Barolo on Aemtlerstrasse just opened up last Saturday. My interest in serving you – my beloved readers – with the most current information on Zurich’s dining scene compelled me to visit immediately. The interior is quaint, it feels as if it was revamped by Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares team of little helpers (or Rach der Restauranttester equivalent). Since the carpaccio was not available I went for Orechiette with dried tomatoes, spring onions, garlic and chilies. Nice combination of ingredients, but the whole dish was too dry. What would have helped is some more oil or similar fatty component to hold the dish together and make it silkier. Main dish was a classic piccata milanese with saffron risotto and vegetables. Unfortunately the risotto and the zuchini-eggplant side were completely oversalted, it was on the verge of inedible. I’m a big fan of this dish, and the piccata was nicely made, but I couldn’t overlook the risotto. This always raises the question, should you object on the spot and ask for a refire ? I only do that when I’m dining alone. When I’m with someone I don’t want to look at my dining companion eating while I wait for my dinner to get fixed. Hence I just leave it on my plate and let the waitress know when she comes to clear the dishes. My dining partner made a comment – this seems to be the place people end up in when the Bottega Berta is full. If they want it to be the other way around, then the food needs to be improved and a more proficient level of quality needs to be attained. To balance this review the shrimp and vegetable dish of my partner in crime was very nice. Prices are fair:
Zum Alten Loewen was a run down place and created quite a stir in the neighborhood. New proprietors are running it and have a very simple concept called Tavolata. For 55 CHF you get a complete meal with antipasti, pasta and a main course. Everything is served family style, which means that you need to be quick or greedy, since everything is put into the middle of the table to share. To cut it short antipasti and mains were great. The antipasti had a good variety and were well prepared. The duck was delicious and important that the vegetables each kept their distinguished taste. To be fair the two pasta courses weren’t perfect, the hazelnut ravioli and the orechiette with broccoli weren’t very inspiring. Still, I don’t know many places were you get this much food at such a low price in Zurich. If they have a good pasta day, you’re in for a real treat.
While on the ski slope, we got hungry and headed to the Tannibuel restaurant on the Klewenalp. It’s a self-serviced place doing regular fare. I went for the pork chop with home made cheese form the Klewenalp on top. It was nicely cooked, dubbed as the house specialty and the cheese gave it that little extra. Plus for 20 CHF it was also a decent deal – the fries could have been a tad crispier.
My instincs told me to go to Bon Vivant, my journalistic soul told me to go Teufelhof in Basel, since I’ve never been there. I enter the restaurant on the first floor named Bel Etage and have a seat at a table near the entrance. I was instantly reminded of a sentence which was coined by a colleague of mine I had lunch with. He doesn’t like the Gault Millau, because if he follows it, he always ends up in places with a lot of grey heads. Menu looked reasonably small and I had some difficulty in making a call on what I was going to have for dinner. I started with a Taboule and shrimp accompanied by some tuna. Tuna was a bit on the dryer side but the Taboule was expertly made, not sure however what the shrimp added to the dish. Next up was an oversizedspring roll, which was actually some black salsify (Schwarzwurzel) in a filo dough on top of leeks and a sauce of truffles. A clumsy and weird dish, the dough and the creamy filling took away from the black salsify, the sauce was boring and the nice leeks didn’t save the dish either. I was hoping to see some more culinary expertise on the table, this was more like an attempt at fine dining I’d come up with myself. Little did I know that there was a disaster still waiting to happen. My main dish sounded very interesting, scallops with endives and a passionfruit/ginger sauce. Salty, sweetness, bitterness, maybe some roast aromas, this sounds like a perfect slam dunk for a very balanced dish. Unfortunatley it was completely out of tune, not only where there much too many scallops on the plate, the sweetness wasn’t a nice touch, it simply overpowered the dish completely. Something happened, which always never does – I didn’t finish the plate and I skipped dessert. Obviously I was very disappointed not only with the restaurant, but also with the Gault Millau giving this joint 16 points. The restaurant is stuffy, doesn’t live up to the culinary standard it’s trying to set and too expensive:
One of the biggest food writing publications is the Gault Millau, named Tobias Funke from Funkes Obstgarten the Swiss German Newcomer of the Year. Having made good experiences with a place in Chardonne, I decided to have a look. Now Freienbach is well known for being an anemic town, which attracts tax dodgers from all parts of the world at the cost of a functioning society. As with most serious dining establishment a flurry of different courses make up the menu. It’s a thursday night and the restaurant is pretty packed. First course is a quail with a cauliflower puree. The puree was too sweet and threw the dish off balance. A scallop declination was up next, with different preparations. I have a weakness for foam and the sliced scallop was a nice play. The soup in the test tube was forgettable. Next up was a small disaster. Some lamb with a crunchy covering, served on ravioli with a broth. Now even though each of the components was nice, what happens if you add milk to rice krispies ? They get soggy. There was too much broth in the plate and the lamb crust soaked it up. The best dish was a piece of sea bass, served on top of a grilled pineapple, it worked and was surprising. On the young pork and gnocchi, the sauce once again had a sweet undertone to it. At least on the following dessert the sweetness was adequate. For once I was glad that a frugal friend of mine accompanied me to dinner. When I asked wether he wanted a small (2cl) or regular (4cl) digestif he opted for the small one. Since the small rowan berry (Vogelbeere) schnaps set me back 26 CHF, I was lucky he didn’t go for the larger one. Overall I was slightly disappointed. The quality of the food wasn’t what I expected from the rookie of the year and not what I was looking for in 16 Gault Millau points. Also a nuisance is the sommelier, his bigger than life attitude and false italian coolness is offputting and unprofessional. Prices are steep: