Cooking Across 4 Generations

Using recipes collected from 4 generations of one family


November 2012

Beau Rivage – Neuchatel

Part of the reason for our trip to Zurich was to go and visit the workshops of two high end, independent watchmakers, Greubel Forsey and Kari Voutilainen. This meant we would need to have an over night stay close to La Chaux-de-Fonds and Môtiers. Consulting Google we decided our base would be Neuchâtel and our accomodation the Beau Rivage Hotel. As we were being picked up and driven from Zurich to go to La Chaux-de-Fonds and then to Neuchâtel, it would only be a short return train trip for us to Môtiers.

Lac de Neuchâtel

The Beau Rivage Hotel is located on the edge of Lake Neuchâtel (AKA lac de Neuchâtel in French and Neuenburgersee in German) with views of the Lake and the Alps in the distance. Originally a grand town house of great elegance built in 1862, during the first part of the 20th century it was home to a famous restaurant,  the building was entirely renovated in 1993 to become the first 5-star hotel of the Three Lakes region. The Beau Rivage is a member of Relais & Chateau and is rated as 5 étoiles Supérieure, Gault Millau rating 14, and is in Guide Michelin.

Beau Rivage, Neuchâtel
Beau Rivage, bar and terrace
View from our room


Our room

After a full day visiting Greubel Forsey and touring the magnificent Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle, housed in the historic Château des Monts at Le Locle, we arrived at the Beau Rivage, checked in, freshened up and had a walk around the town. With Neuchâtel being in the heart of Switzerland’s watchmaking mecca it was not surprising to find watch references around town. Beautiful old buildings abound and the views of the lake and alps are spectacular. Someone was even water skiing which got me a bit jealous.

After our walk we went to dine in the hotel’s Restaurant O Terroirs. As the evening was spectacularly mild we were given the choice of dining on the lake side veranda or inside. Of course we decided outside would be nicer. Watching the sunset over Lake Neuchâtel while the dying rays of the sun tint the majestic Swiss Alps in shades of pink and grey while having a wonderful meal is truly a memory I won’t forget. Thanks to Greubel Forsey for our diner.

Sun setting on the alps, looking across Lake Neuchâtel

First up was an amuse bouche of crab, tomato and avocado….

Amuse bouche of crab and

Mr. CA4G had an entree of seared foie gras…..

Foie gras, tempura onion rings, asparagus

I enjoyed a “cigar” of egg plant filled with goat curd, on a lemon sponge, olive oil ice cream…..

“cigar” of eggplant filled with goat curd

For mains Mr. CA4G had lamb three ways, cutlet, loin, merguez sausage, with cous cous, while I opted for duck meat balls, proscuitto, potato crisps, artichokes……

Lamb three ways
Duck meat balls

Having had dessert at lunch we opted for cheese, all local to the region….

Local artisanal cheese board

As we were finishing our meal, the clouds rolled in, and a spectacular sound and light show(storm) rolled across the lake.

The next morning was light but drizzly. We had a lovely buffet breakfast in the hotel and caught our first Swiss cab to the station. Now  my French isn’t the best and I do know how to ask for “two return tickets to Môtiers” unfortunately I don’t know the French for “which platform”.  Luckily for us a young Swiss man spoke good English and was able to direct us. The train to Môtiers takes about 40 minutes from Neuchâtel, passing through lush green fields and mountains, stopping at  several lovely little towns. Arriving at Môtiers, we were met at the station by Kari Voutilainen and walked to his house a short way from the station. Not knowing much about Môtiers, we were surprised to find it was (and still is) a town with a history of Absinth production, apart from watch production. After a leisurely tour through Kari’s Atelier looking at his watches and production, he took us to lunch in the local cafe/hall/beer house. Unfortunately no photos, but we had the special of the day which was Chilli con carne( I know you, go all the way to Switzerland to have chilli con carne, but it was GOOD), followed by creme brulee. Seriously good, must be all that fabulous Swiss cream and free range eggs.

Bovet Absinth distillery, Môtiers

Saying good bye to Môtiers, we headed back to Neuchâtel to catch our train to Zurich. As the train wound its way through the country side we saw many vineyards that produce some great Swiss wines.

Thanks for dropping in!! Look out for my Zurich report.

Beau Rivage Hotel

1, Esplanade du Mont-Blanc, CH-2000 Neuchâtel

T +41 32 723 15 15

Le Relais De Venise – L’Entrecote, London

Sitting in the bar at the Marylebone Hotel, we noticed a long line of people lining up in front of a restaurant. Now this wouldn’t be unexpected but the time was 930pm. The next night we were in the bar again, same scenario, long line, 930pm. This got us intrigued. As I needed to get some washing done I decided see what the fuss was about on my way back to the hotel. The restaurant was called Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote, a little Googling on the Ipad got us some more information on it so we decided to go.

Despite having a good lunch at Bread Street Kitchen we decided to go out for dinner. Thinking the restaurant would open at 600pm we walked over at 610 to find they were closed and the queue had started and we were the the fourth group along. Just before opening we found out that some of the groups ahead of us rotate who stands in line while others go to the pub across the road.

the queue about 610pm on a Saturday

Le Relais de Venise – L’Entrecote is based on a Parisian restaurant started in the late ’50’s by Paul Gineste de Saurs, who bought an Italian restaurant that was called Le Relais de Venise,ostensibly as a venue to sell his familiy’s wines. Already fitted out with a Venetian theme and with no restaurant training M. de Saurs decided to keep the operation simple, added a ‘L’Entrecôte’ sign outside and offered customers a no-choice menu of French bistrot favourites: a green salad with walnuts dressed with mustard vinaigrette, followed by classic steak frites with their secret sauce. The only choice you have is how you want your steak cooked. The children of M. de Saurs all run their own chains of restaurants under similar names but offering the same menu. If a recipe works why change it. The origianal restaurant in Paris’s 17th Arrondisemont and the chain in the UK and USA is run by Mme Helen Godillot.

