The old Rebluus, which was run by Felix, has turned from a dark watering hole in a not so dark restaurant, called Don Carlos Asador. It dubs itself as an argentinan grill, since I’ve come off a year long path of wrongdoing and living vegan, this seems to be the place to end my suffering and ill-guided journey through this world. The whole restaurant has a bit of a weird layout, since the bar area is still intact, with a dining room added at the back. Looking at the menu, it becomes obvious that Dieter Meier and his Ojo de Agua meat and wine seem to be omnipresent in Zurich’s dining scene. The onion soup, has a nice level of sweetness and makes for a decent starter. My main course was an entrecote (nicely cut) and a bit stronger in texture (typical for meat from Argentina) than european beef. Really nice is the Chimichurri – argentinian “vinaigrette” served with the meat. The sweet potato is sweet…. but doesn’t go that well with the meat. Prices are okay.
Bergrestaurant Wali is located on the slopes of the Vella – Obersaxen Ski Area. After a morning of skiing like the young Bernhard Russi, with my dazzling style and impressive technique, hunger makes an appearance. There are a couple of places to have lunch, but Wali is simply the best choice. There are two dining rooms (self-service and one with waitstaff) and a large terrace on the outside. The idea of balancing a tray of food and drinks while wearing ski shoes fills me with great fear and paralyzing anxiety, therefore I’m always forced to commandeer a table in the restaurant section. It’s crowded and either you arrive early or time your entry perfectly. The food is pretty decent, nothing spectacular but you’ll always get a good quality meal. But the real killer is, the set three course menu sets you back CHF 19.50. That’s extremly cheap for a decent meal in the middle of a ski slope!
The Hotel Central in Obersaxen is one of the classier places around Illanz. They started us off with an amouse bouche of salmon mousse. It was okay, but why wasn’t something local served to us? Maybe a bit of ligonga nera on a piece of paun casa. (To show off my impressive humanistic education, that’s rumantsch for black sausage on farmer’s bread). I could be mistaken on the Salmon though, and it is already travelling up the Rhine all the way to Illanz. I continued with some sweetbreads on polenta. Slightly fried in some light batter and served on a creamy polenta, this was a nice mix of traditional food with a newer interpretation. The cordon-bleu I had as my main course was okay. Only downside was that the cook must have been in love, since there was way too much salt on the meat and on the french fries. Okay place, okay food, decent if you’re there anyway.
Zum Roten Kamel makes a very nice impression. I liked the web site, liked the reviews and was anxious to drop by for a meal. Interior and service met my expectations. A small amouse bouche was served, a fresh goat cheese with honey. I though this to be a strang amouse bouche, since goat cheese is not the most liked ingredient by most people. Looking at the menu, I found the same thing under the dessert section. I’m assuming something in the kitchen walk-in fridge was reaching it’s due date… I ordered a Ochsenmaulsalat and actualy had nothing to complain, except that it wasn’t very exciting. I would have enjoyed a bit more pizzazz. I was really curious on the staple dish, a Zuercher Geschnetzeltes including veal, veal kidney and veal liver served with roeschti. What a disappointment It was for 45 CHF (including the cheaper veal offal meat). The serving of meat was small, the sauce was rather boring (lacking creaminess, kick and mushrooms) and the roeschti was just plain bad. The inside of the roeschti wasn’t cooked enough, the potato strips had the texture and flavor of raw potatoes. The roeschti looked nice and crispy but it was just a superficial crispiness. A restaurant which places itself as a younger interpretation with traditional cuisine, must ensure that they get their food right, which isn’t the case here.
