I did debate with myself for a long time, wether I want one of my favorite places to appear in here or not. But then I’m also subject to a phenomenom which I’ve seen so many times. The more often you visit a place, the quicker the novelty wears of and you start seeing the faults and deficiencies. Kind of like the three-week relationship, you so desparately try to find an easy way out on the telephone….
I think the Alpenrose has peaked and quality has gone down. It’s a very modern and rustic swiss restaurant, filled with kitsch of days long gone by. Most of its food is purely organic soul food with a twist, sometimes even the farmer’s name is on the menu (swiss german language skills is an advantage) declaring where the happy pig has been raised. I had malfatti with truffles from the Uetliberg (hill in Zurich). I was wondering where on the Uetliberg you can find truffles and the only place that came in mind was the Uto Kulm restaurant…. They were nice. I liked the creamy sauce, I liked the malfatti, which were soft and big, but I didn’t taste much truffle and the portion was too small. The veal roast I had was accompanied by a very sour sauce (riesling based) and spaetzle. The spaetzle were okay at best (not fried) and the veal was overcooked with the riesling sauce being too sour. A small disappointment and I’m afraid that the Alpenrose is in danger of becoming a typical Zurich place – who cares about the food if we’re sold out almost every evening ? Price of the malfatti, veal, mineral water, 2dl wine and an espresso came to 75 CHF
Soccer practice was calling and this time I had a quick meal at the Steinburg in Küsnacht. The appearance and the dining room are typical for restaurants of this type, they attempt to intimidate clients, so that they are too scared to complain. Walking into the place, you at least know that your meal is not going to cheap and it certainly doesn’t have the air of a fun place to be. Since game season is beginning I chose a wild game terrine and a deer entrecote. Like restaurants in this league customarily do, I was served an amuse-bouche. Now we’re here in the beginning of fall, on the lake of Zurich and I get a spoon with a shrimp based amuse-bouche. It had a nice texture and taste, but what the hell is the cook thinking – I just hope he doesn’t buy his groceries online from Vietnam. The terrine was excellent, it had a perfect silky, succulent texture, a nice, lingering taste of game and it matched nicely with the sweet and fruity sauce. The two types of bread that went with it, the dark one was spot on, the white should have been fed to the ducks. The Spätzli which were served with the deer, were lovely, because they were roasted and browned in butter after they cooked in the water. Unfortunatley they were severly hampered by the crumble on top of it. It tasted of breadcrumbs and butter, but I wasn’t able to find out what it was and was furious, that someone destroyed almost perfect food with such a stupid idea. Brussel sprouts weren’t soft enough for my tasting. The meat was encompanied by a lovely mushroom sauce and was truly a good tasting deer dish. All in all, I’ll be back If I need to impress someone with a nice restaurant and don’t want to take any chances on the food. It must be said, that the food is expensive – details see bill:
Just across the Bahnhof Enge is a small place called Cocktail Bar. At least a name where one cannot make any wrong assumptions. I’m guessing the owner, a very bond lady, is russian and as such the place offers a couple of typical russian dishes, which I came to sample. Hot food is only available during lunch and after 19:00, so I met up with a friend in this place on a monday. It seemed rather empty, but it allowed us to drink at one table and dine at the next. I had a borscht and the plate of the Czar. What strikes me a bit strange that they also offer swiss specialities such as sausage cheese salad on their menu. The borscht was filled with a nice big helping of sour cream. All in all I found the borscht lacking taste and I didn’t like the way the sour cream shed. I felt that this borscht would not warm me up on guard’s duty of a nuclear testing facility in middle of the russian winter. The Czar’s plate was a mixture of Pelemi and Wareniki, essentially two types of dumplings. They were okay, but nothing to get all excited about. I thought they could do with more salt and some more excitement in the filling. I will try russian cuisine again, but in the cocktail bar I’ll stick to Wodka. Even though we only had beers this time:
