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Kings Kurry (South India), Birmensdorferstrasse, Zurich

Pokora

Pokora

Thali

Thali

King’s Kurry South India is a place on Birmensdorferstrasse, between Schmiede Wiedikon and Goldbrunnenplatz. The main King’s Kurry is just across from Bahnhof Wiedikon and apparently they’ve decided to expand. With the influx of Indian IT guys and British expats in Zurich Indian places are becoming more popular. King’s Kurry is one of the best. So I thought it was fun to try out this new South Indian variant. Place was a bit empty, but that is probably due to the fact that I was there before the official opening party. In general I’m very picky about Indian and not too keen on all the flavors. I started with a Pokora, a lovely fritter – better than Spice Gourmet – which was served with two sauces. To get a good overview of the food I followed up with a non-vegetarian Thali platter. Essentially this is rice, bread, papadam and six bowls of sauce, vegetables and meat. The chicken and the carrots were lovely, the rest okay – just not really matching what I like. They have a wine selection and the waiter was trying hard to sell us a bottle, we preferred the Indian beer brewed in conjunction with a Swiss brewery. High quality Indian food at ok prices, I guessing they’ll have a working cash register by now:

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Rössli Erlenbach (Casa Manuel), Seestrasse, Erlenbach

Kalbsschnitzel mit Zitronensauce

Kalbsschnitzel mit Zitronensauce

In Erlenbach on the Seestrasse there’s the Casa Manuel or Rössli Erlenbach as it used to be called. Some places you walk into and you right away feel you’ve made a mistake. Shyness and the fear of appearing uncourteous prevented me from turning around, so I smile and ask to eat something. The place is a dump. A bunch of locals crowd around the round table and I go about reading the menu. I chose a veal cutlet with lemon sauce and tagliatelle. Now lemon sauce and veal scallops should create for an interesting balance between the sour and creamy sauce components and the light veal. But if the sauce is so sour that your brain cringes, the subtlety of the flavors tend to vanish. Just looking at the menu, the place does everything, pasta, pizza, spanish dishes and some swiss stuff as well. Some concentration on his strengths would do this place really good. I won’t be back. Finances:

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Caduff’s Wineloft, Kanzleistrasse, Zurich

