FOUR SEASONS HOTEL DES BERGUES GENEVA
Founded in 1834, Geneva’s historical landmarks, Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues is the first and only Four Seasons in Switzerland. Behind its neo-classical architecture, the Hotel offers 68 bedrooms and 35 suites, inspired Italian cuisine, a lively and unusual bar, prestigious lounges, a business centre and a fitness area. The Hotel’s thorough and selective recruitment policy is but one example of what makes the worldwide reputation of this prestigious Canadian group, which is a leader in luxury hotel management providing service which is precise, attentive, even intuitive.
While we didn’t stay at the hotel (we hope to do that next time and review it), we did have dinner at its luxury restaurant: Il Lago and were duely impressed. The green and blue-tinted dining room, split in half by gilt French doors, is decorated with brocades, chandeliers, and sweeping hand-painted scenery is enchanting and the service is arguabley the best is Geneva. When Executive Chef Marco Garfagnini is on target (which is most of the time), the food is sublime.
Chefs in the Kitchen
Marco Garfagnini – Chef
Only the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues succeeded in tempting Marco Garfagnini to leave his native Tuscany and his restaurant Ninan Eight years after opening it. “I needed a new challenge, he says.”
But not just anything. “I received a lot of offers, but had not accepted any of them when Mr Silva suggested I join in the launch of the Il Lago restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. This is indeed a major challenge.” In Carrara, Marco Garfagnini had a team of half a dozen people; at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, the kitchen staff number no less than 20 to 25.
This young chef of 36 already has an impressive culinary track record to his credit. After working up the ranks of his profession learning different skills in large Italian establishments, he went abroad to broaden his experience. He was deputy executive chef at the restaurant Il Carpaccio du Royal Monceau in Paris in the early 90s, and also worked at Harry’s Bar Exclusive Private Club in London. Later, as executive chef, he opened two restaurants of the Coco Pazzo chain in New York and Cleveland.
It was in 1998 that he returned to his native country, where together with his wife he opened a restaurant in the family home in Carrara. Honours then followed, and he gained his first Michelin star in December 1999. In 2002 he was among the five finalists selected for the title of Best chef of Italy, and in 2005 he won the Young Chefs trophy. At the same time he continued to hone his skills, working at the Four Seasons Georges V in Paris and with Martin Beratasegui in San Sebastian.
Marco Garfagnini’s cuisine is clearly of Italian – Mediterranean inspiration. He has a passion, both from cultural and personal preference, for pasta in all its forms. Not surprising, then, that it is under this heading that his most original creations can be found: tortelli with cheese, lemon and mint, and shrimp ravioli with crab
sauce. We dined during white truffle season and both Carnaroli risotto and Tagliolini freschi were ravishing and world class.
But above all Marco seeks to create the finest recipes. Some of the dishes have become “musts” like the Brittany Lobster Risotto and the wild sea bass. Risotto with lobster and basil, risotto with calamari and champagne, and tortelli with cheese, lemon, and mint are some of the northern Italian creations Carrara native has road-tested on diners then added to his menu. if seared scallops with wild mushrooms in a shellfish reduction or braised veal cheek with semolina gnocchi and asparagus are available, go for it.
If I were to select one plate that would be the chef’s signature, it would be Glazed goat kid, with roasted potatoes, purée of celery and green apple, which were in season. Cooked some 36 hours, the meat was bursting with flavor, amazingly moist and meltingly tender. A black cod creation was also excellent, if somewhat Nobuesque. In fact, our one criticism chef Marco’s style is the introduction of Asian influences that distract from his food’s innate purity: Something I am sure he will have corrected by our next visit.
The wine list is a joy and full of great bottles, as well as some interesting surprises. All desserts are recommended, especially La fraise, fraisier glaçé, croquant de meringue et rhubarbe (Strawberry, Iced strawberry cake, crunchy meringue and rhubarb) and Chocolat griottes,comme une forêt noire contemporaine (Chocolat cherries, as a contemporary black forest).
Il Lago restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues is one of the finest Italian restaurants in Geneva and rates A Major on The Walman Report.
