The Löwen in Meilen has a restaurant and a more informal bar and dining area. An important meeting led me here and before it started I grabbed a bite to eat. The Tortilla Chips were rather dull and of the standard out of the bag type. The best value for money deal here, are the Albondigas, the meatballs with tomatos sauce. The sauce could be better but for less than 10 CHF you also get some mediocre bread which is quite filling. While this might not qualify as the perfect meal, as a 5 minute substitute before the general assembly of the local football club it is okay. The other nice touch is that on Fridays there’s a free buffet to go with your TGIF drinks.
Hot Pasta on Universitätsstrasse is a really low key place. You grab your drinks out of a fridge and order your food at the bar, before getting a table. Perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat. I opted for the short pasta with meat (Pasta kurz con carne) and after about 10 minutes it was dropped off at my table. Pasta was cooked nicely but the sauce was lacking excitement. I’m pretty sure the students around University and ETH won’t notice or mind, this is probably going to be the hotspot for dinner. Prices are low and make this a decent alternative to a typical fast food joint:
Restaurant Cult is one of the strangest place I’ve been in a long time. The owner is a tad hyperactive and I’m pretty sure he’d try to grab your balls in an all male sauna. The decor of the place is ecclectic to say the least. Only two tables were booked, so I’m not sure how well the place is doing. The amuse bouche was a tomato with herbs over some olive oil, nice. The starter however didn’t deliver on the promise. The ceviche over mango was badly executed and didn’t connect on the flavours. It was lacking sublety and tasted like some random components thrown on top of each other. Main course was really nice, a beef filet with homemade pasta. High quality food done right, this was nice. Ordering the digestif menu we just get served two full glasses, the place doesn’t have a selection, the owner tells us. Never had swedish pear brandy before, tasted okay. The young man being the waiter is a bit easily intimitated but he’s doing his best. On the other hand, the aggressive cheerfullness of the owner is just too much, but I’m assuming that some people like this. On a side note, check out the reviews on the tagesanzeiger web site. They’re obviously doctored, since a place like this on Quellenstrasse would never gain this much traction, and the writing styles of each of the comments are very similar. Place is a bit higher in price, but the quality of food is good. The cook seems to know what he’s doing, not sure about the owner though. It is worth mentioning that the garden area looks nice and during summer this could be a neat place for al fresco dining.
Picasso is near Langstrasse and is poised as yet another Spanish place. Only two tables were occupied this night, making the place a bit empty. Why both parties were seated just directly behing each other didn’t really make much sense to me. Again I ordered a sepia, it had a nice tang but the one at Metzg I liked better. My main course was lamb rack with spanish potatoes. I really have a soft spot for these spanish potatoes and these ones again had the same effect, nice crisp, nice spicyness – just one of the best side dishes I know. The lamb was cooked the way I expected it to be, the nicest thing is that 34.50 CHF is quite a decent price for a spanish place in Zurich. I’ll definitely be back here. Details for two with wine:
I went to the Lade about two years ago. The owner welcomed us, offered a drink and apologized that his cook got sick. Since he didn’t have my phone number, he couldn’t call us and he can’t serve any food tonight. Roughly two years later I finally got the chance go back. I started off with the fennel salad, not really my thing. Main course was poultry with a beet tower. Now even tought he beet tower taste nice, it was a bit difficult to eat, but that’s no wonder since it was prepared by a cook and not by a structural engineer. Asides from the difficulties in tower building, the poultry dish was a nice one.
