Posts tagged ‘Expensive’
Waldheim caught my eye a long time ago and finally the chance arose to grab lunch here. The place was a quarter full and seats in the garden were freely available. The location is in the middle of nowhere, which is helping the availability of seats. Waldheim sports a business lunch at a hefty price. In the pursuit of fine dining and ensuring that our readers are well informed, we went for it. First up was a sandwich of buffalo mozzerella and tomatoes. Classic ingredients and a very tasty mozzerella were noted on the plus side. However the whole sandwich approach fell apart. It was a bit difficult to eat and it wasn’t a good idea. The accompaning pepper sauce gave it a nice little twang. Main course was beef with chanterelles served with a risotto. The main didn’t come together in terms of flavor. The sauce was simply to overpowering and the dish wasn’t balanced well. The risotto was okay, the dried tomatoes enhancing the flavor profile. Even the nice garden can’t save the day, the place is simply too expensive for what they offer. CHF 41 for this type of lunch in an obscure side road in Bern is too expensive. Compare it to the “Weisses Rössli” in Zurich which has 13 Gault Millau points serves a business lunch of the same level for CHF 29. It must be the high level of government workers which are invited for lunch by lobbyist why a place like this can get away with these prices. Just to prove my point, a former high ranking member of the consumer advocates group is dining next to us, why she wasn’t protesting the prices couldn’t be determined.
Mesa a nice place. After you look at the website or at the latest when you walk in the door, the restaurant makes one statement – fine dining. Formal attire is not necessary, but wearing a jacket doesn’t hurt. Luckily, my commanding aura makes me look I belong here in any place. Mesa sports 17 Gault Millau points and one Michelin star. To kill the suspense, it does so rightly. Interestingly enough, the amuse bouche gets served before you get to look at the menu. This startled me a bit, since I remember an incident at the Birchegg, but was reassured that we’ll get the menu after the amouse bouche. Marcus Lindner offers a Symhony of the Senses, which is essentially a six course menu. The trouble the hardest dining man in Zurich has, is that the excitement of the food clouds his memory. While this is never a good sign for a detailed field report, it’s a sign of excellence in regards to the food. The only place Mesa compares to is probably Spice. While Spice is a bit cleaner in flavors and a little less playful, Mesa is a bit wilder on the combinations of products, eg. mixing pomegranate with fish and bacon. Still the plates are great fun, sometimes the tidbits are a tad small, since you want to try out different combinations of flavors, and the permutations are thus limited. Stay off the bread, even though it’s excellent and save some room for cheese. If you compare Mesa directly say to Greulich you see why Mesa has a higher rating. The charming lady (speaking the dialect from Bern), knew everything about the dozen cheeses she showed us, whereas in the Greulich it was read of the piece of paper. Another sign for the professional charm was the fact, that even though we showed up at 20:00, we dined until almost 23:30. Not once were we rushed and even the cook Mr. Lindner stuck around until we’d finished the main courses and personally came to say hello. Dining at Mesa comes with a very hefty price tag, as most places with a Michelin star do. But think of it this way – 450 CHF was spent on food consisting of two amouse bouche, eight appetizers, two main courses, two desserts and two cheese courses. Doing the math ends you up at a price per course of 33 CHF. Now if you factor in the quality of the work and of the ingredients, you end up with a decent value for your money. The absolute numbers obviously still mark this as a very special event:
Restaurant Madrid at the Froschaugasse in Niederdorf, is one of those places where you’ll walk by and never really feel drawn to go for a meal there. Luck had it, that a colleague of mine setup a lunch meeting at the Madrid. The restaurant has a classic, traditional feel to it, certainly a safe bet with men over 40. I started with some veal ravioli in a butter foam sauce. Now I’ve ranted at the same dish I had in the Schoenau, but at least here you could see the ravioli and it was presented in a clean and stylish fashion. Taste was subtle, just the way it should be. I ordered the FILETE ESPECIAL “MADRID” as my main course. Now after looking at the picture I can understand if you feel a bit hesitant and agree that the