Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: Geneva 日內瓦瑞士餐廳

Address: 9, Alley 5, Ln 345, Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei (台北市仁愛路四段345巷5弄9號)
Telephone: (02) 2731-7641
Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm to 11pm.
Average meal: NT$800
Details: Menu in English and Chinese; credit cards accepted On the Net: www.geneva.com.tw

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mealtimes can get quite saucey at Geneva.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GENEVA

After opening the popular Tavern sports bar and giving his restaurant Capone's a face-lift, Swiss national Michel Blanc has embarked on a new culinary mission: to turn Taiwanese on to one of his home country's more famous exports, fondue. He may have hit on a winner, given the preponderance of hot pot restaurants across the island.

According to Blanc, since there are only two authentic Swiss restaurants in the capital, the Alpine nation's cuisine is an unexplored niche in the crowded restaurant industry. "Fondues are all about sharing in a romantic setting with a bottle of champagne on the table. After the meal, you are all set for a love hotel," the jolly businessman said.

Of course, the Alpine cuisine is not limited to lovebirds as fondue is traditionally a family-time repast shared in the cold winter months, not unlike Taiwan's more watery version.

Geneva's menu features three kinds of fondues: cheese, bourguignonne and chocolate. To help customers stick to their dining budgets, the restaurant offers two set meals for two where diners can pick either cheese or bourguignonne fondue (NT$1,500 and NT$1,800 respectively) followed with a chocolate pot as dessert.

Served with French bread, the cheese pot blends four types of cheeses and is either flavored with white wine, champagne or cherry brandy.

To suit Asian palates, beef consomme and morel hot pot and curry hot pot made with carrot juice have been added to the menu. But, if you value authenticity, stick with the wine-based fondues. The Swiss, not renowned for their sense of humor, would laugh at the sight of such hybrid creations, Blanc said.

Vegetable and meat platters, grilled with cheese, appear on the menu as side dishes because Blanc suspects Taiwanese patrons won't think that dipping freshly baked bread into a pot of melted cheese constitutes a decent meal.

The bourguignonne fondue requires diners to pay attention to what they're doing — slices of beef, lamb and chicken and seafood are fried in a pot of oil before being dipped into a sauce. Geneva serves six sauces, including hot black pepper, creamy tartar and mild mushroom.

The gratifying and popular chocolate pot needs little introduction. Eating chunks of fresh fruit coated with melted bittersweet and milk chocolate is food of the gods. Before leaving, a shot of the joint's Swiss schnapps, which comes in various flavors from apple and raspberry to pear, will warm the cockles.

Reservations are recommended at the weekend, especially in the run-up to Valentine's Day.

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