Delmonico Fine Arts Restaurant, Hopfenstrasse, Zurich
Probably the most stubborn of chefs has been standing behind his clear line a the Delmonico Fine Arts restaurant for a couple of years. The menu has been slightly revamped for this spring and I decided to give it another go. The restaurant – with a very distinct interior design – draws on two main pillars, a strong presence of the Chef’s sicillian heritage and his fondness of top notch quality food. The first dish was some salmon on barba di frate (monk’s beard) and potatoes paired with an asparagus salad drizzled with a tartare sauce. I loved the salad, maybe the sauce was a bit strong and somewhat overpowered the asparagus, otherwise the dish felt fresh and refreshing a great glimpse to spring. As expected the pasta course was next and I was blown away. I called them Ravioli, but they’re actually dubbed as Agnolotti which were filled with sicillian oranges, goat ricotta and herbs. A small serving of Tagliolini was also on the course. The Agnolotti where a dream, an explosion of flavours, with a lovely balance left me craving for more and I would have sold my dining partner into slavery for another plate. This would have been illegal, hence I relinquished the idea and turned to the Tagliolini. Now some restaurants use the utterly stupid name of angel hair pasta to describe thin strands of dough cooked in salty water, but more often than not what you get is more of demonly quality. Contrary the ones here were clearly of nirvanistic quality. Instead of an amuse bouche as a small surprise a strawberry sorbet was served in between courses and the lingering salty taste played nicely with the sweetness of the sorbet. The main course was all pork, serving a piece of cheek and a piece of belly. I enjoyed the sicillian ratatouille, which consisted of zucchini, aubergine, potatoes and pine nuts. The meats were expertly prepared with touches of different citrus fruit. I think it’s brave to serve pork belly in a menu, since most women will probably shy away from it, but if you’re looking for powerful flavours, this is good. Another highlight was the dessert a semifreddo of nougat, served on prickly pear soup and topped with a filled Cannolo. It was on the sweet side (as you’d expect from an italian dessert) but it wasn’t verging on being kitschy. My kind of dessert since it shows skill and is a testament to the chef’s heritage. After dessert a parmiggiano creme brulee followed, quite frankly I thought that would have been better before the actual dessert, since it once again has a tantalizing mix of savoury and sweet flavours. I’m assuming this was a concession to classic french menus. What can I say ? This guy’s pasta is arguably the best in town. People will tell you about Cappeletti at Da Angelo or Pasta at Ciro, in true Donnie Brasco manner I would say “forget about it”. The pasta here is more modern, more exacting in its preparation and on a Michelin level. I misplaced the bill, but the menu was 208.80 CHF including a different glass of wine for every course, coffee (lovely petit fours), a beer and coffee. The guy might be stubborn, but he’s good and probably your best bet in Zurich for upscale and more modern italian food.