Hotel des Balances, Weinmarkt, CH-6004 Lucerne
Sample the tasting menu at Restaurant Balances in the heart of Lucerne for an exciting indulgent epicurean adventure. Boasting 14 Gault Millau points, this spectacular restaurant’s Des Balances Inspiration menu changes each month with market fresh creations and divine wine pairings.
After being treated to specially created amuse-bouche of silky noodles rich in sesame oil with fresh coriander and chilli, our journey through the March menu began with course number one pictured below.
Duo of octopus and scallops with a tomato emulsion, potato pearls, potato espuma and cress
The delicate scallop and octopus contrasted gloriously with the tangy robust tomato emulsion. Whilst the potato espuma (culinary foam) was light, heavenly and complemented the spherical tender pearls of potato. The first course set the standard for the remainder of the meal. Taking in the warm atmosphere, overlooking the Reuss River with a glass of Cuvée Madame Rosmarie it was difficult to imagine a better dining experience in such an enviable location.
The second course, a red lentil and curry soup with Canadian lobster and basil was fragrant, rich and warming. The vivid basil infused oil added a splash of colour, tempting diners to dive into the light aerated soup. The flavours were robust and the lobster was perfectly cooked until it was juicy and succulent. The recommended wine, Langhe Arneis Doc Blange with a pale straw yellow appearance expressed fruity notes of apple and pear, the perfect dry accompaniment for the soup. Course two was perhaps the stand out of the evening.
Red lentil and curry soup with Canadian lobster and basil
Course number three, the first meat course was a sumptuous tower of veal tenderloin, pan-fried duck liver, noodle pastry and apple with a truffle jus. The veal tenderloin sliced into medallions was cooked to perfection. The duck liver melted in the mouth. The richness of the veal and indulgent buttery duck liver were elevated by the full bodied truffle jus. The depth of flavour from the truffle jus coating each morsel in sweet and sticky goodness was divine. The sharpness of the apple was undoubtedly welcomed to provide balance to the course. Embodying the essence of Provence, the radiant salmon pink Maison Saint Aix Rosé was a smooth and beautifully ripe wine with notes of peach and summer fruits. Moving onto our fourth course we struggled to see how the Restaurant Balances could possibly do any more for us with its attentive staff and culinary excellence.
Tower of grilled veal tenderloin and pan fried duck liver with noodle pastry, apple, and truffle jus
Out came our next wine, a dry Rheinhessen Chardonnay to accompany the sea bass fillet pictured below. The delicate sea bass encrusted in a peppery crunchy mustard crust complemented the smooth cauliflower purée, whilst the deep garnet red wine butter once again reaffirmed the Restaurant Balances’ ability to deliver incredible sauces.
Sea bass fillet with a mustard crust, red wine butter, cauliflower variation and sweet potato chips
Bison sirloin with thyme jus and oxtail pralines, with dark bread dumplings, stewed onions and onion and cherry purée was our penultimate savoury dish. Seared on the outside and vividly pink inside, the sirloin was deliciously tender with a slightly sweet taste that worked perfectly with the sweetness of the stewed onions and tart onion and cherry purée. The oxtail praline with crunchy exterior and bursting with flavour was remarkable. However the dark bread dumpling was dense and oversized. The course was enjoyable nonetheless, and the recommended wine, the Dieter Meier Puro Corte D’Oro 2014 from the Mendoza region in Argentina was a rich and intense Bordeaux blend – the perfect pairing for the sirloin.
Bison sirloin with thyme jus, oxtail praline, dark bread dumplings, and stewed baby onions with an onion and cherry purée
Onto the cheese boards and desserts, the diverse European cheeseboard selected by Maître Fromager Rolf Beeler and home made fruit bread came complete with an indulgent port rich with almond and hazelnut aromas combined with notes of honey and figs.
European cheese board selected by Maître Fromager Rolf Beeler with home made fruit bread
And yet again, the generosity of the Restaurant Balances was proven once again with the arrival of a surprise course, a variation of Kiwi fruit, with a pistachio crumb, lime cream, and refreshing kiwi sorbet. The tangy sorbet and citrusy lime cream made this bijou offering the perfect palate cleanser after the indulgent port, cheese and previous courses.
Variation of kiwi fruit with a pistachio crumb and lime cream
The final course pictured below, was a delightful way to draw the meal to a close. The variation of green tea with passion fruit coulis and white chocolate was a masterclass in layering textures. The soft sponge, the crunch of the green tea crumb, cool coulis, creamy green tea ice cream and sublime light white chocolate mousse were a sensory delight. The delightful Mosacto d’Asti DOCG 2016 with an inimitable aromatic taste with exotic fruits was extremely drinkable and sweet without being cloying. After six different wines, a port and a prosecco aperitif, we definitely appreciated the Moscato d’Asti’s low alcohol content.
To draw the night to a close we each indulged in a handmade confectioner’s chocolate.
Overall the Restaurant Balances is a sensational restaurant delivering sublime food in beautiful surrounds with incredibly attentive staff.
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