(If you look hard enough, you can see the Château de Chillon on the left)
We passed Montreux many times during our trip around Switzerland. It’s located on the edge of Lake Geneva, so many times, we’d catch a glimpse of the rising sun behind the backdrop of hazy mountains and lake with vineyards cascading below us. Those moments were seriously amongst the most beautiful I’ve witnessed.
We didn’t spend much time in Montreux- there’s not much to do here. It’s like a fairytale land. There’s mountains and mountains, a never ending lake, and a medieval château (Château de Chillon). Against all of that, life goes on. There’s a sweeping bridge overlooking all this scenery above the lake, where cars roar by on the highway. And across the lake, the street is littered with restaurants.
We arrived to Montreux around 11am from Davos, which was a long and exhausting ride. We left around 5am from the hotel, boarded a 6am-ish train, and rode through dusk. By the time we got to Montreux, the fog was just about done clearing from the lake. I felt as if I was in some far away land.
From the train station, the walk to the château is roughly 40 minutes. Factor in picture taking, and it’ll take you a good hour. As we were walking, they were laying down these plastic white looking mats on the ground. We found out they were for dry skiing! How awesome is that?
Unfortunately, it was in Montreux where I topped the capacity out of my 2gb memory card. I would later lose my camera with all the photos from the walk to the castle. Such a shame…
Before we started off on this walk, we searched for a place to eat. It took awhile but we ended up settling on this quite upscale bistro, Confiserie Zurcher. By far, the meal I had here was the best on the trip, and perhaps top 3 in all of my European travels.
Zurcher is not completely a “confiserie,” which translates to “sweets shop” in French. There’s a cafe attached to the restaurant where they sell little pastries/sandwiches and supposedly, it doubles as a tea-room. The cafe is actually alot bigger than the restaurant; we were amongst the few that dined in the restaurant part.
The one problem with Montreux is that fewer people speak English. This was most apparent when our server gave us the menu (completely in French) and spoke to us in French (despite our glaringly obvious touristy appearance. I mean, I was carrying a giant backpack…). We asked for him to translate several things, which of course he couldn’t. So, he resulted to drawing.
(That’s supposed to be a deer for venison)
The bread was disappointing. It was dry and hard. There was no butter either. Luckily, their mains are much better.
Roast Beef (CHF 19)
By that price tag, you can conclude that this was NOT a cheap place by any means. And while I had the most delectable venison dish I can ever remember, the same could not be said for the rest of my group. Gurpreet and Antara had a quiche which was a whopping CHF 15 (I doubt any quiche can command a CFH 15 price tag). Diana’s roast beef seemed pretty decent, though CHF 19 is quite a hefty price tag too. I liked the tartar that was served with the roast beef, but cold meat is not really my cup of tea.
Venison with brussel sprouts, pickled cabbage potatoes, and dried apricots (CHF 28)
Now, enter the venison, which was considered a splurge at over $30 for a single dish. But I figured- everything else on the menu was just as expensive, if not even more, so I might as well enjoy myself. When the dish came out, it was ginormous. There were roughly 5 cuts of venison (which for a girl is more than plenty) that came beautifully garnished. If I remember correctly, the vension was cooked in this sweet red wine sauce that made the meat oh so juicy and tender.
For the sides, they successfully intertwined sweet with salty. There were brussel sprouts with bits of fried bacon sprinkled in between, roasted cherries that separated the chestnuts on the pickled red cabbage (which tasted suprisingly sweet) and of course, some jam on top of potato. You know, I could very well be making all of this up since I had NO idea what the menu said and I have a habit of mistaking one food item for another. All I remember was that this dish was THE BOMB, and I could have died happy right then and there.
If for some reason you’re in Montreux (and I doubt it because it’s not exactly the most touristy spot to travel to in Switzerland), I highly recommend you to go to Zurcher and hunt down this dish. It came on the “daily specials” menu, so perhaps you should visit in late November, which is when we did.