The restaurant Jasper at Palace Luzern in Lucerne, Switzerland features stunning contemporary elegance and a menu to match.
Jasper has elegant contemporary style and culinary excellence. German Chef Ulf Braunert is responsible for the outstanding kitchen, which won 16 points GaultMillau.
During a trip to Lucerne, Switzerland in October 2006, Edward F. Nesta and I stayed at the Palace Luzern, and had dinner at Jasper. We entered the restaurant and were impressed with the textured fabric walls, the sitting area, and the overall artistic appeal. The restaurant has a wall of windows dressed with copper chains hanging from the ceiling to the floor, triple row large opal disk chandeliers hang over the tables, there are natural wood floors, square light boxes in the corners feature tall vases with curly bamboo, and a long fish tank along one wall add interest to the room. Wood tables are dressed with white linen runners with white linen napkins rolled into horn napkin holders, a single purple calla lily and a leaf sat in round beige pottery vases on the tables, with white votive candles in low glass bowls, and beige leather club chairs completed the ambience.
Marcos Blanco began our evening with an aperitif of Perrier-Laurent Brut LP champagne to accompany an Amuse Bouche of Vegetable Tortilla with Herb Cream and a decorative line of reduced balsamic vinegar. A tasty selection of focaccia, crostini, walnut rolls, and sun-dried tomato bread filled an oblong horn bowl, and was presented with goat cheese tapenade, extra virgin olive oil in a decanter, and bowls of freshly ground pepper and sea salt.
For our first course, we had Spiced Salmon Filet on Cabbage Salad and Batata Dip, which was a generous portion of a rectangular piece of salmon adorned with a thinly sliced radish disk crust, sitting on a bed of thinly sliced cabbage, with 3 batata dips on each side on the salmon. Marcos paired the salmon with a 2005 Chardonnay du Valaise, Gerald Clavien, Wallis, Switzerland with 12.5% alcohol, that was a lighter chardonnay, with a light nose, and melon and vanilla on the palate.
Edward continued with Roulade of Rabbit and Pigeon Breast on Leek Puree and Roast Tomatoes that was designated on the menu as "Mood Food." The rabbit was presented with roasted cherry tomatoes with their stems, alongside three slices of stuffed roulade on a generous bed of leek puree, and garnished with thinly sliced strands of deep-fried potato. A 2001 Appollonio Valle Cupa Salento Rosso from Puglia, Italy, with 14% alcohol, made with 50% negroamaro and 50% primitivo grapes, that had a bold nose of black cherries and spice and well balanced tannins on the palate, was an excellent pairing for the game.
I continued with Roast Potato Gnocchi with Tarragon and Lobster, gorgeously presented in a deep bowl with tender pillows of gnocchi topped with a generous portion of lobster meat with lobster foam. This dish was paired with a 2003 Grillette Domaine de Cressier Pinot Noir, Appellation Neuchâtel Controleé, from Switzerland, with 13% alcohol, fruity nose and heavy tannins on the palate.
For dessert, we selected the Bellini Cream Brûlee with Fried Nougat in Strudel Dough, which was a peach brûlee served in a small white bowl with a perfect crispy crust, with sugared currents, a gooseberry, and still warm pirouettes filled with melted chocolate. Marcos returned moments later with a plate of tempting morsels of miniature horns filled with pastry cream and fresh fruit, chocolate fudge with pistachio nuts, chocolate sticks, marzipan, and other goodies.
Two nights later, we returned to Jasper for a farewell four-course dinner. Chef Ulf Braunert began our dinner with an Amuse Bouche of Butterfish on a Bed of Miniature Sprouts and a Caperberry.
For our first course, we had Thai Pumpkin Cream Soup with Shrimps, paired with a 2005 Chardonnay du Valaise, Gerald Clavien, Wallis, Switzerland with 12.5% alcohol. This flavorful and deliciously spicy soup was presented in a large deep bowl, with a generous portion of Vietnamese shrimp that were thinly sliced and grilled, placed in the center of the bowl, garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
We continued with Red Mullet Filet on Sautéed Root Vegetables, designated on the menu as "Spa Food" (Specialties prepared to perfection from selected products), as a second course. The red mullet was presented on a bed of vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, fresh peas, Kalamata olives, garlic, yellow beets), and Chef Ulf's new find, red carrots.
For our third course, Edward and I went separate ways. He selected the Grilled Entrecote of Deer on Creamy Savoy Cabbage and Truffle Sauce, which we had the opportunity to watch Chef Ulf Branert prepare. The deer was beautifully presented with two pieces of deer on a bed of the creamy Savoy cabbage, with a potato and herb cake nestled against the deer, with a pool of truffle sauce surrounding the deer, paired with a 2001 Appollonio Valle Cupa Salento Rosso from Puglia, Italy, with 14% alcohol, made with 50% negroamaro and 50% primitivo grapes.
I selected the Fried Pike-Perch with Creamy Savoy Cabbage presented on a bed of creamy Savoy cabbage and a new type of yellow fingerling potato with red spots from Peru, surrounded with a foam sauce.
We ended our farewell dinner with Strawberry Shortcake with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, listed as "Mood Food" on the menu, (Seduction for the Senses, Stimulation for the Soul). The dessert was presented in a coupe glass with the shortcake in the vee of the glass, with the bourbon vanilla ice cream in the center, and surrounded by a sea of pureed strawberry "soup." When a plate of miniature goodies arrived, we tried very hard not to succumb to their calling, but alas, no willpower for either of us, and we sampled just one, or perhaps just two of them, but then again, who was counting?
Read Chefs' Recipes for an interview and tempting recipes (English and German) from Chef Ulf Braunert, and the articles in the Hotels and Resorts, Spas, and Adventures sections to read more about the Palace Luzern. The Palace Luzern is part of the Victoria-Jungfrau Collection, www.Victoria-Jungfrau-Collection.ch.
Jasper at Palace Luzern
Telephone: +41 41 416 16 16
Fax: +41 41 416 10 00
Read other articles on Switzerland in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, Liquor Cabinet, Wine Cellar, and Adventures sections.
For information on Switzerland, please visit: www.MySwitzerland.com. For information on Lucerne: www.Luzern.org. For information on Interlaken: www.InterlakenTourism.ch. For information on Bern: www.BernInfo.com. For information on Zurich: www.Zuerich.com. For information on Swiss International Air Lines: www.swiss.com. For information on Swiss Pass: www.SwissTravelSystem.ch.
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