It makes me sad to have to write a review such as this for a restaurant which has an enviably stunning view of the Lake and a justifiably high reputation for cuisine – I note that pride in delivery of outstanding service is excluded from the website introduction, perhaps because the owners are so sure that the many serving staff they employ exceed customer expectation. Perhaps the fact that my husband, our two guests and myself ONLY ordered the Menu du Jour – and what a ridiculous direction on the Menu that everyone on the table must have the same… so in a normal restaurant, every one in the party has to order the same entrée, the same main course, the same dessert! I don’t think so! And perhaps because we only drank water – which I will expand upon more, the waiting staff were simply not interested in us as in their eyes, we were not the “big spenders” they ‘enjoy’? The sparkling water we ordered arrived in already opened bottles – not impressive - so we had the impression that it could have been ‘soda-stream’ produced internally rather than a properly manufactured Evian or Pellegrino, for example. And we were charged a whopping CHF44 – for a few glasses of WATER! The food was beautifully presented though to me, as an ex-chef, the entrée was excessively simple – Fera in a lobster bisque – absolutely nothing special and so overall over-priced for what it was. Although we arrived at 12.50 we were told that the poultry on the menu had run out and that they had replaced it with veal. When I enquired how the veal was to be served and cooked, I was told in exactly the same as the Volaille with artichoke – there was none that I could discern! We were left with an impression that the restaurant had not done its buying properly – rather unexpected for one of this calibre. And was anyone particularly interested to explain what Fera was – a white fish from the Lake was all our man said – in my view he should have been able to explain the texture and similarity to… for the benefit of his British guests - a little better. I have now looked this up and now know that this white fish has a delicate texture and flavour. Did we get any impression about this at all? NO! I was also surprised that there was no alternative for either the entrée or the main course, just one option. I was also a little disappointed that The Maitre d’ did not come to ask us whether we were happy with our meal, though one of the serving staff did. When I compare that to the prix fixe luncheon at Les Cygnes, Evian (a now favourite restaurant I have also reviewed) at €20, I’m afraid our conclusion is that L’ermitage is really a joke – on us this time! I have been in the business of training staff and this lot should be told that the ambiance they create is one of haughty condescension which is not conducive to guest happiness. Are the clientele too well-heeled to notice? Is management too complacent to care? In consideration of the Restaurant name, I am certain that if the original hermits had been confronted with the unsmiling faces that accompanied our meal, they would have voluntarily gone into retreat. I note that there is a wide variation in the reviews for this restaurant and would just add a final warning that if you are as disinterested in the final bill as they are in the service they provide, you’ll probably enjoy the experience – after all, there is a lovely view. I would just love to have the opportunity to dine there again and train them on their performance ‘on the day, on the job’. This could be a truly wonderful place – but it didn’t even match my expectation never mind exceed it as they couldn’t have cared LESS.
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