Linsen mit Entenbrust

Linsen mit Entenbrust


Getrüffelte Rehterinne

Getrüffelte Rehterinne


Ravioli mit Wildessenz

Ravioli mit Wildessenz


Capuns

Capuns


Moorhuhn mit Steinpilzrisotto

Moorhuhn mit Steinpilzrisotto


Rehrücken mit klassischen Wildbeilagen

Rehrücken mit klassischen Wildbeilagen

Caduff has a sort of a pre-subprime crisis feel to it. The large bar area, the high walls and the name wineloft all sort of imply Yuppie place. But like good looking women in certain baltic cities, looks can be deceiving. Currently Caduff is doing their yearly game special and that gave me the final push to actually drop by. The menu consists of two pages, one with food items and the other page explaining the high prices. For the unsuspecting diner this might be a necessity, Caduff simply isn’t cheap. But if you’ve ever bought an original 5 dollar Polo shirt in Vietnam and wondered why it fell apart in the washing machine you understand. We opted for the 5 course tasting menu. Since I also saw Capuns on the menu, which is a pivotal dish for south-east swiss cuisine (Graubünden), being the frugal diner I am, we turned our 5 course into a 6 course dinner. Amuse-bouche was a simple lentil-salad accompanied by a confit tomato and a piece of duck breast. Nothing special here, except a lovely tomato. It was a nice sweet and sour combination and a great start into the meal. The highlight of the meal was the doe terrine which came next. It was truffled, topped with a port gelee and accompanied by shallots, a fig and an apple. Except for the fig, which was bleak compared to the other components, the terrine was hands-down the best I’ve ever had. Truffle is superbly dominant but it was well balanced by the terrine. Supreme satisfaction, pure bliss was the feeling of eating this dish and it was fun to see how the flavors melted and interacted by adding pieces of the surrounding shallots and fruits. A Ravioli was served in a game essence with some brunoise vegetables. The essence was made from red wine, which was interesting to experience since such a light broth having such a strong taste. The capuns which followed were good, especially the dough was silkier than your rustic variant and the bacon was of very high quality. But compared to capuns my mother makes they weren’t that much better to justify the price of 26 CHF for two pieces. I wasn’t too fond of the grouse (Moorhuhn) which was accompanied by porcini risotto. Grouse is extremly gamy in taste and reminds me more of an acquired taste. The porcini in the risotto were good, but I’ll stay away from grouse in the future. The doe back (Rehrücken) with spatzle and rotkraut with a creamy sauce again showed the very high quality of ingredients and handiwork Caduff offers. Especially the marron (marroni) riding on the rotkraut was perfect, still a bit juicy and a caramelized coating around it, a refreshing change from the usual dry fare you get elsewhere. We closed it off with some cheese, coffee, spirits and cigarettes. We felt great after the meal. What really needs to be singled out is the quality of the service. Most places are friendly and will fill up your glasses at the right time, the waiter we had here also knew everything about the food he served and was able to answer all the obscure questions we directed at him. I really like this place, it’s fun going down to Mr. Caduff’s wine cellar to have him recommend a bottle of wine and having him show you the other room where he has an air rifle target range. Unlike the other big southeast swiss cook in Zurich (named Jacky…… ), Caduff can be recommended highly for the quality of the food and the ambiance. Bill

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Tifo, Bahnhof Enge, Zürich

Tajine mit Aubergeinensauce

Tajine mit Auberginsauce


Tifo is a maroccan place near the Bahnhof Enge. It looks like what I’d expect from a maroccan place, it’s a bit shady, a bit kitschy and you can smoke shishas. Now Shisha smokers tend to be people who don’t want to smoke but still want to be cool so they curb their satisfaction with a shisha. I tend to sit out on the fun. The menu is very small and I chose a Tajine mit Auberginensauce. Apparently the Tajine is the bowl which the food gets served in. It was lamb sausages, which tasted rustic, of rosmary herbs and were nicely caramelized. The sauce was bland, lacking Aubergine flavor and wasn’t spicy or interesting at all. The rice in the middle of the bowl should have been delivered to the garbage right away. It was mushy and overcooked. If a place can’t cook rice, that is rather an alarming sign. Still on a high note the mint tea was excellent. A strong fragrance, sweet and not bitter, served in a pot for two. I wasn’t too convinced of this place though, I think it’s more for elderly women who are looking for some excitement in their life but think flying to Marocco will damage their hair. Lunch was roughly 28 CHF.

Restaurant Triibhuus, Altstetten, Zürich

Brunch

Brunch

Brunch

Brunch

I should have known and I should have stayed away from the Triibhuus. In the middle of nowhere, on the outskirts of Zurich is this gem of event dining. I had reserved a table for two for sunday brunch a couple of days in advance, because I got suckered into believing eating among plants in a greenhouse is a great idea. We showed up at the entrance and stood by a sign asking us to wait until we were seated. A couple of minutes no one seemed interested in us and more guests started to show up behind us. Being the unfearing man of action that I am, I set out to hunt down a waiter and found one, who told me the manager would be right with us. Finally someone shows up and walks towards us. After me smiling at him friendly and telling him how grateful I was that he’d found some time for us, he just look at me with big eyes, started to act surprised and asked if we had been waiting for a long time…. Idiot. Seated at a table we waited again for someone to show up and explain us the deal. Some waving finally did the trick. He explained us that it’s a buffet affair and that he’d bring us some drinks. We ordered a coffee and an espresso, I was informed that an espresso is charged extra. No idea why, but it all fits into the picture. We headed to the buffet and it was a joke. Big and lots of stuff but nothing exciting. Bread, croissant, jam, meat, eggs, taboule, mussels (…), fruit virtually everything was available, but Zopf was missing. The biggest joke was the guy making fried eggs sunny side up. I’m guessing he’s an auto mechanic by training. The only cooking he’s used to doing, is the one where he sits at the table while his mother stirs in the pan. Greasy, undercooked, sloppy eggs and he wasn’t even able to handle two pans at once. Where I got really suspicious, was when the guy started opening oysters and tricking fat and unwieldly buffet brunchers into eating them. After seeing the mussels on display, which screamed dubious leftovers reused, I decided to pass on the oysters. Fresh high quality seafood in a landlocked country on a 45 CHF all you can eat buffet is not possible. To top it all off, the 4 CHF espresso was absolutly disgusting. This is a horrible place – a not so well oiled machine to get my money without delivering any value. I was suprised to see how full it was, even though it qualifies as a total rip-off. This is the first time in a long time – where I paid with exact change:

