What happens when your expectations are high and the result so so ? You feel disappointed. Before walking into the Ursprung Restaurant research was conducted to be able to judge what to expect. We were excited since a couple of clear and enticing statemens were made, the food is to be seasonal, regional and fresh. The philosophy was right up my alley and we had high hopes. They were tested the first time when we entered and found out that we were the only guests on a friday night. The first dish was a Gazpacho served in an ice bowl. Now if something is cold it doesn’t develop as much flavor or taste in your mouth (ever licked on a frozen steak ? ). My biggest issue in this whole meal was the course consisting of salad and topped with some spring rolls. Every canteen which feeds the masses during lunchtime serves springrolls on salad as the vegetarian option, so when I saw this plate, it just didn’t work for me. My mood started improving with the Raviolo. The last dish being a nice piece of meat with decent vegetables, was doing it’s thing to make me forget the beginning. What can I say of this experience ? Would I go back after this meal ? The answer is no, the menu didn’t start off well enough and for not quite 400 swiss francs (including drinks for two persons) you can get a better meal elsewhere:
The Gertrudhof was known for one of the best Cordon Bleus in Zurich, if not the best. With the retirement of the chef and owner it was unclear what was going to happen with the restaurant. The good news is that a new and likable chef has taken over and is running the restaurant in a similar fashion. The menu is starting out with six variations of Cordon Bleu to ensure that the chef hits his stride and is able to deliver on quality. In the future more variations are to appear depending on how well they are received. The mixed salad was very nice, the balsamico dressing is much better than the french dressing and the croutons (convenience) are not needed, but the variety of the fresh components is surprising and good. But then again, we didn’t come here for the salad. The Cordon Bleu (pork) is excellent, juicy ham, light and thin coating of bread crumbs and a tasty, cheese which oozes out of the meat once it’s being cut and not before. The roeschti was good, I prefer just salt as a seasoning and it had a touch of oregano on it, also the potato strips could have been a bit thicker, but it was clearly slowly cooked and handled in a very crafty way. Next time I’ll go for the french fries. Now does Gertrudhof have the best Cordon Bleu in town ? I don’t know I still haven’t eaten at all the other places, but it is certainly up there and sends a strong signal to the competition – there is a new kid on the block doing great Cordon Bleus. If you like to discuss about food, have a chat with the chef – he’s a bit of a food crazy guy himself.
BTW – once again – your favourite food writer in Zurich beat the Zueritipp to this Primeur.
If you’re 17 and thinking of fine dining, you’re probably thinking of places like the Desperado. Hopes for some fun, a not so expensive meal and cheap beer seem to be addressed here. Trying to avoid the young and excited crowd in the evening this called for a late lunch. Entering the wait staff is friendly aggressive in what is perceived as a hip and trendy matter. The lunch menu offers a selection of dishes, but if wished for a la carte is also possible. No idea what demons led me to order Mozzarella Sticks but nevertheless they arrived. Chewy, rubbery and tasteless, but what else was I to expect. However the guacamole was excellent – fresh, tasty and homemade. One of the lunch special is a beef fajitas called “Fleischiges” for 22.50 a nice lunch deal. Again the guacamole was nice, the salsa tasty, only the cheese was bland and the rice was mushy (precooked ?). If you’re looking for a decent place to grab some fajitas for lunch – the Desperado certainly is worth checking out:
Airports are boring, one bland duty free followed by clothing stores followed by a purveyor of fine travel goods just to start over again. This being Munich there was a locally themed airport restaurant called the Airbräu. Sitting down and ordering a typical dish to bridge some time seemed like the thing to do. I ordered a meat loaf with a potato salad. Now this should be a piece of cake for such a place. It wasn’t. The meat was dry and the potato salad was lacking love. Positive was the big pretzel which was served instead of bread. My favourite friends on the european continent, the Germans, tend to focus on one thing when it comes to eating – price. As with many places in Germany, quality of the food comes in second to cost of the food – this place wasn’t expensive:
Truebli Bar has all the things it takes to become my favourite solo lunch place. Two young Austrians are running the place as a bar and small restaurant. It has a certain roughness to it and the interior still echoes “alcoholics welcome”. There are two tables and a couple of bar seats available for dining during lunch. Sliding into a bench and settling in behind a slightly raised table, glancing at the menu I go for the obvious, a Wiener Schnitzel. The music is soothing old time classics and it feels really comfortable reading a newspaper here. Before the Schnitzel arrives, a pounding sound from the kitchen lets you know that it’s being made ready to order. The object of desire was nice, the coating (Panade) was slightly fluffy and a bit detached from the meat. Simply a decent Schnitzel which is being made here. The only thing which needs some tweaking is the potato salad, but then again serving comfort foods people know from their mother’s cooking, is always a gamble. Towards the end of my lunch at roughly 14:00 two guys walked in and had a wodka. This and the fact that a snow bar was being built in the back alley made me curious. I checked back at 22:00 to get a feel for the place and found it to be a rough drinking hole. Still it remains a great place for lunch.
