I’ve never experienced Chinese fine dining until tonight and I was so excited! Your experience starts as soon as you arrive at the hotel, one of Geneva’s finest where flames decorate the entrance, orange lights fill in the lobby accompanying you through your journey to the restaurant. A special and bizarre hotel hosting one of the world’s few Michelin starred Chinese restaurants.
“Originally from Shenzhen, representing the third generation of a family of chefs and with more than 30 years’ experience behind him, chef Frank Xu presents a menu offering Tsé Fung classics revisited with great subtlety alongside the best of Cantonese cuisine. Roasting will play a key role in cooking methods. The result will be a range of precisely flavored spicy gourmet dishes displaying scrupulous respect for tradition and embodying the peak of culinary refinement.”
Welcome to the Tse Fung located on the hotel’s lower level. A low ceiling, dimmed lights, red lamps, black wood, and white tablecloth. With the ceiling painted in red and a beige floor, space is enchanting. A Chinese feel created with a class. Waiters in black uniforms serve with a smile and professionalism. At the table, silver cutlery, black chopsticks, a spoon and a plate engraved with golden flowers. Round tables make it easier for sharing, equipped with heaters and sharing dips.
“The 2017 Swiss edition of the legendary red guide has just published its full list and rewarded the cuisine of Chinese chef Frank Xu, thereby propelling Le Tsé Fung into the much-revered galaxy of Michelin-starred restaurants. This is indeed the first such distinction ever conferred on a Chinese restaurant in Switzerland.”
Let the experience begin: we received a mise en bouche, a shrimp dim-sum with Chinese caviar served on a small square plate decorated with a green leaf. A refreshing towel, the decorative plates were then removed and the sommelier approached us for the wine. Smoothly, a step at a time, events happened in style.
And then everything happened so quickly, plates arrived and the waiter divided them in four portions. Summer rolls, cut in half, spicy and peppery beef dim-sum, red cabbage rolls, vegetable dim-sum, and the list goes on and on. I wanted to enjoy the food fresh and hot while trying to write my notes at the same time. We all had Chinese or Cantonese food before but this one is special and different. Different textures, different flavors, different finesse, and class.
The chef’s signature dish: red rice rolls with prawns, the plate that is showcased every time the restaurant is mentioned on social media. Let’s be fair, the plate is sexy and colorful while being also tasty.
You have to order the duck, the signature duck, prepared at the table. Duck has always been an icon of Cantonese cuisine so imagine it at a fine dining restaurant, roasted and pampered to impress the waiter comes with his knife, removed the skin which is the tastiest, cuts the legs, cleans the bones and loads everything in one plate. On another table, flatbread is prepared with Hoisin sauce, leaks, and cucumbers. The show takes approximately fifteen minutes... then another twenty minutes to roll them sandwiches one by one. Too long... when the show started, it was fun but not after thirty minutes. Taste; like any good duck I’ve had before but this one is way more expensive. The sauce on another hand is magical! An excellent sauce prepared without garlic, intensely sweet and tasty.
Rice, shrimp, noodles, lesson chicken... conventional Chinese specialties prepared with more attention, looking into the details of things, adding lemon zest to the rice, avoiding the taste and smell of oil, cooking food al dente, creating innovative sauces... I enjoyed my dinner!
Good Chinese? Yes! Michelin Starred... I’m not sure why or who gave them that star. Good food, yes but not super exceptional to give it a star. Presentation and service are not up to the level of a starred restaurant. Some plates are broken. I liked the decor, enjoyed the food but won’t plan on coming here again. Dinner ended with a plate of dessert bites, a black muffin and a square of gelatin covered with coconut. Again, I expected better...
Leaving dinner, we had to witness the dirty tables... at a Michelin Started?! What a shame.