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stef’s Restaurant, Rössligasse, Zürich

Waldpilz Cappucino mit Steinpilz Crostini

Waldpilz Cappucino mit Steinpilz Crostini

Kalbs-Tartar Piemonteser Art mit Sommertrüffel

Kalbs-Tartar Piemonteser Art mit Sommertrüffel

Wildschweinrücken mit Herbstgemüse

Wildschweinrücken mit Herbstgemüse

Stef’s is a small restaurant which is only open in the evening, with room for about 25 diners. It’s well tucked away on the first floor of the Hotel Rössli. One guy is in the kitchen and his colleague is running the show in the dining room. The menu is short and changes every two weeks something really to my liking. We were greeted and showed to our table. Running roughly 20-25 diners on your own takes skill and experience and a couple of sturdy and swift legs. The waiter was literally running to and from the kitchen. He did ensure that we have a glass of wine to study the menu. I had issues in deciding but the menu structure helped me. You are billed per course – the first one being 45 CHF every additional one roughly 15 CHF. I started with a mushroom cappucino and a porcini crostini. The cappucino is a mushroom soup with some foam on top, hence its name. Nice taste of mushrooms and an exciting contrast of different textures made this a nice appetizer. I continued with the veal tartare and summer truffles. I didn’t care too much for it, the tastes were too subtle and too bland. In hindsight the idea of using such a fine and smooth meat for tartare doesn’t strike me as a good one. The big disappointment that went with the tartare was the bread. My dining partner guessed at Hiestand ready-bake 2000 from the gas station and she was probably right. Why not serve toast with? That’s just as easy to make and it would taste much better. I was looking forward to the main course, spaetzli, autumn veggies and a piece of wild boar. Wild boar sounds rustic, animalistic, manly – it just wakes the necessary associations which a good piece of meat should. You get the point that I was a bit excited when the plate arrived. The spaetzle were okay and the veggies were perfectly cooked. The meat was the killer. The boar meat is a dense, heavy and intense affair which was expertly matched by a rose hip (Hagebutten) sauce, which in turn made a pretty good marriage of flavours. Eating meat like this wakes an urge to father offspring in large numbers. We skipped dessert and had an espresso. The only real downside is that just one waiter is cutting it too close. There were a couple of times where we waited too long for our plates to get cleared. This will most likely improve, as apparently they are moving to the place where the Zentraleck is right now. Stef’s is a nice, chic and personal place with high quality food and above average prices:

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Restaurant Pergola, Pflanzschulstrasse, Zürich

