Switzerland: Top Table

Auberge Col de Soud, Villars-sur-Ollon


Location The Auberge Col de Soud is in Villars-sur-Ollon, 1884 Switzerland (00 41 24 495 2640), a 10-minute train ride from the colourful village of Villars, which itself is a mere one-and-a-half-hour train journey south of Geneva. The auberge is situated on a south-east-facing pass, making it the perfect destination for long summer lunches.

Location The Auberge Col de Soud is in Villars-sur-Ollon, 1884 Switzerland (00 41 24 495 2640), a 10-minute train ride from the colourful village of Villars, which itself is a mere one-and-a-half-hour train journey south of Geneva. The auberge is situated on a south-east-facing pass, making it the perfect destination for long summer lunches.

Clientele Enthusiastic hikers in search of refreshment before heading up the mountain; the breathless who have just made it down the mountain; and those who look settled in for the afternoon and have no intention of walking anywhere.

Ambience and decor Simple, rustic and charming, the auberge is run by a friendly – and multi-lingual – couple (he cooks, she caters).

Romance factor Wonderfully romantic, if you fancy reenacting the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp using cheese fondue instead. The view south towards the Argentine mountain is incredibly easy on the eye, and the quiet is only punctuated by the occasional whistles of the trains.

Service Considering how busy it gets, it is amazing how they cope. It's just the two of them and their trusty waitress Sanne. This is not really the kind of place where you want to be too rushed, anyway, but the service is always smily and helpful.

Menu Homemade soup, dandelion salads (if in season), cheese fondue, croûtes (a crusty, white bread base topped with ham, cheese and an egg and thrown to the mercy of a hot grill), fresh pasta dishes, tartiflette (potatoes, cream, melted cheese), plat Valaisan (a selection of local dried meats and cheeses with pickled gherkins and onions). Wholesome and delicious – bring your appetite.

Wine List The local white vin d'Ollon is slightly effervescent and perfect for drinking in the mountains. There is also the refreshingly light Dôle from the neighbouring Valais region. Both come by the carafe in varying sizes.

Price A reasonable SFr40 (£17) per person for one main course, side salad, half bottle of wine and service.

Oh, and the food A light mixed salad with home-grown bean sprouts and fresh bread was the perfect entrée to the cheese fondue (made with kirsch, the proper way, not out of a packet as many in the region are). They say you should drink warmer red wine with fondue as cold white wine causes the cheese to congeal in your tummy, so Dôle it was.

Jamie Buckley

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