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Restaurant Thon Sai, Kalkbreitestrasse, Zurich

Vegetable tempura

Chicken Satay

Panaeng Curry mit Felchenfilet und gebratenem Reis

I’ve seen this restaurant Thon Sai a couple of times and by chance we decide to head over there for dinner. The place is small but we get a table on a late Saturday night nevertheless, without having a reservation. It’s quite clear that the owner is proud of his place and takes pride in running it. He’s also concerned about your health, he recommended tofu for the diner asking for a vegetable dish, since it was good for the body. A small surprise was that they sent out an amuse bouche, some form of vegetable tempura. While it wasn’t what you’d expect from a japanese tempura, it was tasty and was a good bite. My starter was a Chicken Satay, the chicken could have been a tad more tender and I like the Satay sauce with more salt, but it was a good effort. My main course was delicious, I didn’t quite follow the tofu suggestion, but decided on the local fish to go with my Panaeng Curry. It was maybe a tad too creamy, but of a very nice taste otherwise. A special mention is warranted by the excellent fried rice, seldom is it that good. Overall this place is one of the best Thai places in Zurich. I got a chance to sample some of the other plates of my diners and the one I’d like to call out was the Papaya salad. I’ll be back. Prices are fair:

Rechnung

Restaurant Römerhof, Aarbon, Thurgau

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

Entenlebertörtchen, gebratene Entenleber, Entenleber mit einem Hauch von Schokolade und Passionsfrucht, Entenleber Catalana

Apfel-Curryschaumsuppe mit Apfelchutney, St. Jakobsmuscheln im Knuspermantel

Zweierlei von Lamrücken, Baumkuchenkartoffel, Marktgemüse

Dessert


My colleagues are getting older (somehow it seems more rapidly than I am) and are thus becoming more set in their ways. Some of the dining philosophies I’m surrounded with are “If it don’t taste like Schnitzel, I won’t like it” or “Risotto? Nahhh, don’t like rice mush”. Always up for a culinary challenge I proposed to grab a fancy dinner together and try out something new (and of course I wanted to try out the Römerhof since a couple of years). Surprisingly after a modest amount of kicking & screaming of some and plain enthusiasm of others we were on our way. The big bulge under the suit of my german colleague was his backup sandwich in case he’d leave hungry. Our group was big enough that we were shown into a small private dining room of the restaurant which has a good size for party of 6-10 people. After a couple of amuse bouches we dived right into the dishes. The selection of foie gras was a nice showing, four different preparations paired with a Gewürztraminer. I’ll be very picky and have to call out that I’ve made a better fois gras brûlée than the Catalana version here. I would have liked a herb on top which would have given the dish more depth. The rest of the component were up to par, nothing to complain an honorable mention goes to the chocolate roll with foie gras in the center. The next dish was my favourite of the evening. A very well balanced Apple Curry soup with a Coquilles St. Jacques (scallop) in a crunchy wrapper. If you compare this dish to the foie gras plate you can clearly see, that sometimes less is more. The main course was lamb and I guess as with many main courses in topnotch restaurants this falls into the same category – great handicraft, solid showing but not truly exciting or surprising. I personally believe there are two driving factors at play – alcohol and tiring palate. By now you’ll have drunken 2-4 glasses of wine and are starting to feel a certain buzz, also after four challenging plates you’re palate is not as fresh as it used to be. With most people these factors call for stronger, more trusted and well known flavors as well as a subconscious urge for comfort. Hence the main course tends to be less imaginative than the appetizers. Dessert included a nice sorbet and set a good ending point to the meal. At the end of the meal even Schnitzel guy was no longer hungry and was full of praise for the food. The evening was deemed an overall success and even I had to conceed that my face lights up when I see Schnitzel on our Cafeteria’s menu. In summary the Römerhof is well worth a visit, its cuisine and service are up to par and deliver what you can expect for this type of price (7 people including drinks):