Finally, a new and good looking bar in Zurich. Walking into the Volkshaus, with its high ceiling and spacious bar area, will give you the impression that you’re entering sort of a lobby of a days-gone-by grand hotel, if it weren’t for the horrible pipes with cheap lights on the ceiling. The other drawback is, that the bar doesn’t have enough seating capability. In the restaurant I got a table for one right away and was seated in a booth like corner. I opted for the duck terrine and ordered salsice with a mediterranean potato salad. The duck terine was acommpanied by 2 stalks of chive an incredible iffy and stupid thing to me. The terrine was okay, I thought that the consistency of it was too chunky, and it was almost a meal on its own. The disappointmend was the salsice dish. The sausage was quite nice, even though I prefer a sausage with more cohesion and salsice’s tend to be a bit mushy. The real disgrace was the mediterranean potato salad. It was a normal, mayonaise drenched potato salad, sprinkled with some green stuff and a twig of cherry tomatoes. That’s like telling me that Brigitte Nielsen is a hot young chick after her complete surgical makeover, I’m not buying it. The whole concotion was accompanied by a brown sauce, whose taste I couldn’t identify. I asked the waiter, he didn’t know either and just told me he believes it was brown gravy. Normally I’d expect him to check back instead of just telling me something. Anyway, nice vibrant place, food so-so, prices decent:
Being the good citizen that I am, I decided to visit the COMM 08 a military display of communications support and integrated leadership capabilities of the FU BR 41. All this was decorated by assorted tanks, artillery pieces and a whole lot of other fantasic devices. It was great fun looking at all the cool gizmos and seeing the rapid transition from wired switchboards to high-tech quanto crypto communication devices. Attendance was, very suprisingly, a bit low, so we had ample space in the large kitchen tent. The food didn’t look very good, but I chose a bratwurst with french fries and onion sauce. Surprisingly, the food tasted great. I can understand that if looking at the picture on the left, you find it hard to believe, but even the french fries were tasty. Not your 5 star meal, but a pretty decent two star one and at a price which makes sense for CHF 12.50. Unfortunately I’m unsure if a COMM 09 is planned, so this seems like a one time event. Just in case there ever is one, try to remember where you parked your car, as soon as you get out of it, not when you come back to the parking lot. The real highlight of the day, was the One Star General Siegenthaler which shook my hand and thanked me for “die gueti Büez”.
I was browsing for a place for dinner and the Zueri Tipp Gastro Charts had this
place Malanga on the top 10 list. It looks cooler on the web than it does in person. It’s an eatery for the people on the block, sort of your local neighborhood
place. Remember that’s the neighborhood south of the Buecheggplatz next to Rosengartenstrasse, not exactly a fantastic example of urban development.
The menu got me really exicted I was barely able to make a smart choice, since there were a couple of interesting dishes. I chose Blinis with goat cheese and vegetables as an appetizer. I was disappointed, because I expected much more. Especially the pesto was dreadful in taste and in color. The Blinis were okay, but they were stacked to a tower with the cheese in between, making it a much too heavy starter. I continued with a veal steak, which was accompanied by pasta and a whole tomato covered with pesto. At least they’re true to themself. If you make something yourself, no matter how bad it is, stick to it and feel good about yourself. Unfortunatley this isn’t some institution for the weak and feable minded, but a restaurant and I’m paying the bill. Part of the blame goes to me, I ordered the veal even though I knew it was baked over with cheese, only when I ate it, did I realize how stupid an idea that is. We skipped dessert, I’d seen enough of this place. All in all, a huge disappointment after the mouth watering menu leading to dreadfully executed food and even if the food were decent, I thought the place to be too expensive for the type of venue:
So it’s Saturday and it’s raining what better thing to do than grab a nice breakfast at noon time. I’ve meant to go to the Berner Da Noi a couple of times, but unfortunately they are closed on Sundays. It’s sort of a weird mix between a trendy and a family place. Not so trendy and a bit more on the family side, since they have a no smoking policy. Anway the name is rumantsch for Chez Nous, my first impression was that it was a fancy Vietnamese place, but I was wrong. They make a great breakfast. I opted for toasted Zopf (the traditional soft bread served on Sundays in Switzerland) with ham and 2 fried eggs sunny side up on top. Toasting Zopf was a novelty for me and I loved it. There’s not much you can screw up with bread, ham and eggs and they didn’t. The truly amazing part was the Zopf, which is supplied from the bakery Berner just two houses down the road. Excellent place for grabbing breakfast, the only thing I don’t get is, why someone would have a bar in a non-smoking establishment, a short look around the place showed, that I wasn’t the only one not grasping the concept. Still probably a very good place if you have children. Even big one’s since the Ovomaltine is excellent. Financials:
