This little gem, located in Choëx, above the industrial city of Monthey in Valais, Switzerland, is definitively worth the visit if you are in the region. Awarded with an impressive 15 points in Gault Millau Switzerland, the restaurants offers fine French cuisine in a sublimely bucolic yet elegant setting with a service that is superior to most restaurants.
Cafe Berra is situated in a peaceful spot between the mountain and the valley. In the winter you will enjoy the typical mountain setting with a modern almost nordic twist to the interior, while in summer you can enjoy your meal at the gorgeous terrace overlooking the valley.
The restaurant has only a few tables so reservation is highly recommended. The menu consists of only a few but well selected dishes, and the wine menu (with most wines coming from local producers) is great. Wines from Valais are simply delicious, right up my alley in their elegance, dryness and aromatic pureness.
We started with a crisp salad with grains and parmesan for him and a truffle risotto with a meat jus for her. The salad was very fresh with a delicious vinaigrette and the perfect opening for a meal, while the risotto was as indulgent as it could be with a very definite yet pleasing truffle aroma (nothing can be as unpleasant as an overly strong truffle aroma that reminds you more of worn socks than fresh, woody earth). The Italian purist might qualify this risotto as too French (I believe it has been prepared with a little bit of cream, as most French chefs do), however for a starter I find this preparation perfectly adequate.
For main courses we continued with a beef filet with a Roquefort sauce for him and a pigeon on a green lentil bed for her. The filet was quite classic, but perfectly cooked with a well-balanced sauce and presented with some very nice sides: mashed potatoes and a few different kinds of vegetables (spinach, pumpkin, romanesco, chickpeas and fennel). Each of them perfectly cooked and seasoned with lots of attention to detail.
The pigeon, again perfect cuisson and lovely tender and tasty meat, was presented on a lentil bed with a meat jus. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I did find it a tad salty. Now here it comes: the lovely waitress was genuinely sorry to hear that there has been an imperfection (and only a slight one, as I am quite sensitive when it comes to salt) and said I should have told her right from the beginning, as they would have cooked me a new one. But not only that, as we got the bill, she told me they didn’t charge me for the pigeon as I was not 100% satisfied. That’s quite incredible and I especially appreciated it as it was a truly genuine and authentic generosity without any fuzz you might experience in some restaurants of this high standard. I was already greatly impressed by the setting and quality of the food, but this really adds another dimension to it.
For dessert, my gourmand company had a moelleux au chocolat, as perfect as it can be, crispy on the outside, gooey in the middle (but also with an in-between, a phase that a lot of moelleux unfortunately don’t have) with an intense chocolate flavour.
I can only highly recommend this amazing restaurant, which I certainly qualify as one of my top culinary experiences in 2013!
1, Place de l’école, 1871 Choëx s/Monthey
Tel +41 (0)24 471 05 30