Rechnung

Fischers Fritz, Campingplatz Wollishofen, Zurich

Cocos Gemüsekorb für 2 mit Sardellenmayonnaise

Rotaugenknusperli mit Pommes Frites

Summer’s gone but I still have a review left of Fischers Fritz. It took me three attempts to get a table here since it was very well booked. The restaurant has the typical Zurich crowd, with lots of people trying hard to look rich and famous. It was hot and we decided on a fresh appetizer – a basket of vegetables with Sardine mayonnaise. What sounded like a good idea, was a badly executed starter. It was literally some cucumber, radish, zucchini and carrot split down the middle and thrown into a bucket. Too much vegetable and simply a very poor effort. I did like the fish and chips. There’s an actual selection of different types of fish from the lake of Zurich and I got the Common Roach (Rotauge) version. Tasty fish. The place was okay, but there’s not enough privacy and some of the co-diners are a pain in the ass. If you want to try different Fischknusperli (Swiss Fish & Chips) variants, this is a good choice.

au Chat Noir, rue Beau-Séjour, Lausanne

Amuse bouche salade avec pulpo

Mille feuilles de tourteau à l'avocat

Artichauts soufflé glacées a la nicoise

Chop d'agneau


It’s always a difficult call – you only have a couple of days in a city and you’re looking for some interesting places. We settled on going for dinner at au Chat Noir. It’s a brasserie like interior with a lot of wood. There are no menus and you choose your dishes of a black board on the wall. It started with an amuse bouche which was a small bite of octopus on a bed of potato salad. Nice small bite, which influenced the somewhat mediterranean influence this brasserie carries. I was really looking forward to my first course a mille-feuille layered with avocado and crab. I thought the dish fell short, the avocado cream was too heavy and smothered the finer crab. This should be executed in a much more subtle manner. The next course was excellent, it was a “artichoke souffle” which was cold on top of an artichoke lower part. The a la nicoise play where the potato chips, tomatoes, olives and other tibits sprinkled across it. The slight bitter note of the artichoke went good with the other flavours. This was an imaginative and interesting dish. The lamb chops were okay, I wasn’t too fond of the starch which was in a bar shaped form. The restaurant did have a nice mix of fine-dining powerhouse and comfortable eatery, however the food overall wasn’t consitent enough to justify the 15 Gault Millau points it was sporting. Finances:

Rechnung

Brasserie Bavaria, Rue du Petit-Chêne, Lausanne

Vichyssoise


Röschti


Tartare

During a stay in Lausanne I was in desperate need of a hearty dinner and we ended up at the
Brasserie Bavaria.

I was a bit skeptical since I wasn’t aiming for german food in Lausanne, but was pleasantly surprised when I read the menu. Classic and rustic sums up the contents, with a swiss french touch. My starter was a vichysoisse which was a tad on the heavy side ,but since I was drinking beer matched it nicely. As a main course I had selected a beefsteak tartare with roeschti. Not only was the roeschti (Bern style with bacon) spot on, the tartare was a huge success. The meat was cut into recognizable small cubes and not just a mushed up brunoise you get at most places serving it. Maybe a tad more spice would have been approriate, but overall the meat was nicely featured. The reason I needed a hearty dinner in the first place, was that I had found a “critter” in my hotel room and that conjured weird images of thousands of these hiding behind the hotel room panelling. Anyone who can help identify what it is (the hotel was guessing it’s a forest insect imported by a previous customer…) let me know, current guess is it’s a german cockroach. But back to the Brasserie – prices weren’t cheap, but it reflected the proper cooking and ingredients and overall was good value for money. Facture (5 people):

L'addition


Unidentified Critter (immobilized)

Parkhuus (Park Hyatt), Beethovenstrasse, Zurich

romanasalat, speck, briochecroûtons, reggiano parmesan-knoblauchdressing

bauernbratwurst, gebraten, schalotten, geräuchert, rotweinsenf

gurke, mariniert, senfkörner, weissweinessig, kalt serviert;pilze, gemischt, geröstet, im holzofen;grüne bohnen, gebraten, lardo di colonnata, rote zwiebeln;fenchel, geschmort, dill, briochecroûtons, safransud