Sepia Pergola

Sepia Pergola

Rindsfilet mit Gemüse

Rindsfilet mit Gemüse

Have you ever stood in front of the menu posted outside and wondered whether to go in or not? Certainly – but have you ever been approached by people sitting in the restaurant who got up to tell you that you really have to eat here because the food is great ? It so happened at the Pergola . It felt warm and welcoming when coming in and we were greeted in a friendly manner. The interior looks like a restaurant you’d see on Columbo, but it adds to the charme. I ordered Sepia Pergola (cuttlefish) which was served in a small pan, slighlty spicy with garlic and was a decent starter. I’d have preferred a bit more lemon juice and a bit more spice, but at least the Sepia was cooked right. What really got me drooling was my main course. The vegetables were nice – but not the center of my personal attention – it was the filet of beef I had ordered. It was served in a separate metal and very hot pan. Again I see my bypass operation coming closer because the amount of butter in which it was cooked was incredible and it tasted fantastic. Juicy and red in the center, in the sizzling butter – that’s the way to serve meat.
The guys from Peter Luger should take a lesson here and learn that there are other ways to prepare meat than just burning it. Pergola is a great neighborhood eatery, prices are not cheap – but decent for the food:

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Restaurant Erlibacherhof, Seestrasse, Erlenbach

Flammkuchen Forrestiere

Flammkuchen Forrestiere

Soccer practice – what else – led me to this place on the Seestrasse. It’s a hotel with a restaurant, which makes a rather functional impression. The dining room is divided into two sections, one with tablecloths for the diners and one with regular tables which caters to the drinkers. I was in a bit of a rush and wasn’t to thrilled that I was seated without being given a menu. A couple of minutes later the situation was rectified. I flipped through it and decided to go for a Tarte Flambee (Flammkuchen) Forrestiere, which means mushrooms, onion, chives, sour cream and bacon. It was freshly baked (anything else would be a major crime) but the ingredients were too fatty and heavy, it was a bit overloaded. Still the restaurant was surprisingly full and seems to be popular with the locals. Price was okay for a quick meal:

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Restaurant Sonne, Amden

Gemischter Salat

Gemischter Salat

Hirschpfeffer mit Spaetzli

Hirschpfeffer mit Spaetzli

What would one do in Amden ? You take 5 healthy men, one real picky gourmet, call it a class reunion and decide to hike to Amden. Due to a sinus infection with a severe bronchitis (used to be called a cold) I opted to take the Postauto and head to the Restaurant Sonne without the physical exercise. Amden is a strange town, strewn across the hillside but with a spectacular view of the Walensee. The place has a nice terrace and a wintergarden where you can directly look out the window while dining (non-smoking) the simpler other part of the restaurant caters to smokers and seems to be the place to hang out on Saturday Evenings. If you didn’t get lucky on “Bauer sucht Frau” – this might be your chance. I had a mixed salad – standard, run-of-the-mill-fare. My main course was a jugged venison (?) with Spaetzli. It was no so okay, probably imported from Austria and didn’t taste very exciting. If you’re in here for a regular meal you’ll do okay, just don’t expect anything fancy. When going back down to Ziegelbruecke after 20:00, beware that only a small post bus and not a large postauto is driving down. Luckily we were only 6 out of 24.
Prices were okay – the high total originated in the hard to break drinking habits which surface when talking about the good old times during a reunion:

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Sankt Meinrad, Stauffacherstrasse, Zurich

So I had dinner here on Saturday the 11th and on Monday the 13th it was announced that Sankt Meinrad has 15 Gault Millau points (plus one from 14) and is the hottest up and coming restaurant in Switzerland. Therefore I’m uploading the article out of turn and I still stand by my opinion:

Grissini mit Parmesanmeringue

Grissini mit Parmesanmeringue


Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche


Entenleberterrine mit frischen Mandeln, Mandelpüree und Centenario crudo

Entenleberterrine mit frischen Mandeln, Mandelpüree und Centenario crudo

Pochiertes freilandei mit Kürbisspätzli, Speckschaum und -stroh

Pochiertes freilandei mit Kürbisspätzli, Speckschaum und -stroh

Wildschweinrücken mit Kerala Pfeffer gebraten, Granatapfelsauce, Senfkohl und weisse Polentastange

Wildschweinrücken mit Kerala Pfeffer gebraten, Granatapfelsauce, Senfkohl und weisse Polentastange

I heard excellent things about this place Sankt Meinrad just next to the Greulich. Rumors were flying around that it’s about to get its first Michelin star and that a massive increase over the current 14 Gault Millau points was just around the corner. So naturally I was very excited to turn up on the doorstep and enter the restaurant. For dinner there are two options either the tasting menu with or without matching wines (your choice of 0.5 dl or 1 dl per course) or choosing of a selection of about a dozen of individual courses. My expectations got raised when I was told about the snack in front of us. Two Grissinis one with sepia and the other one with saffron were accompanied with parmeggiano meringues and a small sryinge filled with smoked oil. Drizzling the oil on the meringue gave it a really nice flavor and I was getting horny for more. But something also got me thinking. By matching the plates to the courses (eg. Grissini holes and meringue drops) on the pre-amuse-bouche, I wasn’t to sure what to expect next. The amuse-bouche was 100% overboard. A custom-made contraption with three dangling items, one a spoon over a shot glass of tomato foam with aubergine soup and two small plates dangling of thin chains. One was holding a metal toothpick with a crispy fish ball (salmon and something else) over a grape and sauerkraut, while the other one was a dried meat over a walnut mousse. Is your head spinning? Mine was – the amuse bouche was way to complex and I didn’t like the combinations. The aubergine soup was bland, the tomato foam was okay. The other two dishes didn’t connect – sauerkraut and fish ? Walnutpuree was just to desserty for the dried meat to do any good. But hey – I was thrilled playing with dangling plates.
Next was a duck liver terrine with toasted brioche, fresh almonds and almond puree. The duck liver was accompanied with Centenario Crudo which is a type of chocolate. The taste of the duck liver with the chocolate was excellent. The crunchy sugary taste of the chocolate matched the rich and fatty taste of the liver. I didn’t care for the almond stuff on the plate. The portion as a whole was too large, the terrine literally was a huge cone. Now I’m a big eater but I had to leave a part of it left over since it was just too much. In places like this I alway order two appetizers since I want to sample a broad range of dishes. The poached egg was served on pumpkin spaetzle with bacon foam and straw. The waitress asked me wether I’d liked the dish, I hesitated and had to say no. The spaetzle were oversalted and the bacon foam was plain ridiculous and out of place. Bacon straw and poached egg were okay. Moving on to my main I had the same type of wild boar I had at Stef’s a week earlier, this time it was cooked with Kerala pepper, served with rocket salad (senf kohl), pomegranate sauce and polenta rolls. I love boar but this one was simply overcooked. Pomegranate sauce is something I’m personally not too fond of and the rocket salad was again too salty. The real idiotic thing was the polenta roll which literally was a spring roll filled with some polenta. I only ate one of the two, since I didn’t care about its taste and thought it to be an incredible overfussy way of serving polenta. We skipped deserts and had a coffee, which was accompanied by an impressive plate of friandises – chocolate mousse, candied fruits on a toothpick, and two two types of chocolates. Seldomly have I been so upset and churned up after a meal as the one I had here. I was tossing in my bed and thinking through the whole evening I had there and I came to a simple conclusion. The team at Sankt Meinrad is trying too hard, their food is overcomplex and fussy, they seem to put more emphasis on trying to impress diners with frills instead of the food. The cook is coming up with overconceptual dishes instead of focusing on the food, which is lacking quality in execution. Getting a Guide Michelin star doesn’t mean 17 components on a plate and if you don’t believe it try something from a Gordon Ramsay restaurant (who was just awarded his 12th Michelin Star for his place called London in NY). Comparing the wild boar I had here to the one at Stef’s, Stef’s wins hands down, because it was simpler, more focused and better executed and in the end it was the much better dish. I don’t see this place getting close to a Michelin star. They seem to be putting in a tremendous amount of effort but parts of it in vain. The other thing which struck me strange, that with a friandise offering so large, whose actually going to order a dessert ? Prices are okay (upper range), but if they do get a star (which again would be a huge surprise to me) they’ll rise rapidly:

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