colors are not exactly playful… Still I liked the creaminess of the sauce and the olives, it was a decent piece of meat. What I’m still dreaming about are the potatoes which were served with the meat. I know the germans are really proud of their Bratkartoffeln, but the spanish ones are just so much better. Crispy discs of potatoes and a touch of spiciness, I’m actually thinking of going vegeterian all the way the next time I’m here. Dessert was a classic Creme Catalan, for some reason I feel that the Creme Catalan is perfect if it needs at least a medium amount of spoon whipping to break the caramelised sugar sealing on the top. It passed my elaborate screening process. On the downside I did feel like an American honeymooner on his first trip to Europe when the bill arrived. We ordered a digestif to go with our espresso and the waiter took advantage of our good mood and told us he had a good brandy. We didn’t asked how much this was going to set us back and found out that it cost whopping 22 CHF! And not it wasn’t 3 times better than a decent Williams. The place has nice food but even if you deduct the alcoholic beverages, it is expensive:
Leo’s Bistro is located just next to the Stauffacher. It obviously isn’t a chic and sleek restaurant, where highly paid gastronomic consultants worked on a new and exciting concept. We get lucky and get the nice lady as our waiter. Now she’s not nice in terms of your hormones starting to dance around, she radiates a more motherly type of love. I always like when you’re shown the type of food that is going to be prepared for you and we had a good look at the different bits and pieces. The only strange thing was, that the meat was still wrapped in plastic, which doesn’t make a very good impression. The amuse bouche was a potato soup with some chives, nothing to complain there. I decided on the Schwartenmagen with a bit of salad. Again a tasty and crafty dish. It held what it promised and shows great skill of the cook. I do have to mention the dish my colleague had. It was a smoked piece of foie gras. I originally wanted to order that, but settled for a sample from my colleague. My mistake, because that certainly was the best appetizer of the evening. My main was a cote du boeuf with pieces of marrow on top of it and baked over with a bit of cheese. If you’re into meat, this is a killer dish. A nice piece of meat and the salty and moist pieces of marrow made this a lovely combination. I had a side dish of risotto and that was totally horrible. Oversalted and overcooked, just a mushy, disgusting mess. Still this is a restaurant you visit for the meat and the cote du boeuf was excellent. Dessert was a prune sorbet topped with some prune schnaps (vielle prune). Asides from the risotto debacle, this is a great place for men. The three of us had appetizers, main courses and desserts plus quite a lot to drink. Aperitifs, 2 bottles of red wine, water, grappa and espressi came to a whopping 500 CHF. I was kind of surprised at the steep financial hit, since it wasn’t quite adequate, even though the food was good:
On the same day I enjoyed a light lunch I had a dinner reservation at the Le Buffet de la Gare des Eaux-Vives in Geneva. Now “buffet de la gare” reminds me of train journeys with grandparents as a kid and basically quick meals in between changing trains. Spiez and Olten are two towns in Switzerland which only seem to exist because they had a Bahnhof Buffet. So I was kind of doubtful as to what place this was going to be. Boy – was I in for a surprise. Arriving at 7:30 the place was empty and we were the first people to arrive. A nice cart was wheeled to our table (which was the second nicest in the back corner of the restaurant) and we we’re asked if we cared for an aperitif. Being the thoughtful people we are, we cared and decided on a Blanc de Blanc (only later did I notice that a glass was charged at a whopping 24 CHF). A small ball of rice with some trufle infusion was the appetizer. A nice twist of simple and luxurious. Also the application of the truffle infusion had a playful twist, since there was a plastic squeezable container you could use. Amuse-bouche was a bit mixed, not a great fan of the foie-gras bit but the soup was lovely. Pumpkin soup and layered on top truffle foam, a nice combination. Next course was a Pithivier (a type of pastry) with mushrooms – the french description was lengthtier and sounded better. It was a terrific pastry, beautifully arranged and all the accompaning components worked with it in a harmonic way. My main course was slow roasted pork in three different pieces with some crunchy onions, some sort of potato, a bit of sorbet and smudges of roast