Called a friend up for lunch and he suggested the Pizzeria Azzuri near Farbhof. This can be a bit tricky because on Badenerstrasse there is also the Pizzeria Zuri, and if you don’t listen correctly you can get the two mixed up very easily. After some driving around I made it to the correct venue. The story is quickly told, 22 CHF for a lunch menu with a salad (lamb’s lettuce) and a pizza. Quite surprisingly the pizza is really good. I’m not sure what type of oven is actually used, but the crust still has that light crunchiness while remaining to be thin. Good value for money for a quick lunch, just skip the espresso it’s nothing to write home about
Continuing our series of Saturday lunch outings, we headed to Andre Jaeger’s Fischerzunft. It actually has a very nice dining room, comfy and classic, an air of grandeur and a bit of Grand Hotel charm can be felt. Something which always startles me if they serve you an amuse bouche before handing you the menu. Ever since I’ve ran into a scam in younger years in a tourist trap, I go into full battle mode, the same way you would do in sleazy strip joints in Eastern Europe if suddenly a bottle of champagne appears on the table. The maitre de reassured me that we will get a proper menu after our amuse bouche and I was able to relax. Gluttony is my favourite sin and I attempt to commit it on a very regular basis. We opted for the menu and added another dish, some Langoustines with fried vermicelli. Look at the pictures and compare it to Didier de Courten. Mr. Jaeger’s artistic line is much less strict, more flowery and elaborate but beautiful and special, just look at the pictures. On the second amuse bouche a truly perfect green asparagus and a piece of salmon were served. Never have I eaten such a perfectly cooked and slightly sweet asparagus. This simple piece of greenery showed perfectly what can be achieved if you buy absolute top quality food and prepare it expertly (taking into account about 25 steps instead of 3 as you would at home). You’ll find yourself balking at anything else you get in normal restaurants if you oversaturate yourself with Michelin star places… The most interesting dish was the duo of lobster served in two glasses. One was upside down filled with black tea smoke around a lobster navarin, really displeasing, the flavours were off and the smoke a joke at best but it certainly didn’t add to the experience. On the other hand the lobster cocktail was perfect. A combination of lobster tiered with an advanced adaption of a cocktail sauce and a biscuit like layer inbetween. You got the creamy- and crunchyness as well as the distinct lobster taste and texture. I’m not sure if this is the Ying and Yang concept of having a screwed up and a faboulous bit of food on the same plate. The dish which made me chuckle was the intepretation of roesti and eggs with some Vacherin cheese. Quite frankly, Mr. Jaeger’s roesti is nice but it isn’t stellar. Such a comfort food must be done in larger portions, I’m here to try the sea urchin sauce and necessarily the roesti. He took a risk on that dish and it only played out partly. The funniest thing were the other guests in the place, a gay couple around 50, celebrating the birthday of one of the gentlemen. It became quite clearly who was the wife and who was the husband in this group. The elder of the two kept ordering for both of them. It’s very strange if a 50 year old grown man states that Mr. So-and-so will be having this and that as if Mr. So-and-so was an 8 year old boy…
Moving over to the salon, where smoking is allowed, there is a huge cognac bottle held in some kind of tipping contraption to pour for guests. Only Mr. Jaeger is allowed to operate this machinery and the price for a glass is rather steep with 36 CHF. Speaking of prices, even if you only stick to tap water the hit is rather steep, and I once again let censorship prevail:
The Metzg on Seefeldstrasse is a type of Beiz which offers Swiss and Spanish dishes. A small amuse bouche of thin chorizo and olives is served as a nice touch for something to eat while looking at the menu. I opted for the sepia and was very surprised. It was perfect, nicely flavoured with herbs and garlic and perfectly cook, absolutley no trace of rubber, I really didn’t expect this. My mains was a Cordon bleu with roesti. I really like the crust around it, because it was light in color and was very thin. The filling was classic with no surprises for the good or the bad. Decent neighborhood joint, next time I’ll get a spanish main dish. Prices for two
The Hallwylerhof is obviously located on the Hallwylerplatz. I’m liking the table cloths, with their white on white they remind me of something you’d find in any swiss household. The amuse bouche are a couple of pieces of light pastry, cheap and efficient not really my type of a good idea. My german colleague enthusiastically goes for the meat and cheese platter and forces me into taking a picture. No matter what, these always taste better after a hike and in the mountains than in downtown Zurich, but I guess this is a real winner with tourists. The mixed salad was okay, the big piece of dandelion was too large to eat, it needed intricate knife work to dissect. I kind of liked the sauce, since it played to my child memories of a classical french salad sauce, but I couldn’t make up my mind if it was homemade or not. The Saibling wasn’t that exciting, the veggies on top were mushy and the presentation reminded me of cooking classes in school. The tin foil screamed Betty Bossy recipe all over. The place is okay to grab a quick bite to eat, they’re fair on the prices. Dinner for two with wine:
Schluessel on Seefeldstrasse has a very nice website, which made me curious to checkout the place. Crisis, recession, TARP programs and all, we must all make an effort to stabilize private consumption. Since I only got a corner table for a thursday night even though I made the reservation on a tuesday, I can confirm that Zurich locals are doing their part. The menu has a couple of interesting things and a nice selection of changing specials. Quite friendly it reminds of a little lower key version of Stef’s Zentraleck. I had a nice risotto with Moenchsbart, it was okay. The next dish was better. Roasted calf cheeks with bacon and mashed potatoes. Honest, simple dish, yet poaching cheeks takes a lot of time. I’m a big fan of places which server offal products. I personally like more butter in the mashed potatoes, but assumed that this was a concession to some of the diet crazy female clientele. Dessert was a simple sorbet citron with wodka, a real manly thing, since flambeed dessert lose the alcohol and this one doesn’t. Three of us incl. a bottle of wine, aperitif and water: