- bio restaurants
- vegan restaurants
- local farm to table restaurants
- pop up restaurants
- surprise menus
- restaurants where you pay what you want
- restaurants with single menu options
- waste-based cooking
- blind dining experiences
Restaurants all over the world are bringing us concept dining, and apparently Switzerland is no different. In fact, according to Le Temps not only are concept restaurants popping up everywhere in the Suisse Romande, they are rapidly expanding into chains.
Lukas Menal from Guérilla Gourmande says the arrival of concept restaurants in Switzerland dates back 5 or 6 years. As he tells Le Temps «C’était comme un tsunami, on l’a vu venir mais on ne pouvait pas y échapper.» (It was like a tsunami, one could see it come but one wasn’t able to escape it.) Gone are the days of menus with broad selections with something for everyone. These restaurants offer very specific experiences.
Le Temp declares Relais de l’Entrecôte to be Geneva’s first concept restaurant. Serving one single dish, steak and frites with a butter herb sauce, it opened it’s first location in Paris in 1959 before opening it’s second location in Geneva in 1979. Geneva was an ideal second location given that the butter herb sauce used by Relais de l’Entrecôte is thought to have been inspired by the sauce which has been served at Café de Paris since the 1940’s, a sauce which still carries the name of this Genevan institution. What Relais de l’Entrecôte did successfully was take away the diner’s options. To this day dinner is a walnut salad followed by steak and frites served with a generous portion of butter herb sauce, just as it was in 1959.
Many of the new restaurants rapidly expanding today offer scaled down menus with limited options in an effort to focus on quality and stand out from the crowd with their speciality. The Hamburger Foundation offers a burger with a choice of cheese and/or bacon. You better want a burger.
In the competitive and risky game of café or restaurant openings players must define their brand and make a mark with original concepts and unique experiences. In this new contest it is better to be a specialist rather than a generalist, to keep it simple rather than complicated, and most importantly to maintain a focus on quality.
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