Lunch was set for a quarter past noon. Right after checking in and unpacking (for the second time that weekend), we set off at noon for the restaurant which we thought was only 10 minutes away. After a few wrong turns, we asked some banker-types and were told that in fact the restaurant was a kilometer away towars the far end of rue du Rhone, Geneva’s main shopping street. As A started to brisk walk to our rendez-vous, I struggled to keep up in my high-heel stiletto boots. Soon the gap between us started to get bigger and he was a block away from me. Fifteen minutes later and we were still walking along the rue du Rhone, no longer enjoying the lovely windows decorated for Christmas and filled with lots of wonderfully expensive trinkets. Almost at the end of the street, A suddenly turned left and rushed off so I tried to catch up but my heel got caught in a crack in the sidewalk and I tripped and fell on my knees, downward dog style, right in front of the windows of Tod’s and Hogan. Luckily, I didn’t sprain my ankle although my left knee was a bit banged up. I hobbled across the street just as A walked into the doors of Roberto.
The place was starting to fill up with a very well-heeled (no pun intended, or maybe just a little bit) melange of both power lunchers and ladies who lunch. Red leather banquettes, brass rails, chandeliers and a see-and-be-seen crowd all greeted by the jacketed Italian proprietor at the door or by the woman in the leopard print shift dress and Louboutins.
After apologizing for our very un-Swiss lateness, we had a quick look at the menu and decided quickly despite the many choices available. Prosciutto di Parma for C and a shared vitello tonnato for A & myself to start then pasta for all three of us – gnocchi for A & C and tortellini for me. As we nibbled on some small chunks of Parmesan already on the table, bread and a carafe of Barolo were served.
As this was sort of a business lunch, pleasantries were exchanged then some business was discussed first so that lunch could be a more relaxing affair. Our shared starter of vitello tonnato is something that one forgets the flavor of and then remembers as soon as the first bite is taken – the cold veal with the creamy tuna-based sauce was very good and a refreshing change from the usual.
By this time, Roberto was filled and buzzing. Good that the service by the old-style white-jacketed waiters was efficient and we didn’t wait long for our pastas. My tortellini with large slices of Porcini mushrooms came with a cream sauce while the gnocchi was served with the tomato sauce on the side. More Parmesan, this time grated, was left on the table and the rest of the meal continued. I forgot to mention that most restaurant menus included a petite assiette (small plate) or petite faim (small hunger) portion which is what I always ordered so I could survive the four days of three-course lunches and dinners. Dessert was raspberries and fresh cream, surprisingly sweet, which A & I shared. Espressos ended our lunch then we all rushed off again in different directions – C back to work and A & I walking briskly but carefully on the stylish rue du Rhone for another rendez-vous at the Hotel du Rhone.
10, rue Pierre-Fatio, Geneva
+41 (0)22 311 80 33
Open Mondays to Fridays for lunch and dinner