Hotel restaurants have a bad reputation, so the Luo which is part of the Sofitel (separate entrance) didn’t seem like a place of choice. The place was only sparsley filled during lunch, but a chirpy Mr. Luo, the owner welcomed me. After a lot of chit-chat I got a chance to look at the menu. Obviously a Szechuan influence is predominant here and an interesting selection of dishes was listed. Starting of with some pork dumplings, one must pay attention to eat these correctly. Bite off a corner, leat the steam escape, then nibble the rest slowly while ensuring that you taste the sauce inside the dumpling. Stuffing the complete dumpling in your mouth will scorch it, I had a blister and Mr. Luo came running with a napkin… A perfect tasting dish, the dumplings are fried on the bottom giving it a nice crunch at the end. Moving on to the next speciality, crunchy spicy beef. The szechuan influence cleary showed, this dish got fiery. The spiciness took away from the crunchiness of the beef and it wasn’t as good or as refined as the dumplings. But a rather refreshing dish and a nice contrast to all the Suan Long or similar places. Funny thing was that when I told Mr. Luo that I had a day off, he was under the impression I was out of a job and looked at me with a combination of disbelief and shame. It did clear up a bit later and the relief that I was going to pay my bill could clearly be seen on his face. Prices for my a la carte lunch were a bit over the top:
Going for a hike in the area of the Napf, the goal was Trub. Shortly before the Luederenalp one of the hiker’s boots literally disintegrated and he was down to wearing half a shoe one one foot and a sock on the other. Meindl credited this to a disintegrating part of the sole and that it was a known problem but that was difficult for amateurs to understand, no replacement or refund was offered…. Anyway it did lead us to find out about the nice terrace of the Restaurant Luederenalp. An Emmitalersalat with cheese from the Emmental and ham was okay. The garnish salads were bad and pure convenice food out of the bucket. Really disappointing was the Ovomaltine ice cream for dessert. It was lacking the typical taste and the dry crunchiness which goes with Ovomaltine. Prices were okay especially, the lesson here is to stay away from Meindl boots:
The next hot place ? There’s always a couple of them in larger cities. Suprisingly it has been relatively quiet about the Restaurant Real near the Stauffacher. Only a couple of whispers about a new spanish place were surfacing, but this obviously warranted a visit. Assisting in studying the menu was a bite of tortilla, scoring an okay on the chart. Really exciting was the appetizer a serving of pasta with seafood. Seldomly have I seen that much seafood on a plate for 20 CHF. As always with larger, whole crustaceans these dishes get messy, but nothing to complain in terms of flavor. Beef tenderloin a la maison was next accompanied with some spanish potatoes. A nice dish to go with a bottle of Aalto, simply perfectly executed. The downside as in most spanish places is that you always get charged separately for the side dishes. To sum it up a perfect meal, very nice service, unfortunatley it will become harder and harder to get a table here. Countering this effect are the prices:
The Rössli in Baar won’t make it into many renowned food critic publication (this one here being the exception). But after a hike it certainly seems like a good place to grab a small bite to eat. Even though the Wurst Käse Salat (sausage cheese salad) wasn’t on the Sunday menu, the waitress said that it would be no problem to make one. Wurst Käse Salat shouldn’t come with a whole lot of garnish. Cheese and sausage and nothing else makes a perfect combination. The green salad leaves and the tomatoes were too much for me, in terms of taste it was an average experience. Serving the portion for 14.50 is okay:
Looking for another great tasting hangover cure ? Vietnamese cuisine has the answer. Petit Saigon, near the Bahnhof Wiedikon offers just that. Instead of getting something from the precooked food in the main display case, the best bet is ordering something a la carte and waiting a couple of minutes. If you’ve never tasted a vietnamese summer roll, this is one of the staple foods and an absolute must try. Wrapped in rice paper, rice noodles, vegetables, chicken, shrimp and assorted herbs make this a sensational bite. Unlike the fried variants, this is light, tasty and refreshing. Pho (Soup) is a light and vitalising dish. Hot clear broth poured on beef slices and noodles . You add sprouts, vietnamese basil and lime juice as you please. The broth, the spicyness and the fresh taste will make you feel good and it stills your hunger. For 27 CHF (roll plus Pho) a good deal.
