There are some places which take you back in time. The Sternen in Albisrieden is the typical swiss Garten Beiz. Remember when you used to go for a meal with your parents on a summer night ? You’d sit in a large garden under some trees, some of the fancy Hawai lights (green, blue, red, yellow) were put up for decoration. This decoration was all the rage in the seventies and it continues to be in tasteful garden restaurants. If you’re a smoker you’ll like the owner, he has a clear stance on what should be allowed in a liberal country and rightly so. The initial salad was almost a tiny bit special, since it featured yellow carrots. The garlic bread was probably procured at the gas station and tasted as such. Cheap, industrial prefabricated bread with a weird technical toping with a hint of artificial garlic. The ribs were better, not your southern BBQ smoked style but edible, fries were a bit soggy. If you’re looking for a time warp experience, this is the place to be. Financials:
The Bauschänzli is a small island located in the Limmat, next to the Buerkliplatz. It has a bar, a selfservice restaurant and a regular restaurant. A perfect saturday noon, with beautiful weather led to a lunch here. If you’re sitting on the the Limmat side of the place, this is one of the prime people watching spots, overseeing the river and the quay bridge. The menu features all kinds of dishes, making it hard to identify a clear direction. I started off with Capuns, a traditional swiss dish from the mountains. It was a bad rendition of an otherwise delicious staple of Buendner cuisine. The dough was rubbery, it lacked a milk-bouillon and was accompanied by some molten cheese. The worst thing however was the half tomato filled with deep freeze vegetables as a garnish. The poor tourists which eat this and are led to believe that this resembles something real, have my full sympathy. The place is known for Wienerschnitzel, which led me to give it a shot. A large serving of a real Schnitzel should be paper thin and fill the whole plate. The panade should be very loosely attached to the meat and give it a crisp and airy touch. The taste was okay, but it was served in two separate small Schnitzels and wasn’t quiet as thin. The French fries were too salty and too mushy at the center. Weird were the sprouts which were added to every single dish to give it some flair. The dessert was a standard Emmi Peach Ice Cream. The Bauschänzli has a beautiful location, unfortunately the food isn’t quiet up to it. It screams convenience products and could be done in a better way. With this type of location, I doubt that there is an incentive for the owner to change much. Lunch for 7 with aperitif, a single bottle of wine, coffee, appetizers and mains came in a bit north of 500 CHF.
Fumagalli in Uetikon has become sort of a hotspot. I keep hearing about it and decided to go for a quick dinner. Looking at the menu gluttony got the better of me and I turned the quick dinner into a longer one. Peas are in season and my first dish was a pea soup with mint. I was thrilled and looking forward to it. Unfortunately the soup reminded of Sportmint, the swiss bonbon. The taste wasn’t balanced, the mint was too overpowering. Next appetizer was an eggplant pouch filled with cous-cous and tomatoes, served on a arugula salad, tomato elixir and wild oregano. Very good dish, the combination of the arugula salad and the two different tomato aromas (elixir and fresh) as well as the couscous and eggplant made this a complex and tasty dish. Creaminess, bitterness, sweetness, saltiness, crunchiness all came together to make this an enjoyable course. The Fumagalli prides itself on making their own pasta. My pick was pasta (slightly spicy) with octopus, romanesco, tomatoes and arugula. Also if you look at the caption of the picture you see that the romanesco has been substituted by zucchini, something which the waiter told me and I thought was a better choice. The pasta was excellent, the dish had a nice summery vibe to it. My main course was a mix of poor execution and bad choice on my part. I chose a poultry dish with thyme jus, risotto and leek. The choice was poor because it’s more of an autum dish and doesn’t really replay the vibrancy of spring. The execution was bad, simply because I thought that leek as a choice of vegetables didn’t match the elegance of the other dishes, and the poultry was oversalted. I was slightly disappointed of my meal, two dishes I didn’t like and two which I enjoyed. On the other hand I have to credit the restaurant, next to the ususal italian fare, there are some gutsy dishes where the chef is taking a risk. I was really excited while flicking through the menu. I’ll be back but will probably stick to pasta.
Prices are what you pay for a decent place on the gold coast:
Driving around Kreis 6 I landed at the Linde Oberstass. Obviously a house with a long tradition, which has had a newer part added to its interior. I grabbed a six top in the Chimney room and tried the beer from it’s own brewery. The Linde currently has a spanish seasonal menu. What struck me odd, was that it was a glossy professional menu like the ones you sometimes see for deserts. It led me to suspect that some corporate food supplier was offering a complete package to restaurants willing to run their convenience food products. My first dish was a Gazpacho with garlic croutons. Now I accept and like that Gazpacho is cool, but Ice Crystals ? The Gazpacho was full of medium sized Ice Crystals, which gave it a weird texture and it stung while trying to eat the soup. Did someone forget to follow the instructions printed on the container ? But moving on to better things, I liked the Kyburger pork sausage. Nice meaty taste, a decent mustard to go with it, boring was the texture by being too soft, sausages need some more bite. My main course was a Hefeteigfladen, which is kind of a Flammkuchen or Pizza. Mine was with tomato sauce, Gruyere and finely diced vegetables. The vegetables weren’t blanched which made the whole dish taste too raw for my palate. Plus it was so hot, that I now have a blister on the inside of my mouth. Prices are okay, but I won’t be back to eat here:
I reserved a table at the Riva for Brunch. We arrived and since the weather was beautiful I approached the wait staff and asked if I could dine outside. The waitresses fearfully looked at the boss, a stereotypical non-swiss, yet german native language speaker. He mumbled something, which upon asking what he said meant “Brunch. Inside.”. My remark that we’ll carry our plates from the buffet inside to the tables outside, led to a weird statement about exceeding his brunch capacity. It might be his buffet but it is my money, so I decided to leave and headed to the Rote Fabrik, to brunch at Ziegel Oh Lac. The key here is to arrive before 11:30, grab a nice table outside (shade, no shade, sun shade) and send someone inside to order at the buffet (remember your table number). Drinks you carry out yourself, food will be brought to your table. The crew is very friendly the vibe of the place is alternative as you’d expect at the Rote Fabrik. Food is good and mostly organic. Negative was the graham bread on the small breakfast plate (instead of two pieces of Zopf) and that I was given Caotina instead of the Ovomaltine which I’d asked for. If I order a Coke I don’t want Pepsi. 12 CHF for the small breakfast plate (incl a drink) and 14 CHF for scrambled eggs with bacon on toast is a very good deal. Certainly the guy from the Riva could learn a thing about how to run a business from the Collective organisation at the Ziegel oh Lac….
For once taking pictures was out of the question, simply because it was too dark. A friend took me to the La Boum Privee event and led your favourite food writer to be in the middle of an interesting night. Like a treasure hunt the starting point was the Lindenhof and after some successful deduction the real location became apparent the Restaurant Coco, near Paradeplatz. Outside everything was set up for the La Nuit du Champagne. Basically this was a late summer night party, with leading champagne producers showcasing their products and a constant flow of small tibits being carried through the people. One of the best small cocktail dishes was a Wienerschnitzel on potato salad, which was reduced in size and served on a spoon. The hard work began in circulating from one table to another and trying the different Champagnes. Lanson, Nicolas Feuillatte, Piper Heidsieck, Pommery and Bonnaire were available, with each one of them offering a different selection of Champagnes. It was a close one, but Nicolas Feuillatte came out on top, the Blanc de Blanc was my favourite, closely followed by the Piper Heidsieck Brut. There were some of the more prestigious special blends (Cuvée Speciale, Rare, …..) but I’m not sure that in a blind tasting these would have gained the same traction as they did with the crowd. Like wine I got the impression that your palate needs to mature before you can appreciate the “better” stuff, eg. the Piper Heidsieck Rare gave me a nose of fruit bread and some mineral notes. I’m sure that’s great paired with the right meal, but as an aperitif I liked the cheaper Brut better. What was strange is that Nicolas Feuillatte (apparently the number one in France) doesn’t have a retail outlet in Zurich, you need to have it shipped from the distributor. The event (sanctioned by the Comite Champagne) was nice, it could have been a bit warmer and it was a tad crowded, but if you wanted to taste and compare Champagne, it was the place to be. The next time I’m having a Wiener Schnitzel, instead of Zweigelt, I’ll go for a bottle of brut Champagne.