In the world of independent watchmaking, François-Paul Journe is perhaps the first amongst equals. But beyond his eponymous brand, Mr Journe has long been something of a gourmand who invested in restaurants in the past.
But now his most ambitious culinary project has opened: F.P. Journe Le Restaurant. Located on Geneva’s posh Rue du Rhone, the restaurant is helmed by Dominique Gauthier, formerly the chef at Le Chat-Botté, the Michelin-starred Geneva institution in the lakeside Beau-Rivage hotel.
A shared passion
Anyone who has been inside an F.P. Journe boutique might have noticed wine bottled especially for F.P. Journe from Chateau Seguin, whose owner is a friend of Mr Journe. Similarly, the new restaurant reflects Mr Journe’s personal relationships and passions.
The new restaurant is actually Mr Journe’s third foray into dining, amongst his previous endeavours was a steakhouse. But F.P. Journe Le Restaurant is undoubtedly conceived to be something else entirely.
Besides the reputedly CHF1.5 million investment in the location, Mr Journe has recruited one of Geneva’s star chefs. Dominique Gauthier was the head chef at the Le Chat-Botté for some 30 years, clinching a Michelin star along the way.
A historical address
This new restaurant is inside a 19th-century building at 49 Rue du Rhône. More notably, the building once housed Bavaria, a renowned German restaurant popular in the early to mid decades of the 20th century.
In its prime, the establishment played host to world leaders and diplomats in town for the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations. Bavaria even merited a mention in Goldfinger, Ian Fleming’s very first James Bond novel, which mentions 007 having a beer in the restaurant.
Le Restaurant embodies the creative impulses of Francois-Paul Journe and Dominique Gauthier. Having dictated practically every aspect of the restaurant, from its interior to the cutlery, Mr Journe also made sure it is a horological restaurant.
The walls feature large drawings of F.P. Journe movements, while the tables are each named after great historical watchmakers like A.-L. Breguet and Antide Janvier. And inside the restaurant stands a 17th-century astronomical clock made by Italian clockmaker Giovanni Brugell Venetia.
Mr Gauthier, on the other hand, will be serving his Mediterranean-inflected cuisine that made Le Chat-Botté one of Geneva’s best restaurants. The menu incudes truffle-infused ravioli and locally-sourced kadaïf scampis, as well as an extensive wine list.
Perhaps the only downside of Le Restaurant is its limited opening hours. It is only open on weekdays, serving both lunch and dinner from Monday to Thursday, and only lunch on Fridays.
F.P. Journe Le Restaurant
49 Rue du Rhône
For reservations, contact FPJourne-lerestaurant.ch.
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