Prices for four:
Restaurant Madrid at the Froschaugasse in Niederdorf, is one of those places where you’ll walk by and never really feel drawn to go for a meal there. Luck had it, that a colleague of mine setup a lunch meeting at the Madrid. The restaurant has a classic, traditional feel to it, certainly a safe bet with men over 40. I started with some veal ravioli in a butter foam sauce. Now I’ve ranted at the same dish I had in the Schoenau, but at least here you could see the ravioli and it was presented in a clean and stylish fashion. Taste was subtle, just the way it should be. I ordered the FILETE ESPECIAL “MADRID” as my main course. Now after looking at the picture I can understand if you feel a bit hesitant and agree that the colors are not exactly playful… Still I liked the creaminess of the sauce and the olives, it was a decent piece of meat. What I’m still dreaming about are the potatoes which were served with the meat. I know the germans are really proud of their Bratkartoffeln, but the spanish ones are just so much better. Crispy discs of potatoes and a touch of spiciness, I’m actually thinking of going vegeterian all the way the next time I’m here. Dessert was a classic Creme Catalan, for some reason I feel that the Creme Catalan is perfect if it needs at least a medium amount of spoon whipping to break the caramelised sugar sealing on the top. It passed my elaborate screening process. On the downside I did feel like an American honeymooner on his first trip to Europe when the bill arrived. We ordered a digestif to go with our espresso and the waiter took advantage of our good mood and told us he had a good brandy. We didn’t asked how much this was going to set us back and found out that it cost whopping 22 CHF! And not it wasn’t 3 times better than a decent Williams. The place has nice food but even if you deduct the alcoholic beverages, it is expensive:
Widnau – where the hell is Widnau ? The local tourist bureau advertised that inoccent and wild local females would roam the countryside. Naturally, this didn’t interest me one bit, my focus was on the austrian-swiss relations while visiting this place in Switzerland’s Far East. The Habsburg Bar seems to be the place to be in Widnau. We were interested in a quick bite and inspected the bar menu. This is where things got strange. The menu offers a large selection of souls. Wondering what a soul is ? So was I, it’s nothing else than a baguette bread filled with some topippings, I’m not sure how this was supposed to be different from a sandwich. I’m assuming that in a place where the only entertainment is the Widnau Gators, a restauranteur can get away with ideas like this. The “soul” I ordered was a mexican soul, which had some spicy sauce, some chicken, some tomatoes and salad in it. It was okay, nothing spectacular. The place has a decent vibe, but could do with a better food idea than the “soul” one. How about a Widnau Cheessteak ? Nice handwritten bill:
Males need high levels of protein to keep their astonishing and rock hard physique working at peak performance. Oatmeal, fruits and some low fat yoghurt are not my idea of the perfect way to start the day. Eggs Benedict seemed like a much better idea for the breakfast of a champion. Slowly roast some slices of toast bread in the oven or toaster. Start making a Sauce Bernaise and do not wipe the pan which you’ve used to clarify the butter. While poaching the eggs, reuse this pan to sear the tournedos, let them rest until you are ready to assemble your breakfast. On a slice of toast, put a single tournedo and sprinkle it with fleur de sel. Lay a poached egg on top and pour sauce bernaise over the whole stack. Sprinkle with some chives, serve with spices as you see fit.
Did you ever wonder what a food writer eats for breakfast? Here’s your answer:
Near the Paradeplatz Zum Kropf caters to the lover of classic french and swiss food. I like the dining hall in the middle which has a very unique and traditional mural on the ceiling. Kropf is a bit more upscale than the Zeughauskeller and there’s less Japanese tourists scurrying around. The classic menu appeals to my taste and I settle for a Matjes herring on a salad bed to start off my lunch. I liked the saltiness of the herring, which was very nicely counterbalanced by the sweetness and the acidity of the apple slices. Since I like offal meats, I chose flambéed kidneys with roeschti. Now the kidneys were the way they should have tasted and the roeschti was okay at best (A cardinal sin for a classic swiss place). The best component of this dish was actually the sauce. Kropf is an institution, in a prime location, surrounded by offices with high-paying jobs and it’s a popular business lunch spot. This of course all figures into the a bit higher than moderate prices for lunch:
I was watching Bauer, Ledig, sucht… and they kept referring to the Hotel hofweissbad. So when Kathi Fässler was announced female chef of the year 2009 by the Gault Millau I decided to spend my Saturday on an outing to Weissbad. The restaurant is split into three rooms and we land in the newest and most avantgarde of the three. Typical crowd seems to be the type retired couple which takes the geriatric mother-in-law to lunch. None of the natural beauties from “Bauer, Ledig, sucht…” can be found here. The menu is a tad surprising for a classic Gault Millau, quiet a lot of rather traditional classic and not the usual (pseudo-)sophistication. My starter is a pigeon breast on a red cabbage risotto. What a course! Succulent, perfect pigeon on a true and exciting revelation. The red cabbage risotto is lovely idea and Ms Faessler’s brigade pulls it off very nicely. My main course is a lamb filet with vegetables and an Appenzeller Capuns. To be honest, I chose this dish, because I wanted to see what the Capuns was about. No complaints on lamb or vegetables at this level of cooking, the capuns was a nice try but it didn’t reach the level of excellency a classic Capuns from Graubünden. Normally I’m not to keen on dessert but one of the old geezers at the next table had an interesting dish, so I ordered a Duo of Creme brulee with a cassis soup. The cassis soup was too acid and not quite to my liking, the creme brulee were okay. Looking at the place I’m just not convinced that 16 points in the Gault Millau is adequate. For me personally the place is rated a bit high with 16, even though the food is very good. I can understand that Ms Faessler was chosen female chef of the year, but I’m also led to believe there aren’t that many female chefs in Switzerland.
Pricewise it is excellent – 220 CHF for lunch for two including a bottle of wine for a 16 point Gault Millau restaurant is almost cheap: