After literally weeks of trying I finally managed to secure a room and a table at the Schloss Schauenstein. Located in the Domleschg, you take the train to Thusis and the pickup service will drive you to Fürstenau where the Schloss Schauenstein is located. The place is pretty amazing, tastefully refurbished chateau, located on a small rise in the village, surrounded by houses and a small park. The rooms aren’t cheap but certainly are individual and elegant, like you’d expect it at a boutique hotel. Dinner starts by grabbing a drink in the dedicated bar room and snacking on some tibits prepared by the kitchen. If people ask me about fine dining and what makes it so excellent I fall back to the example of a beefsteak tartare with fries and a sauce. If you’re in a restaurant and one of the items is really good, you might actually remember the place. If two of the items are good you’ll think of coming back and if all three are great you’ll like the place and you would recommend the restaurant in question to your friends. Now in a top notch restaurant that beefsteak tartare with fries and sauce is just one small part of a group of components in a larger dish, but still matches the quality of that restaurant you would recommend. One of the tasty tibits was a tartare in a crunchy cornet (reminds me a bit of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry style) and nicely fits into the mentioned example. A lovely tartare, expertly seasoned matched by the crunchiness of the cornet makes this a perfect small bite. The love in every detail here is stunning and even though it looks like just a small cocktail snack, it’s simplicity and beauty are hard to match. And that was just one of the small bits served while you look at the menu and made up your mind. A nice touch is that with every dish you get a small card which says what you’re eating. The same cards explain in the bathroom the rationale behind “Fuck like a beast”…. The food is light, creative with impeccable detail and love. The favorite dish was a saibling. The only thing at this level which was a bit strange, was that the same herbs were reused multiple times (maybe a concession to winter) and the cheeses weren’t as exciting as I would have liked the to be, as an example a extra spicy (extra rezent) Lumbreiner has more Oomph than the selection here. Still this is my absolute, undisputed, new gourmet heaven in Switzerland. To let the evening slowly end, head up to the room with the fireplace, smoke a cigar, have a digestif and read a book. You’ll feel like at your imaginary grandparents place. Funny thing was that the next morning when Andreas Caminada himself drove us to the train station and I stated that his job must be tough, he just smiled at us and said yes, especially if you’re out until 4 AM and have to work again at nine. My kind of guy. Unfortunately not quite my kind of bill (I did order every course possible):
After the last episode of Lost we’re confused but at least we’re under the impression that time travel is possible. While others need weird islands and mysterious energy sources, ordinary people like your favorite food critic just walk into the Restaurant Rietberg. With its wooden panelling (halfway up to the ceiling) and the older place mats it takes you way back. One of my old time favourites a cordon bleu made out of meat loaf instead of veal was on the menu and served with fries. Certainly not something to take on Noma, but it was homemade and absolutely comfy. A nice touch is the homemade spicy cocktail sauce which was served together with the ketchup. Prices are almost ancient as well:
Tex Mex sports a classic french cuisine with danish influences near the epicentre of avantgarde dining in Zurich, the Letzigrund sports stadium. That would be a surprising turn of events, but Tex Mex does exactly what its name says. Appetizer was something which was called Chilaqilis (unkown to Google) which looked a lot like Nachos baked over with the usual topics. Average and matching expectations. Main course were some tacos with chicken. The tacos were okay, the side dishes of Chili con Carne and rice were bland and somewhat pointless. The food here lacks a bit of soul, and you’re better of cooking your own at home. For this price I would also have expected more than just two Tacos:
On Badenerstrasse towards Schlieren, the Restaurant Singapore is serving asian food. Interestingly enough the place is split into two parts, one more of a buffet style place and a proper restaurant called The Raffles. Not that it has anything to do with the Raffles in Singapore, but I’m sure it inspires the people of Albisrieden. First dish was a szechuan soup, which had a bit of zing but the thickness and high viscosity gave it an artificial touch. Main was a Laksa, which essentially is a coconut milk based spicy soup like dish from Malaysia or Singapore. It sports a combination of milky, sour and spicy dishes, it’s refreshing yet still has a bit of zing without the killer burn. Chicken and noodles were part of the dish as well giving it the needed texture. The dish might not match the quality at a hawker in Singapore, but it was a pretty good version. Prices:
Take Easy is a strange name for a small Thai place next to the Lochergut. The place is aimed at people looking to grab a quick bite to eat. I opted for a chicken Pad Thai and was very pleasantly surprised. For 20 CHF I got a traditional and tasty version of this staple food. It had the right amount of peanuts and scallions to give it the typical mouth feeling. Very nice!