Update: Stephan is right it’s on Baeckerstrasse.
Finally real japanese food is starting to appear in Zurich. Ooki is a small place near Helvetiaplatz specialising in noodle soups. It has become very popular and on most nights it is advisable to make a reservation. The sake selection is rather small, so it’s a safe choice to stick to the Asahi beer. The typical Gyozas (essentially a type of dumpling) found in Zurich are some of the deep-frozen Migros Anna Best integrated meal solution type. Ooki has handmade, fresh Gyozas, with your choice of meat or vegetable. Together with some hot oil and some vinegar this is a lovely bite and a good showcase of the type of food here. You can choose other rice based appetizers, but the Gyoza is unbeaten. Japanese eat everything at once so without much delay we were served our soups. Of the four different flavours, which are available, the Miso variant was the best. Salty, balanced and with a strong Umami flavor. In the soup you’ll find beef, noodles, vegetables, and half an egg. For roughly 90 CHF for two, with apps, mains and a lot of alcohol (my little sister was the big drinker) you get a really good deal and excellent taste. Certainly a good alternative to eating a burger.
Moleson (near the old Eschenmoser, now Fust at Stauffacher) is a rustic restaurant also referred to as Beiz. Entering the Moleson implies that one is looking for quality swiss food and doesn’t mind smoke. Moleson has a small outside dining section which caught our eye. Flicking through the menu an interesting item caught our eyes, a breaded Cervelat (the traditional swiss sausage) with noodles. The feeling when a real gourmet reads something about Chanterelles from Tahiti with a Samoan venison on a menu, hit me. The feeling of tasting something I’ve never had before. With a salad the Panierter Cervelat was dead cheap at 12 CHF. The excitement grew as the dish arrived and suddenly reality hit again. It tasted exactly like one would expect a breaded Cervelat to taste like. The Wiener Schnitzel main attribute was the low price (22 CHF). It wasn’t thin enough and too darkly browned. Fries were okay. Why do you eat here ? Because you need to discuss an important matter with a friend over six pints.
How bad does it get in terms of airline food ? Swiss Airlines have scored a new record. A pack of Mediterranean Chargrilled Vegetables from the well known british purveyor of fine foods Monty’s Bakehouse were distributed evenly among the condemmed passengers. Monty’s Bakehouse prides itself with the following attributes on its food:
• Product integrity
• 12 months frozen life
• Bake in pack
• Standard bake times
• Cool to touch – serve 45 seconds from baking
Taste, aroma and vitamins seem to have been forgotten. Biting into one of these fine products stirs mixed reactions between nausea and disgust. Funny to see that the stewardess was making herself a bowl of pasta and after inquiring if this concotion was for real, she apologetically replied that it wasn’t that bad. It is surprising that after Heston Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White and the irritating Jamie Oliver, the british food industry is still coming up with these horrible products. But even worse, this is a reason to stop flying Swiss if they think customers enjoy getting scammed like this.
Casa Do Alentejo does seem like a tourist trap at first, but you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. Located in a stunning building, different rooms are available for dining and a reservation is strongly recommended. Sausage, cheese and bread (the boring portugese type) are available as an appetizer before the first course. A coriander soup is presented to us, slight coriander taste but nothing to reorder. The main dish however was quiet a treat. Pork meat braised with honey and mustard served with potatoes. According to local sources a typical old school Portugese dish. Nice, savoury and a taste of sweetness which accompanied the meat, a surprising tasteful dish. Desert was a type of cake with caramel sauce. A very sweet and soaked dish, surely a great hit with 10 year old boys. Still, a good place for a real dinner in a lovely location – prices are rather cheap – 600 Euro (including aperitif, wine and digestiv) for 21:[/captiondi
Early in the morning and before moving on to a innercity open air party on top of a parking garage hunger called. Outside of the Docas a couple of mobile snack vendors setup shop. For roughly 2 Euros they sell a form of Hamburger. The “Special” is full of vegetables such as salad and corn! On top some Pommes allumettes give it a whole lot of crunch. The burger patty is probably made out of stray harbour cats, but with lots of ketchup and mustard it doesn’t do any damage. Taking into account the hour of the day, it’s a decent snack.