The Restaurant Gruental is not exactly something you’d find by walking around town. Located near the Gemeinschaftszentrum in Wipkingen it is slightly outside the center, making it perfect if you’re looking for a meal without tourists and travelling salesmen. The vibe is a bit alternative and radiates cozy & comfy. The menu is right up my alley, small, changes often and obviously homemade. Starter was a livermousse with strawberry and watercress. Nice and smooth, but a bit too much on the chilies, still even the strawberries worked. The real fascination lay in the main course. Homemade ravioli, made after an old recipe from the canton of Graubünden accompanied with butter, cheese and some onions. The sweetness of the pears was mirrored by the onions and all encompassed in the velvety butter, quiet frankly I wasn’t expecting something this good. Dessert was a tarte tatin with whipped cream. Looking at the quality of the food, comparing it to the prices, the Restaurant Gruental deserves a recommendation. It is not necessarily the place for a romantic dinner yuppie style or a formal event, but the quality of the food makes it perfect for a nice getaway during your working week. On a side note, if the Gault Millau decides to give the Restaurant Helvetia 14 points (2010 Guide), then Gruental should be rated as well.
Cuisine sans frontieres staged a charity event at the Rote Fabrik. Dubbed the 1st Kitchen Battle, teams from different restaurants competed against each other in a cook-off. Each team was given a basket of food and asked to cook for a hundred people, serving an appetizer, a main course and dessert. The first night had a thrillling headliner – the brigade of the very renowed Rigiblick (Michelin Star, 16 Gault Millau points) versus the motely crew of the Ziegel Oh Lac, the collective cooking at Rote Fabrik. The winner was determined by tallying points from a jury (involving a filmmaker, two cooks, a psychiatrist and a restaurant owner) and the crowd to determine the winner. Having dined at both restaurants I was excited to attend this event and gladly forked over my 100 CHF. The whole amount went to CSF, since all the expenses of the event were covered by sponsors, including the cooking brigades (Thanks Rigiblick and Ziegel). In all fairness I was expecting a clean sweep of the Rigiblick team. Four mean cooks, trained under a hard Michelin starred regimes against four individuals (not all of them trained cooks) sounded like a couple of sheep going against the big bad wolf. Taking into account my fondness of complex and complicated dishes, I was leaning back and expecting soulful, decent simple dishes against visually stunning artwork from the masters of Rigiblick. Rigiblick served two types of salmon one slightly heated and on top of mediterranean aromas (capers, olives, …). Ziegel served cooked salmon with apples on top of mushrooms and a tartare wrapped in cabagge. I favored Ziegel. Putting a bit of salmon on a mushroom and sprinkling it with a bit of apple, made this a very nice bite. The acidity of the apple bounced nicely of the fish and the texture of the mushroom made this a nice triad. Rigiblick’s salmon was just a tad too bland and was overpowered by the very strong mediterranean flavours. With the main course Rigiblick was back on course. Both ragouts and pieces of pork were nice, but Ziegel had a fried potato roesti/cake which was dripping with fat and really ruined the dish, even the nice star anise sauce couldn’t rescue it. Rigiblick scored points with a lovely chip and a nice cabbage and pumpkin cake on the side, equalising the overall score. Dessert again was taken by the crew from Rigiblick. Ziegel had too much puff pastry, making it heavy while Rigiblick aced with Strudel and chocolate espuma. I was very surprised with the concentrated and strong effort made by Ziegel, Rigiblick was seriously challenged but still managed to come out atop in my book. Interesting side note was, that the jury unanimously had Ziegel and the crowd unanimously had Rigiblick winning. Since the crowd had the final say, Rigiblick came out on top. The Kitchen Battle was a great event, the idea of having two teams go head to head with the crowd getting to judge each course was entertaining. Both teams gave it all they had and I’d really like to commend Ziegel for giving the Rigiblick a run for their money. Only strange thing was the jury, which kind of went overboard like the skinny cook ranting about the perversity of celebrating food, the guy should have been more useful washing the dishes, instead of lecturing us on the stage.
The Rosengarten has a great garden. Gravel on the floor, nice trees and plenty of space just off Hottinger Platz make this a good retreat. If there is danger of rain, be ready for the big shuffle, when at the first drop suddenly everyone rushes inside. Browsing the menu, a peculiar habit of the creator shows. Every item on the menu has it’s own name, something I’d expect on a cruise ship, but found rather surprising here. A “Greek Salad of the Gods” was the starter, nothing to complain or get excited about. A “Glarner Ziegerschlitz” was the next dish. Ziger (one of the world’s oldest brand produts) is a type of cheese with an intense smell and flavour and here it is served as a filled pasta (Capelleti). The Ziger was completely overpowering, the tomatoes on top of the pasta were barely noticable. If you’re really keen on Ziger, you’ll like this dish, if you’re looking for an interesting balance, this isn’t for you. Still if you’re looking for top garden real estate in Zurich and decent prices, the Rosengarten is worth a visit: