I thought Swiss International Airlines had alread reached the Abyss, but apparently there’s an even deeper trench down there. On the flight back from Dublin to Zurich, my fellow travellers and myself were handed a cardboard box. Opening up, a rather pecuilar rolled up pizza looks at us. I took a bite and had to laugh, tasting the so called pizza made it clear that someone was playing a joke on us. It was simply ridiculous. The company making these is actually from Italy and specialises in innovative food solutions. They should be ashamed of themselves, and Swiss Int’l Airlines should be ashamed for serving their customers such a horrid dish with a penile appearance. Especially since on the flight from Zurich to Dublin some nice yoghurts and a muffin was handed out. Airline food and beverage directors……
Thornton’s restaurantis one of the classier places for fine dining in Dublin. They offer a lunch menu and since we couldn’t decide on which one to go for we decided to add another course from menu one to menu two. The dishes, wait staff and wine list matched what you would expect from a Michelin starred restaurant. The amuse bouche turned out to be the nicest dish in the whole lunch. It was a beautiful piece of red mullet. There was nothing to complain, a good showing of skill and understanding of ingredients. The most surprising dish, was the smoked quail egg which was served with the smoke under a glass. It tasted of the wooden thick smoke and when you bit into it the yolk deliciously flowed through our mouth. All dishes were nicely laid out, good in size for a multi-course meal and inviting to tuck into. I can recommend this restaurant for people looking for a fine dining experience with white tablecoths and a sommelier in Dublin. Prices:
Of course every tourist in Dublin wants to get a feel of a good Pub. A lot of them are somewhat worn and do not look like the fancier imitations often available in non Irish cities across the world. A lot of them serve food, often however it’s something you eat after having had a couple of pints. Brannigans was located on a cul-de-sac off the main pedestrian area and was nicely furnished, while still being patronised by Dubliners wanting to catch a football game on television. Quite frankly I had one of the best meals in Dublin here at this place, the Guiness and Beef Pie was homemade, tasty, wholehearted and how it should be cooked. The fries were handcut and the cole slaw of a decent origin. My kind of place.
The Church seemed like an interesting place, since it actually is a bar and a restaurant in an old church which still has a big organ at the back. We were shown to a table which was too small for 10 diners but at least they extended at our request. First dish was pork belly and prawn and it was just that, neither clever execution nor subtly developed flavours. Next howler was that we ordered a couple of bottle of wines. They did let us taste the first one, but just opened the second without having anyone taste it and continued in filling glasses to the brim. Main dish was an overcooked lamb on some careless mash. Quite frankly foodwise this place is a disaster. It feels like an irish guy read a book on fine dining, sold his fish and chips van and had the clever idea of opening a restaurant in a church. It’s all show, not up to any standards, grab a drink here and move on. Prices:
Sternen in Wangen sounds like a pretty normal restaurant somewhere in the uncharted areas around Dübendorf. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. Treating myself to a glass of champagne I opted for adapting the regular menu to get a good feel for the chef’s ability. You can look at at all the tibits – what was memorable that on the Jerusalem Artichoke soup was served with lobster medallions. The soup initself was so good that it didn’t even need the lobster. Also a very strong showing of skill was the beef filet with female baker’s potatoes. Now I was so thrilled that I forgot to take a picture but the potatoes were so good that I fell in love with the preparation. It goes to show that if a chef has the basics down square he can elevate classic dishes to a whole new level. Also if you consider what I drank and ate – 190 CHF is not over the top (obviously not an everyday meal):
After a hard day’s work at the Dampfbahn Furka Bergstrecke on the way home we stopped over at Brunnen for dinner at the Weisses Rössli. Entering the restaurant just 50 meters or so back from the quaint lake, a red Guide Michelin logo catches our eye, obviously we were in for a treat. Our table was reserved at the corner and we sat down. After waiting to get a menu and waiting to get our order in, our confidence was waning. Food arrived and I agree that maybe in hindsight my selection was too avantgardish. Three pieces of sauteed and breaded camembert (where actually ok), but the weird bit was the cranberry foam which was served with the cheese. Foam implies light and airy this was just berries with some slightly cream element. Main course was a veal cordon bleu with roeschti. Tastewise it was okay, roeschti decent just a tad bit heavy on the salt and the butter. The real mindboggling thing here was that the chef decided to serve a half of a strawberry on top. Plain Weird – I’m not sure what the Guide Michelin was looking for, but I was expecting more in terms of food, service and overall quality.
I’ve voiced concerns about the quality of the Tagesanzeigers food section, but I have to say the article about Steak was pretty decent. Since meat prices are reported to rise to levels of caviar by 2050 I’m happy for every vegetarian which relieves the demand pressure on the dwindling supply. I decided to take the input from Tagesanzeiger and bought a couple of club steaks at Horny’s Metzg. Good to see that young people are learning a real craft and are bold enough to run a butcher shop in Zurich. I’d hate to lose another one to soy bean farming or quorn cultivation. The steaks (altough cooked in a pan) were tasty, full fledged umami and richness you only get from a decently aged piece of beef. This really is a lazy dinner, pickup two steaks and some salad sauce at Horny’s Buchery shop, head over to the Coop, grab a bag of Romaine salad, croutons and parmesan. Cook the meat, throw the other ingredients in a bowl and you’ve got nice steak with a cesar salad all cooked in about 7 minutes. Keep in mind – that steak is not cheap:
A friend told me about a place called Dakini and a guy called Vale Fritz cooking there. Being the ever inquisite omnivore a trip to this restaurant was high on my list. The Dakini is a B & B by day and late night, Vale and his crew run it as a small restaurant during the evenings. Atmosphere is informal and the crowd is rather young. Certainly not your regular Gault Millau type of diner will be found here. The menu is simple, there are four courses and you get to choose how many you like, but that’s it (unless you have an allergy). Even though personally I have a hard time understanding why people will eat Fugu on a trip to Japan, but are fearful of getting a rash on their butt for eating peanuts…. Vale Fritz puts me in a good mood by sending a Ceviche as an amuse. I personally liked the dish, it wasn’t extremly elegant but captured the essence. I also think that this dish shows exemplary how the US is making great strides in the culinary world. Originally from Peru, ceviche is now known to housewives in Baltimore, whereas in Europe it still is more of a novelty item. Next dish was a white asparagus in a white wine sauce with some hazelnuts on top. It actually worked well together, however some creaminess would have made it better. The intermediate course were some scallops with vanilla-corn cream and some apple. Here the chef showed some real ingenuity. The flavor profiles came together nicely, the scallops (even though they weren’t seared) had enough salt to balance the sweetness of the corn and vanilla. Obviously the apple contributed the needed acid. Main course was introduced as a “masculine dish”, which consisted of tatare, carpaccio and warm beef fillet. The absolut winner on this plate was the red wine reduction which was paired with the beef. The plate was a intelligent and playful combination of temperatures and textures. Visually it wasn’t stunning. If you look at the chinaware – they send a very old school, thrift shop message. To a hip and trendy place, I think this could be solved in a better way. Dessert was a cheesecake with a nice level of saltiness and not of the usual oversweeted kind. Nice way to end the dinner. But the best part were the prices. The whole feast was a ridiculous 58 CHF. Jackie Donatz cheapest veal chop is more expensive….
The Vale Fritz at Dakini reminds me a bit of the Bonvivant in Basel, albeit a younger, wilder and less refined version. Overall it’s playful, innovative and extremly fair prices – there’s a lot of raw talent here.