In February 2009 Marc Veyrat announced that, at the age of 58, he will close this restaurant, so the notes below are of historical interest only.
This establishment is in Veyrier du Lac to the east of Annecy - it is well sign-posted locally, though Feyrier du Lac is small and a pain to find from central Annecy, which is a surprisingly large town. Just head for the lake, which can be discovered by following signs for the old town and then the marina - then follow the signs to Veyrier. Annecy is a very pretty resort with fine views over the lake. The hotel itself is painted blue and has 11 rooms, all with balconies overlooking the lake. The rooms are spacious though our bathroom was tiny with no decent shower. Hotel service was stuffy, with an overbearing receptionist who pestered us repeatedly after dinner as to exactly what time we would be having breakfast. With good weather (which sadly was not present on our visit), dining would be on a terrace overlooking the lake. The dining room sits behind the terrace (it is in the base of the hotel, which is on a steep slope down to the lake). The main dining area is sub-divided into three partitioned areas, plus two lounge areas at the back. The tables are well spaced and the rooms have heavy curtains.
We began with nibbles: gratin dauphinoise, sausage terrine and snails in a sauce of black truffles - these were stunning in the intensity of their flavours (20/20). A white roll and a sesame seed roll were already laid out on the table on arrival. For starters my wife had a vegetable “ravioli” (made without pasta), with carrots, herbs and turnips scented with black truffle (20/20). I had a startlingly good rosti with smoked salmon and an in indeterminate green sauce - perfect rosti (20/20). My menu next featured fera, a local fish lake fish, filleted and served simply with a vegetable bouillon with a filo package of courgettes and a local herb which allegedly tasted like mushrooms. The fish was simply divine - perfectly timed and simply one of the best dishes I have ever tasted (20/20). Langoustines were beautifully tender, steamed and served with wild celery (20/20). Yet these were accompanied by a dish of ridiculously overcooked vegetables (barely 11/20).
I had Bresse chicken, cooked on pine bark and served with chanterelles and gratin dauphinoise with a green sauce (with the ingredients Veyrat uses, I would hesitate to guess the constituents of the sauce). Chicken was beautifully cooked and full of flavour (20/20). Things went downhill from here on. Instead of a sorbet, we were offered a chicken gelee with a herb mousse, which I guess objectively as good as chicken gelee could reasonably be expected to be, but was an experiment too far for me (16/20 for execution but 10/20 for the idea). There was a vast cheeseboard displayed on a huge but just about movable bureaux-like object - most cheeses were from the Savoie area. We tried: Reblochon (19/20), Reblochon chevre (20/20), Fresh goat (20/20), Tonne de Savoie (18/20), Beaufort (18/20), a local blue (13/20), a grape-covered scented local cheese (20/20) and a local soft cheese (18/20). This was served with a mini-bakery of freshly made loaves with its very own bread waitress- of which we sampled just a fraction: sourdough, nut and raisin, 5 grain, country and white (average 18/20).
A pre-dessert was citrus fruits in a fennel jelly, which despite the odd flavour idea tasted surprisingly good (17/20). I had a selection of chocolate desserts: a cold chocolate mousse, a cold coffee/chocolate cake, a chocolate cake with warm dark chocolate oozing from its centre, all with some typically weird sauces - carrot sauce, gentian violet ice cream in a caramel cage. Despite the bizarre sauces, the handling of the chocolate elements could not be faulted (20/20). A rum baba was stuffed with alcohol and vanilla cream, with five sticks of angelica, the whole thing sitting on pools of various sauces: a strawberry sauce, indeterminate orange and green sauces, garnished with some wild strawberries but also a baby tomato (?!?), a truly bizarre aberration. Overall 16/20.
There were three creme brulees brought next: lavender (10/20), verbena tea (16/20) and coffee (20/20) - the marks reflect the concept as much as the texture. Coffees tried from a fairly wide choice were “cosi” and “cappriciosa”, which in fact were both superb (20/20). Accompanying the coffee were some more fairly eccentric nibbles: a violet cream, a chocolate and pistachio cream, a raspberry tart, cornflakes in bitter chocolate, a strawberry tart with pistachios - while untried were a cameroon and a mushroom (read it again and weep - yes a mushroom) tart. Overall 16/20, with varying quality of execution.
Service was flawless (20/20). Mr Veyrat wandered around in a black hat and cap (eccentric - moi?). Wines tried were a local wine: Marestel, Roussette de Savoie, Domaine Dupasquoir at FF 330, in a list of fairly frighteningly priced wines - we chatted to the wine waiter for a while about wine and were pointed to this excellent and fairly priced wine, while the loud Americans on the next table were duly recommended an outrageously expensive Puligny Montrachet, so perhaps there is justice in the world after all. The restaurant bill was FF 2155 with an chunky FF 195 for breakfast for one - nothing cooked mind, just some breads, a little fruit and some admittedly lovely jams. The room was a steep FF 1650. Overall a fairly intriguing experience, with a seriously talented though barely sane chef, but the prices here are very high indeed and would tend to put me off coming back soon.
Note that the prices have gone up considerably since this visit.