The decorative windows with lacy half curtains, the red awnings  create an old school feeling. Upon entering we are greeted by predominantly French staff, smartly dressed in classic black with white crisply starched collar and apron. The room is a delightful soft sandy yellow, a large vase of bright yellow lilies sits on the back of the brown leather banquettes, dark wood chairs and panelling complate the decor. Bright Venetian themed paintings and antiqued mirrors line the walls and sparkly brass fittings and marble adorn the bar area. Light sconces with shades painted with images of gondolas and gondoliers are all around the room. Tables are topped with coloured cloths and then with butchers paper on which your desired doneness of steak is written.

Le Relais de Venise l’Entrecote interior
Light shades painted with gondolier scenes
Looking to the bar

The salad is light and tasty and the vinaigrette has a nice zing to it.

Salad with walnuts and mustard vinaigrette

The steak is bought out on a platter and sliced with half being plated then bought to the table along with some nicely salted crisp french fries. The other half is held back on a warming plate until you are ready for it and fresh fries are bought out. The sauce is still a mystery, but very tasty. There appear to be several attempts online to give a definitive recipe for the sauce but apparently they don’t quite get it right. The chips are cut daily in the tradition of the original, using Bintje potatoes and the beef is English with a minimum of 4 weeks aging.  There is a short wine list of mainly Bordeaux at extremely reasonable prices and very good quality.

Steak frites
Serving the second half of a steak

Desserts are another matter as there choice of 18, four of which are fruit sorbets, three types of ice cream and a cheese plate. The other desserts are a range of French classics. R settled on a Mont Blanc and I went for Vacherin de Relais. OMG can I tell you they were HUGE and delicious.

Le Vacherin du Relais and Mont Blanc(back)

After a fabulous dinner we left the restaurant to see the queue going around the corner. Is it worth the wait? You bet.

The queue around 730pm

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote

120 Marylebone Lane



Tamarind – a bit of curry in London

Having worked with a lot of English chefs over the years, I have always heard them say how great Indian food is in England. Before we left Sydney, we contacted one of R’s watch friends, Gush in London to get some recommendations from him. As we didn’t want to go far, he recommended Tamarind in Mayfair a short walk from our hotel. So on a drizzly evening we caught up with not only Gush but another watch collector, Kovacs. Watch collectors seem to not only have a thing for watches, but good food is another passion for them. When you look at some of the watch forums every second post seems to have food in it, especially a watch and food shot. This saves us a little time getting recommendations when we travel.LOL

Located in Mayfair, Tamarind is located in the basement of the building but is anything but basement like. A beautiful metal staircase curves down to a soothing room in colours of sand and gold, with dark wood highlights. At one side of the room sits the brilliantly lit, sparkly bar and across the room is a window with a view in to the kitchen. Taking centre stage in the window is the large Tandoor oven. The space is quite large but is in no way barn like, being broken with pillars and strategically placed huge vases of flowers. Lots of business and embassy types soon filled the room. You can always tell a restaurant with ethnic food is good when a lot of people from the specific ethnicity are dining there.

Entrance to Tamarind

The dishes at Tamarind are derived from traditional Moghul cuisine from North West India, where breads, fish and meats are cooked in a traditional tandoor oven.

We ordered several dishes to share, well actually we left it to Gush to order, which was good thing as there were dishes we have never seen here in Australia.

First up Papdi Chaat, Spiced chickpeas, whole-wheat crisps, mint chutney and sweetened yoghurt topped with blueberries and tamarind chutney. Surprisingly very delicious, the blue berries make it look like a dessert but it was  a great combination of flavours.

Papdi Chaat


We also had a selection of items from the tandoor, lamb cutlet in tandoori spices, marinated chicken and Aloo Tikki (Potato cakes with a sago crust and a filling of spinach, garlic and dried fenugreek leaves; tamarind chutney).

Tandoori cutlet, marinated chicken and Aloo Tikki

Gosht Dum Biryani AKA Lamb Biryani. Topped with a pastry lid and served in a gorgeous copper kadai.

Gosht Dum Biryani – Lamb Biryani

Along with the Biryani we had Murgh Mahkni(Chicken tikka in puréed fresh tomatoes flavoured with ginger, green chillies and crushed fenugreek leaves) and Kadai Subzi. Rice and breads were also on the table.

Murgh Mahkni – Chicken Tikka
Think this is Kadai Subzi

Of course we needed something to drink with our meal. We don’t really know a lot about matching wines to Indian foods and left it to Gush to choose. A bottle of Les Granieres de la Nerthe Chateuneuf du Pape 2009. I would not have thought to put a red wine up against the spices of an Indian meal, but it went really well.

Chateauneuf du Pape

In the end I personally thought the English Indian food was a little ahead of Australian Indian food. Will definitely be trying another Indian restaurant when we go next time.


20 Queen Street,

Mayfair, London W1J 5PR

Telephone: 020 7629 3561

Thanks for dropping by!


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