Tucked away in a corner around Boulevard de Grancy, lies Brasserie Les Trois Rois. The area around Grancy is mostly residential from the looks of it. We were there around 730pm in the late evening. The place? It was half full and we didn’t have any reservations, but the maitre d’ ushered us in and sat us down on a table for six. That was a plus point in my eyes.
Then came the clanger, but it was more on our part rather than the establishment. Having only had a passing notion of French, we were stumped by the French-exclusive menu. They didn’t even have an English translation, which could be either good or bad depending on the situation. The good? This is definitely a locals-only place and you can be sure of the originality of the food. The bad? You wouldn’t have an inkling of what to order. But since I have read the review on Wikitravel, I knew this place was famous for its steak. So that was what we were aiming for.
We were no connoisseurs of wine ourselves so we settled with the Swiss favourite — Rivella. For those who are in the dark, this is a Swiss-made non-alcoholic soft drink made from whey. They come in a few flavours but we settled for the original (Rot), while the parents went with the low-calorie version (Blau).
“They should have this in Malaysia,” quipped GC.
“I don’t think they can fight the market share of Coca-cola and Pepsi.”
“True. The taste is a little different from the sugary soft drinks back home. Tangy taste but quite palatable,” I said.
“That must be the thirst talking,” joked Mom.
“Enough of this, fire up the translator app, we have some work to do,” I said.
Having learnt the lesson from last year’s European tour without a smartphone, we were better prepared this time around. Kudos to the people behind Pingguo Youxi and their Bon Appétit app. They had it down pat for just $1.99 but I got it for free during one of their promotional specials.
I think the waitress who took our order would have been pretty much surprised by the way we do things. She only knew a smattering of English and we were pointing and showing to her our iPhone during ordering. Not to mention the fact that we didn’t order any starters or appetizers and went straight for the main course. We were brought up that way I guess. Only during course dinners, do the Chinese have starters and we seldom have them. Course dinners are usually reserved for big occasions such as a wedding, a celebration and sometimes for the Chinese New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner.
The wife tore into her Bouilli when it arrived. If I’m not mistaken this is boiled beef served with a dressing of lettuces, red cabbages and potatoes. We haven’t had a proper meal since lunch so you would have to pardon her. See how the knife and fork were already in position before I could even snap a picture.
“This tastes better than anything back home,” she said.
“Mm-hmm,” I replied. That you would have to take it with a pinch of salt, since we don’t usually have this back home. I liked how the chef mixes the colours on the plate, you have your greens, reds and yellows mixing around the main dish.
I think that’s the correct picture of the dish or that it could be actually the petit filet de boeuf. They were ordered by my parents. I didn’t realise that they actually come with so many different sauces and that it costs more (CHF4.50) for the extra sauce. They went for the Montagné, which was made from thyme and rosemary. Probably a herb choice. Or the local version of the organic health food.
Ever the conservative, I stooped for the médaillons de filet de boeuf. Certainly a mouthful judging from its name but surprisingly the dish was not. It comes with the customary mushroom sauce. Never did realise that champignons meant mushrooms. I thought it was champaign but luckily the translator came to the rescue. It didn’t require that much of a cutting as the beef has been sliced into pieces. Mixing the dry nature of the beef with the sauce. Yummy!
The ambience of the place was very homely. The clacking of shoes on the wooden floor and the soft golden hues of the lights puts you back into the earlier European era. We also had our first culture shock here. Instead of allowing us to help in setting up the table, the waitress decided that it was her job to do so. In spite of the fact that at least two of us were sitting at quite a distance from the walking area with no space for her to get closer, she still preferred to struggle with the utensils across the width of the table. We don’t mind passing the fork and spoons around at the table though, but having had an inkling while doing my research for the trip, I put it down as her dedication to her job.
Price wise? Welcome to the Swiss version of fine dining. For the six of us, we ordered 4 Rivella and a beer. Including the six main dishes for each of us, the price came up to CHF191.10. This is inclusive of the 8% service tax. Just for your information, a 1.5L bottle of Rivella costs less than CHF2!
Les Trois Rois
rue du Simplon 7