmental beef chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce and shallots (CHF 185) would be a worthy main act to follow such an impressive opening. And indeed it is. A sliced trio of perfectly cooked treasures placed on each plate with the rest kept tantalisingly close by under guard for safekeeping. Fortunately, the protection didn’t last long as it was too good to miss out on the rest which was gratefully received.
A stunning looking dessert of Guanja chocolate cake and lemon mousse (CHF 27) was regretfully declined in favour of some more manageable freshly baked Swiss chocolate petit fours with our coffees.
I could argue the waiting time between the first and second courses is lengthy, and, for a restaurant with 16 Gault Millau points, a waiter should know each guest’s order without asking, but in my opinion, these are minor points over an overall stellar dining experience. Now if only I can keep that jacket…..