It’s a man’s world, is what Andre Rieu used to play on his fiddle. And if you’re looking for a real place to go, check out the Eisenhof just off Langstrasse in Zurich’s Kreis 5. Opposite of the dreadful Maison Blunt (which would be a lovely place, if it weren’t full of Germans trying to steal your newspaper on sunday mornings) is a real place for men. The lovely waitress is showing way to much cleavage for men in a comitted relationship, but then again, I’m only here for the food. The place is famous for meat on a hot rock, the choice being filet of beef or horse. I opted for the horse with a mixed salad in advance. The salad was very raw, it tasted of cut up vegetables and that was it. No love in the sauce or in making the salad. The real killer was the horse fillet on the hot rock. It was fun and animalistic, to be cutting the meat and watching it sear and sizzle. What a great thing to do! The meat was tender, juicy and nicely flavoured. Three sauces were served with the meat, they were actually superflous, since the meat didn’t need them. The french fries have to be mentioned as well. They were perfect – crunchy, potatoey, fresh and soft in the center, someone really puts a lot of effort into them and this with good reason. Two thumbs up, take your mates for a great meal. Fillet of horse 31.50 CHF, Fillet of beef 31.50 CHF, large beer 5.50 CHF:
Rico Zöbeli “Food Designer” is mentioned on the business card dropped of with the bill. I asked what the gentleman’s profession was, since a food designer could also be coming up with a savory Pork McNuggets creation, but I was reassured that he is one of the cooks at the Zurlinden restaurant. Zurlinden dubbs itself with the slogan “ecological pleasure”. Most of the items on the menu are in compliance with the Gout Mieux Label. Opening the menu I found this to be exactly the type of restaurant I like. The menu is changed every month, there are 5 apps, 7 mains and 4 desserts. Which is a reassuring contrast to all the places trying to offer 135 dishes at she same time. Most of the wines are bio-dynamic, I think that means that drinking them after sundown gives you a better buzz. Anyway they had Gruener Veltliner, which is my current favorite wine. I chose the mussels (moules) with white wine and onions as a starter. They weren’t the best I’ve ever had but they were good. I wouldn’t have minded some carrots in the broth, but that’s a small detail. I liked the big and large selection of breads which were offered, that’s the way to go, not something cut up and kept in a plastic wrapper. The service was a bit slow, they’ve only got 26 places but pampering them all at the same time can be stressful. The female chef de service was very competent, the waiter very young. He probably is attending Hotel Management school and has been sent off for a traineeship. He’s nice but much too friendly “Thank you so much for being at our restaurant tonight, it was my true, honest and unforgettable pleasure of serving you, do have a wonderful and totally enjoyable evening” – you get the idea. I chose lamb gigot roast with forest mushrooms and homemade spaetzle. It was delicious, the spaetzle were made with baerlauch, the sauce was rich and full of lovely mushrooms and porcini – a true winner, after I let the sauce thicken a couple of minutes on the serving rechaud on my table. For dessert I had a chocolate mousse, okay – but my mom does a better one. All in all a great place, a bit noisy, but food is excellent and of high, non fussy quality, what a surprise that this all cooked up by a Food Designer. One gripe, they should allow smoking after 10pm during coffee and drinks. Monetary Details:
We grabbed lunch at a place with white tablecloths, the Mezzo Ristorante Pizzeria in one of the blandest parts of Zurich, called Binz. Having lunch outside of Mezzo however is great, you can watch the railroad crossing gates open and close as the Uetliberg bahn drives by. Funny thing was, that by chance the train broke down for a couple of minutes and watching the agitated drivers in the car was fun.
There are three lunch menus (vegetarian, meat and special) but I opted to choose something from the menu. There’s a section called Pasta fatte in casa, which I guess means “Fat Pasta in da house” and is the battle cry of urban italian hip hopper. I opted for Gnocchi alla sorentina, which is Gnocchi with a tomato sauce and cream. The dish looked okay and tasted the same. I’m sure that my dining colleague from Riviera would get it done the same way. The cheese on top of it was nice, I’m not totally convinced that those Gnocchis were homemade and the sauce was normal. Nothing to complain but it didn’t keep me from watching the Uetlibergbahn, no excitement. Maybe I should have tried a pizza – since Radio 24 says they have some of the best in town, but then again why should I trust a hyperactive disc jockey playing Tokio Hotel in the middle of the afternoon.