A day off and a mission to find a real Luzerner Chögeli- or Fritschipastete. Luzern is very much aimed at the tourists, so finding a place is a bit of a challenge. Upon a tip from a local we headed to the Zunfthaus Pfistern. A bit of an ecclectic interior, but at least there was a Stammtisch and a lot of swiss german being spoken. The seating is a bit crowded, especially if you’re also looking for a bottle of wine for lunch. Appetizer was a mixed salad – which was too expensive for the quality, since half of it were premixed bean and corn salads. A bit strange is also the fact, that you have to get your own bread at the “bread bar” in the middle of the room. Now if the bread were worldclass I wouldn’t mind, but it wasn’t worth getting up from the table. The piece de resistance was the Fritschi Pastete. It was filled with veal, pork, veal meatballs, apples and some raisins in a cream sauce. The Pastetli (compare it to some kind of bread bowl made out of a fluffy pastry dough) had a nice taste and was obviously baked by someone skilled. A very taste and interesting dish with a lot of local heritage. The only thing which really didn’t match was the selection of the accompanying vegetables, why you would serve peppers which such a delicate dish is beyond me. Prices:
Not exactly the best location, but at least the Tai Yang is easily accessible by public transport. The interior looks a bit like a canteen which has china week, but I’m not the one to be swayed by tasteful decorations. Being hungry, I started out with two appetizers. The first one was a classic Wan Tan and I was in for my first surprise. Instead of serving me a run of the mill frozen, prefabricated, bought from a central redistributor, type of dish, surprisingly the ravioli was home made. The plate of Dim Sum which followed were home made as well, they were mostly succulent and well balanced in flavour, save for the fish ball which wasn’t scoring any points with me. My main course was a duck with orange sauce and some fried rice. The duck was okay and the fried rice was boring, so this was more along the lines of the expected. Overall I find the menu a bit weird, they’re not going to make a name for themselves sustaining on homemade appetizers, when the rest of the food is your standard chinese matrix fare (different proteins multiplied by different sauce options). Why not stick with the appetizers and build a more exciting menu on top of that ?
The Teutonic invasion continues – the cultural pessimists would argue. At the end of the Friesenbergstrasse, where the 32 bus stops at the Goldbrunnenplatz the food shack has been reopened as Curry One, Zurich’s first Currywurst place. Being the inquisite type I had to drop by for lunch. I’m not a great Currywurst lover, but the one served here tasted rather authentic. It was a decent bratwurst with real curry powder and a regular ketchup, fries wouldn’t have needed the additional seasoning. If you’re into Currywurst, this certainly is the place to checkout.
Unfortunately the real Beiz is dying out and being replaced with idiotic gastro concepts run by corporations. Or have you ever eaten something decent at a train station, mall or airport ? The Schweizer Weinstube is one of the last bastions of real swiss restaurant culture. The interior is rough and so are most of the patrons. We start off with a mixed salad, which is obviously homemade and interestingly enough also has a bit of noodle salad on the side. Quite a surprising addition and actually tasty addition for a beiz. The Roeschti I ordered with bacon, sausage and cheese was on the heavy side and a bit greasy. The waitress said that everything was homemade, but some aftertaste of the potatos reminded us of convenience roestis. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since the price levels are extremly fair – three large beers, a salad and the roeschti was less than 40 CHF.
The restaurant Stucki is located in a very nice and peaceful neighborhood in Basel. Looking at the other diners, it also seems to be one of the places where Basel people go out if they’re looking for a real nice treat. To get my mouth watering a rather tasty crustacean soup was presented and I was getting excited. The next dish wasn’t as big as a success, it had a too many components and I thought that the Pakora didn’t connect with the rest. Also the acid from the ceviche was overpowering the other flavors. The poultry kushi served with an asparagus-wasabi-soup was back on track. These are dishes which excite me, since they’re surprising, but not too complicated. Moving on, I was disappointed by the lobster / cocoa / sumac / red curry combination. The lobster was rubbery and again too much acidity made this a course which I should have skipped. The savoury courses ended on a high note, the lamb with pimento was tasty, had a nice spice and was an good way on how to combine different components. I’ll spare the details on the rest of the meal, save for two things. The Etivaz/Gruyere cheese was superb (albeit the wait staff couldn’t agree where exactely it was from), and the macaron served with the coffee was horrible. It was tangy, heavy and lacking any hint of elegance. Overall I would have expected a bit more consistency at this level of cooking. I was tempted to say, that just like in football, Basel seems inferior compared to Zurich, but then again I didn’t want to rub it in. Finances for one: