After a number of recommendations and a looooooong night, I’ve finally made it to the Café de la Paix to try their brunch.
Granted, crawling out of bed seemed like an arduous task when I got the call for brunch. But knowing that this was THE opportunity to try this place out, I slinked into my clothes and scurried over to Plainpalais.
Why the effort? Simple. A New Yorker and a fellow foodie both flagged this place for having something Geneva has never experienced before: a good, genuine, New York bagel!
Let’s take a brief history lesson. In my lifetime, every bagel initiative has failed in Geneva. It was always clear they were pre-made, frozen and served dry and bland. And this was my opinion BEFORE living in New York for 8 years. So needless to say, when I heard the rumors about good bagels in Geneva, I flew.
The setting: The Café de la Paix is one of the oldest bars/restaurants of the Jonction neighborhood, and indeed it has all the charm of that slightly classical, slightly off beat wannabe retro feel you get at a lot of these Plainpalais/Jonction hot spots.
The bagel etc: There was what seemed like an extremely long wait between the time we ordered and the time we got served, but all was forgotten when I bit into that bagel. Fresh out of the oven, plump but not too dense, with a crisp crust and subtle seedy flavor, this bagel was nothing short of a slice of heaven on a freezing Sunday afternoon. The coffee was very flavorful. I wished they had more coffee options to choose from, but since the one they served was so tasty, I can’t really complain. However, the hot chocolate was disappointing. The milk tasted like it was steamed at the coffee machine, and the chocolate tasted like it came out of a Caotina pack. Fine, not the end of the world, but nothing to write home about. As a chocofreak, I would stick to coffee or tea next time.
The menu: If some restaurants go over board on menu selections, the Café de la Paix does quite the opposite. A rarity in Geneva, I might add, to specialize in something so… specific. The menu consists almost solely of bagel plates. Bagel with salmon, bagel with roast beef, bagel with San Daniele, bagel with tuna… you get the drift, yah? And since the bagel is THAT good, they can afford to narrow their selection to that degree. Kudos, really. They offer a breakfast platter for 11chf that includes one toast bagel, butter, homemade jam, one bircher muesli (because it just wouldn’t be Switzerland otherwise), a glass of fresh pressed orange juice, and a cup of something hot. The brunch platter for 25chf consists of 3 toasted bagel slices, plus all of the above, plus a plate of either salmon, roast beef or San Daniele, plus a bit of lettuce, tomato and onion, a dollop of cream cheese, and a cup of fruit salad. There are also other menu items that seem totally delicious that should probably be tested as soon as possible.
The green factor: Straight up? I don’t know what the green factor is at this place. The jams and the bagels are homemade, but I did not ask about where their produce and other products came from. Guess I’ll just have to go back and ask ’em. 🙂
Price/Quality: The 11chf breakfast and the 25chf brunch are a pretty good value for your money. I would like to point out though that the amount of cream cheese they give you would never a full bagel cover – let alone 3 slices. These are what I would call “healthy” portions, but in the literal, not figurative, sense. This is not all together a bad thing, and in the end, it shows that a New York bagel can perhaps only be successful in Geneva when served in Swiss doses. Oh, and last but not least, don’t go if you’re a rush- the service is sssssssslllllllooooooowwwwwwww!