Marco Garfagnini – Chef
Tortellini in brodo di bue, serviti con vecchio parmigiano 35
Oxtail consomme, tortellini with aged parmesan cheese
“Casseruola” di coniglio e legumi d’autunno 47
Rabbit “casserole” and autumn vegetables
Composizione di verdure tiepide al tartufo nero 55
Warm vegetable salad with black truffle
Insalata di mare con pesto alla rucula e crema di fagioli bianchi 60
Seafood salad with rocket pesto and white bean purée
Scampi con umido di fagioli risina e aceto balsamico 60
Seared scampi, white beans and balsamic reduction
Capesante con topinambour e salsa alle castagne 60
Seared sea scallops with Jerusalem artichokes and its chestnut emulsion Astice bretone con paesana di legumi ed emulsione al tartufo 75
Brittany lobster served with vegetables and a truffle emulsion
Tortelli di formaggio al limone e menta 38/52
Cheese tortelli scented with lemon and mint
Agnolotti alla coda di bue e salvia 38/52
Oxtail agnolotti with sage sauce
Ravioli di scampi con salsa ai crostacei 40/55
Scampi ravioli with shellfish sauce
Risotto all’astice bretone 55/65
Brittany lobster risotto
Baccalá glassato con fagiolini verdi all’olio d’oliva toscano 65
Glazed codfish, green beans with Toscane olive oil
Branzino alla plancia, carciofi alla Romana ed emulsione al limone 75
Wild sea bass, artichokes “alla Romana” and lemon emulsion
Capretto laccato, patate al forno, crema di sedano e mela verde 65
Glazed goat kid, with roasted potatoes, purée of celery and green apple Costoletta di daino con frutti d’autunno e salsa all’ Alchermes 70
Rack of venison with autumn fruits, sauce Archems
Costoletta di vitello alla Milanese con insalatina invernale in agrodolce 75
Milanese-style veal chop and its sweet and sour winter salad
Costata di manzo Black Angus alla plancha con legumi d’autunno 90 p.p.
Black Angus rib eye steak “alla plancha” with autumn vegetables (min. 2 personnes.)
Nos viandes sont originaires de France, Suisse, Autriche, Allemagne
Service et TVA compris
Le Specialita’ al Tartufo Bianco d’Alba
Prezzo del tartufo bianco al grammo 25
White truffle price per gram 25
Uova al piatto 20
Pan fried eggs
Carpaccio di vitello 30
Tagliolini freschi 30/40
Risotto carnaroli 30/40
“Casseruola” di coniglio e legumi 47
Rabbit and vegetable “casserole”
Pranzo d’affari / Business Lunch Menu 78
Risotto al gorgonzola con funghi cantarelli
Chanterelle mushroom and gorgonzola cheese risotto
ou Cannelloni di ricotta e mozzarella, fonduta di pomodoro
Ricotta and mozzarella cannelloni tomato compote
Triglia allo zafferano e legumi croccanti
Seared red mullet fillet with crispy vegetables and saffron sauce
ou Guancia di vitello glassata con gnocchi di patate e cime di rapa
Glazed veal cheek, potato gnocchi and “cime di rapa”
Proposta del Pasticciere
Suggestion of our pastry Chef
La Pomme, 23
juste pochée aux saveurs de gingembre, mascarpone et sorbet pomme verte
Apple, poached in ginger with mascarpone and green apple sorbet
Le Tiramisu IL Lago 23
The IL Lago Tiramisu
La fraise, fraisier glaçé, croquant de meringue et rhubarbe 23
Strawberry, Iced strawberry cake, crunchy meringue and rhubarb
comme une forêt noire contemporaine 23
Chocolat cherries, as a contemporary black forest
poêlée de mangues et ananas, sablé chocolat mousseux et crémeux banane, sorbet pina colada 23
Exotic chocolate, pan-fried mango and pineapple, sparkling chocolate sablé and banana,
pina colada sorbet
Cannelloni aux fruits exotiques,
crème glacés au caramel et gingembre 23
Exotic fruits cannelloni, ginger and caramel cream
Assortiment de glaces et sorbets 20
Assorted ice cream and sorbet