Vacheringlace


My dinner took me to the Parkhuus, the restaurant beloning to the Park Hyatt. The people in the dining room are either here on business or trying hard to look like they belong to the rich and famous (and maybe some do). There’s obviously money around to be spent and this seems like a good premise for a restaurant. I really liked their menu, it might be on the large side, but it’s fitting for a hotel restaurant of this size with a fully staffed brigade. Instead of using proper names, they call out the individual ingredients, cool, but a fading trend. My first dish was a rendition of a Caesar’s salad. I liked the chunky bacon, but the brioche croutons was lacking crunch and I would have liked a bit more oomph on the sauce. The secret of a Caesar’s salad lies in the almost meat like umami quality. As a main dish I skipped all the lavish meat cuts they described and settled on a simple pork bratwurst. I really liked the big selection of side orders. I was disappointed so much I was dismayed. The sausage was overcooked and dry, and neither the mushrooms, beans, fennel nor the cucumber salad were really good. The beans were undercooked, the cucumbers got boring very quickly at least the mushrooms were soso. The point here is, why go through all the trouble of serving it in a lot of different and cute dishes, giving you almost an old school formal dining feel, when the food lacks excitement. The most disappointing thing remained the bratwurst, you can get a better cooked one at any local Grümpelturnier or opening of a garden center. While I understand making small incision cuts into a veal bratwurst or cervelat, for a pork bratwurst it just makes the fat disappear out of it very quickly, this seems like cooked by someone who’s not big on wurst. Dessert comforted me somewhat it was a decent take on a Vacherin Glace.

Prices:

Rechnung

Eder’s Eichmühle, Eichmühle, Wädenswil

Thunfischtatar

Heimische Krebse mit Kartoffelstockgratin

Schwarzflossenheilbut mit Spinat, Vichysoisse und Forellenkaviar

Mediterrane Gnocchetti Sardi mit Zucchini, Auberginen, Oliven und grillierten Riesenkrevetten

Ragoût von Maine Hummer und Wildwasserkrevetten mit Sojasprossen, Sepiaspaghettini und Lauch

Dessert Sans souci Dorothée, Dessert Ueberraschung

I had a reservation at the Eder’s Eichmühle, a classy restaurant in an old farmhouse in Wädenswil. The menu is of medium size and has a significant amount of shellfish dishes listed. So I was excited to give some of them a try and decided on skipping meat as a main course. After the amuse bouche my first dish was a local crayfish with a mashed potato gratin. The mash was great (albeit a BMI increaser) but overtook the crayfish’s rather delicate aroma. Next course was a piece of grilled halibut, served on spinach and vichysoisse, topped with some trout caviar. I thought this was a well thought out dish, the cold soup taking on some temperature from the spinach gave it another dimension besides the textural and flavor contrasts. Small Gnocchi came my way with a bit of vegetables and some shrimp. Strong, bold flavours, just what you would expect from such a pasta dish, nothing to complain. The only thing which I thought was weird, was the fact that when the couple next to mine table got up and left, a dog emerges from below their table. In all fairness, I hadn’t noticed the mutt before, but when he got up and shook his fur right next to my plate, my blood started boiling. I’ll say it again – dogs have no place in a fine dining restaurant – no exceptions. So I calmed down with another glass of wine and got the main course. It was some Maine lobster & freshwater shrimp served on Sepia Spaghettini with leek and bean sprouts. I didn’t quite understand the dish. The noodles with the leek and sprouts were seasoned with soy sauce. Quite frankly it tasted like ordinary fried noodles you’d get at a Suan Long Chinese restaurant. Pairing these noodles with rather expensive product such as Maine lobster seemed weird. Funny enough when I mentioned (in a more polite way) that I didn’t understand the dish to the chef, he just kind of shrugged his shoulder and mentioned he’s had that on the menu for 15 years. It kind of made sense, people who visited fine dining establishments 15 years ago didn’t eat a lot of chinese food in their age, hence the taste was still a novelty for them. But in today’s world, it’s dated which shows if he’s still serving a dish without reworking it for such a long time. A funny thing was the dessert surprise I ordered, it’s a huge plate of different tibits, great to eat, if you’re still somewhat hungry. Overall I am disappointed, since there was good and bad. I think the shellfish served wasn’t portrayed in it’s best light and that some dishes are dated. Prices are actually fair, considering the products I ate:

Rechnung