Back in summer, looking for a thrill, dry sledding on the Kerenzerberg was the activity of the day. To ensure optimal acceleration a sound meal was needed. The Berggasthaus Habergschwänd is located next to the top station of the cable car. On the sun deck in tent like structure, slightly warm on a sunny day, a pizza oven is located. On the inside a self service restaurant can be found. The salad bar was pretty decent, well kept and fresh. Meat lovers will like the bowl of cervelat sausage pieces which is hidden between the vegetables. The french fries were not really special but they fit the type of restaurant perfectly. Quiet suprising were the pizzas, while not fab in terms of taste the dough was great. Up here you’re certainly not going to find the pinnacle of fine dining, but the quality wasn’t bad and obviously someone is trying to make a real effort which can be felt.
Weinwirtschaft near Stampfenbachplatz has an interior which needs some time to get adjusted to. LSD loaded interior designer heads over to IKEA and this is what places end up looking like. On the plus side the wine list is unpretentious and not expensive. First course was a salad and that’s were things went south. Look at the picture, it was obviously some ready made stuff slapped together with a bit of fresh vegetables – not good enough. Moving into the main course things were a bit better. The Tartare was so so, lacking any real exciting, what was really weird was the plating technique of this dish. The sprinklings of paprika on the plate gave it the impression as if it were decorated under the stern supervision of Ms Meyer in the cooking class at your local middle school. Prices are okay, but I’d stick to the wine and leave out the food.
Looking for a special place in Wiedikon Baranes Grill as a kosher place fits the bill. Being new to kosher food, this looked like the place to check out this way of cooking. It felt a bit strange walking in here, since the place does have a special vibe. On the table were some vegetable sticks and dips, certainly a nice and fresh touch. Starter was hummus with warm mushrooms. The dish was tasty, the mushrooms adding a nice flavor and raising hopes for the main course. Apparently kosher restaurants serve either meat or milk products, due to the kosher diet regulations. If they were serving pizza (milk) and hamburgers (Meat) , they would have to have separate silverware, china and even kitches to be in line with kosher regulations. So the main course was mixed kebab skewers and homemade fries. We were excited since good grilled meat and tasty french fries are a comfort food and a sure bet. To cut the suspense – it was horrible. The french fries were probably bathed in oil instead of being fried and lacked any crispiness. The even bigger disappointment was the meat – it was bland, dry and reminded of chewing on an eraser. We even found out why – a friend at the bar afterwards told us that jewish kosher slaughter (same goes for halal meat) leads to the anmal being completely bled dry. So this slaughter method removes taste and juicyness from your steak. The good news here is, that the Baranes Grill didn’t screw anything up, the meat is meant to taste this way. The obvious conclusion – if you’re invited to a place serving real kosher or halal meat – come up with an excuse, fast.