I’ve visited most of the World Cup Bars; but for some weird reason, I was stuck in Rosenlaui during the Honduras – Switzerland game. There is no mobile phone reception at the hotel, they do not have a tv and WiFi still seems a century away. The hotel director of the Rosenlaui obviously lacks any understanding for football experts. So the only option is to walk 20 minutes, climb a hill and listen to the radio. Well the view was great, the seating uncomfortable (rock in a meadow) and no tv, just live ticker and Hans Peter Latour on DRS 4. Wins on atmosphere, loses on comfort – and the question remains, if Chile’s offside goal wouldn’t have counted, we’d be on our way to the finals!
In the middle of nowhere, the hotel Rosenlaui has found its niche. Near Meiringen and the Reichenbach waterfall (where Sherlock Holmes almost died) the hotel is part of the smallest town in Switzerland. There is nothing except the lovely hotel, which has been tastefully upgraded but is lacking classic luxury. Most rooms do not have ensuite bathrooms, but there is a game room, a reading room and a separate library. Dinner started of with a nice Riesling soup and was followed by a very fresh and tasty summer salad with some goat cheese. The bread which was served, however could have been tastier. Main course was a veal steak with vegetables and some potatoes. Now vegetables which is plural, was not quite met, since it was just zucchini and for some weird reason – cherries. The steak could have been a bit more tender and the potatoes could have been crunchier. Still – the red wine prices were very fair and the atmosphere one of a kind! Only downside was the sheer number of teutonic invaders, we were glad that sauerkraut was not on the menu. If you want to stay at this hotel you need to reserve very, very early. Still 250 CHF including a room for two is a great deal.
Saigon opened a new place on Birmensdorfer- strasse next to the Schmiede Wiedikon. It used to be a cafe and now serves vietnamese food. There seems to be a bit of a cluster of Vietnam themed restaurants in Wiedikon. I went for lunch and started with some Tofu Wantons with sweet chili sauce. They were homemade and nicely seasoned, but I would have preferred some other filling than tofu. Everynow and then I give it a shot, but my sympathy for vegan lifestyles is on the same level as my sympathy for dogs in restaurants. Main course was chicken with ginger and rice, nice taste and nice size dportion. I liked that a lot of the dishes are homemade. Comparing it to the other Vietnamese places in Zurich it has the nicest interior but lacks something to clearly differentiate it in terms of food. Prices:
Poushe Cafe Bar has opened a new place on the corner of Berta- and Aemtlerstrasse. The bar is really tiny, offering 3 small tables and a bar. Poushe positions itself as a Cafe Bar with a heavy focus on strudels and pastries. There were two strudels on offer, one with meat and vegetables and one with berries. There’s a small buffet which also carries some salads and I opted for a helping of Tzaziki salad. Strudel was excellent and the sweet pepper with the meat gives away the eastern european origin of quite some of the recipes here. The Tzaziki was too salty for my taste. Including an espresso and a mineral I paid 19 CHF. I really liked that everything was homemade and fresh and you can even look at the chef preparing it. Only downside – not enough sitting space.
Public Viewing is not a big thing in Odessa also the number of niche bars dedicated to the world cup is limited. Reading kyrillic letters and speaking Russian is not our forte so we had no idea what the microbrewery’s name was, where we went to see football in the City Gardens. Anyway beer was cheap, the location so-so for world cup watching and it had a strong german influence, serving bratwurst and the like….
As soon as the world cup comes around, all the amateur football fans start coming out of their dark hiding places. Hence some of the bars are full with greenhorns and women. If you’re looking for a bar for experts, check out the Zentralstube. The average patron is over 50 and the place is really dated, but it has two large plasma screens facing the street. This implies you can sit outside, have a great view of what’s happening and smoke if you’re among the remaining opressed second class citizens. If football is all you want, you’re absolutely right here. You will never have an issue with finding a seat.
It’s the world cup and real life stops for two weeks, for intense bar hopping. The biggest football nerd in Switzerland runs a little place the Bombay Bar which has an indoor and an outdoor viewing area. A nice touch is the Bratwurst (4 CHF) which you can buy and grill yourself. The only thing to keep in mind is to arrive early if you want a good seat. The funniest thing here certainly are the toilets, the international sign for the ladies is Alain Sutter with long hair and for the men it’s Alain Sutter with short hair.
We lie about 200 times a day and your favourite sinner had to wiggle a bit today. 16:00 CET Europe time a telco with the New York office was on the agenda. Since South Africa was playing Mexico and it was the kick-off of the biggest sporting event in the world, some creative excuse was needed to free up the calendar. Arriving at the Sportman Club, it made a decent impression. The corrugated iron sheets and timber around the garden really gave it that township impression which is typical for the not so flashy areas of South Africa. SAB Castle Lager beer and biltong round off the experience. The complete building is painted and decorated and if it isn’t raining, the garden is quite quaint. The only downside were the electrical problems, missing the kickoff and causing for a picture failure every 15 minutes or so… maybe the idea was to mimick a fickle diesel generator in Soweto.
On Birmensdorferstrasse next to the Schmiede Wiedikon the Comptoir Hin und weg just opened. Quaint place, lovely decoration and a small menu as well as a catering service is what’s on offer. I ordered the Menu 2 which was a market salad and a parisiette. They offer homemade iced tea, which I chose as well. I wasn’t a big fan of the tea, since it contained verveine and was on the bitter side, but at least it’s made on premises. The salad was served in a pickle jar, nice leaves, not so great sauce but wins in terms of quaintness. The sandwich was nice, with some chicken breast, thinly sliced and a portulak pesto. For 14.50 this is really a steal, and the quality of the food is good. Drop by for lunch, you will not be disappointed. Sitting on the sidewalk next to the Birmensdorferstrasse needs some getting used to, but it does feel superurban.
After Nadal beat Söderling and screwed up Roger Feder’s record of being the longest reigning Nr. 1 in men’s tennis, we needed some cheering up. Driving down Kanonengasse, a place opened up called
Viet Thai. Interesting thing is that since Vietnam and Thailand do not share a common border, this equates to opening a restaurant named Finn(ish) Austria in Bangkok. The place was empty (unlike the popular Ah Hua, which is just down the street. We started off with a plate of fish cakes and some chicken satay. The fishcakes were boring and chewy but the satay was good. The chicken was too dry but the sauce was really special and homemade. It wasn’t what you get at other places it was heartier, tasted clearly of fresh herbs and had a stronger umami flavor than others. Main dish was a vietnamese soup dish called Hue Tie Nam Vang. A strong, savoury, very flavourful broth is the base of this soup, which is accompanied by slices of pork, minced beef, shrimp and rice noodles. A separate dish with basil, sprouts, lime, scallions and crunchy garlic in oil (no bad breath afterwards) are served. A very nice dish obviously prepared with great craftsmanship. Funny thing was that the Ice Tea (Oishi) according to the label consisted of 30% tea and 12% sugar… wondering what the remaining half was. The Viet Thai certainly hits the mark and is well worth a visit. If you’re put off by the people queueing at Ah Hua, just continue on and give the Viet Thai a shot, even in terms of prices, you’ll do ok: