One of the absolute highlights of our Montreux stay was dinner at the famous Montreux Jazz Cafe by special request of Mlle! It turned out that we were there on the Sunday celebrating Mother’s Day in Switzerland, which happens to be the same as Australia (2nd Sunday in May) so we figured we had a good excuse to go there since we don’t get to see Mlle too often.
Part of the iconic Montreux Palace Hotel (see last week’s post) the cafe is quintessentially associated with the Jazz Festival and during festival time hosts both organised concerts and impromptu jamming sessions by the jazz musicians. Claude Nobs, the founder of the Jazz Festival, originally trained as a chef so the cafe combines his love of fine dining with his passion for music.
I was a little apprehensive about going to such a grand place and we thought it advisable to book. We did this the day before by going into the cafe at breakfast time as I thought that would be easier than phoning. The waitress didn’t speak any English so I had to negotiate in French and hoped that we we wouldn’t be turned away the next day. Fortunately, on arrival, we were shown to a lovely table at the long banquette and the evening wait staff spoke impeccable English.
The dining room has the elegant feel of a bygone era updated with modern decor and you are surrounded with framed prints of the stars who have dined here and “sung for their supper”!
Several dishes are named after jazz stars such as the Quincy Jones roast chicken (Monsieur’s choice), the BB burger and Ella’s Cheesecake. We didn’t order a starter but were served warm fois gras with our drinks before the main course arrived. A first for me – am not too keen on the origins of this dish but have to say it was delicious. We didn’t want to appear too gauche by taking too many photos of the food so there are only a few of the desserts! Exquisite concoctions of light meringues, ice cream and fruits – a perfect compliment to the rich main courses (we simply couldn’t have fitted Ella’s cheesecake in!)
It was quite a mixed clientele including a number of families (probably out celebrating Mother’s Day). I can imagine it would be a very different atmosphere at festival time when the place must be buzzing with music and people.
Overall we had a thoroughly memorable night! Given the price (not cheap!) it was also a once in a lifetime experience though we did joke as we left that Mlle could pay for us next time!
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