juice, pesto and caramelized cider. Too give it a nice appearence, brussel sprout leaves were strewn over the plate. I like plates where you can take little bits of everything and combine them into different compostions to taste and this was a lovely combination. For dessert I tried a pear and olive combination. After a let down at Greulich with Olives for dessert I wanted to see if it would be better here. The olive and pear worked nicely giving an interesting flavor combination. The only thing off was the Hüppen (cigar shaped pastry), it was chewy and tough. What really excited me about the whole meal is the beautiful presentation of all the dishes. The plating was exquisite, delicate and vibrant. The only downside is, that if just four hours earlier you already had a gourmet menu with cheese and dessert, you feel a bit stuffed after a second one on the same day. Still this has become one of my places of choice in Geneva. The financial hit is steep:
Caduff has a sort of a pre-subprime crisis feel to it. The large bar area, the high walls and the name wineloft all sort of imply Yuppie place. But like good looking women in certain baltic cities, looks can be deceiving. Currently Caduff is doing their yearly game special and that gave me the final push to actually drop by. The menu consists of two pages, one with food items and the other page explaining the high prices. For the unsuspecting diner this might be a necessity, Caduff simply isn’t cheap. But if you’ve ever bought an original 5 dollar Polo shirt in Vietnam and wondered why it fell apart in the washing machine you understand. We opted for the 5 course tasting menu. Since I also saw Capuns on the menu, which is a pivotal dish for south-east swiss cuisine (Graubünden), being the frugal diner I am, we turned our 5 course into a 6 course dinner. Amuse-bouche was a simple lentil-salad accompanied by a confit tomato and a piece of duck breast. Nothing special here, except a lovely tomato. It was a nice sweet and sour combination and a great start into the meal. The highlight of the meal was the doe terrine which came next. It was truffled, topped with a port gelee and accompanied by shallots, a fig and an apple. Except for the fig, which was bleak compared to the other components, the terrine was hands-down the best I’ve ever had. Truffle is superbly dominant but it was well balanced by the terrine. Supreme satisfaction, pure bliss was the feeling of eating this dish and it was fun to see how the flavors melted and interacted by adding pieces of the surrounding shallots and fruits. A Ravioli was served in a game essence with some brunoise vegetables. The essence was made from red wine, which was interesting to experience since such a light broth having such a strong taste. The capuns which followed were good, especially the dough was silkier than your rustic variant and the bacon was of very high quality. But compared to capuns my mother makes they weren’t that much better to justify the price of 26 CHF for two pieces. I wasn’t too fond of the grouse (Moorhuhn) which was accompanied by porcini risotto. Grouse is extremly gamy in taste and reminds me more of an acquired taste. The porcini in the risotto were good, but I’ll stay away from grouse in the future. The doe back (Rehrücken) with spatzle and rotkraut with a creamy sauce again showed the very high quality of ingredients and handiwork Caduff offers. Especially the marron (marroni) riding on the rotkraut was perfect, still a bit juicy and a caramelized coating around it, a refreshing change from the usual dry fare you get elsewhere. We closed it off with some cheese, coffee, spirits and cigarettes. We felt great after the meal. What really needs to be singled out is the quality of the service. Most places are friendly and will fill up your glasses at the right time, the waiter we had here also knew everything about the food he served and was able to answer all the obscure questions we directed at him. I really like this place, it’s fun going down to Mr. Caduff’s wine cellar to have him recommend a bottle of wine and having him show you the other room where he has an air rifle target range. Unlike the other big southeast swiss cook in Zurich (named Jacky…… ), Caduff can be recommended highly for the quality of the food and the ambiance. Bill
Soccer practice was calling and this time I had a quick meal at the Steinburg in Küsnacht. The appearance and the dining room are typical for restaurants of this type, they attempt to intimidate clients, so that they are too scared to complain. Walking into the place, you at least know that your meal is not going to cheap and it certainly doesn’t have the air of a fun place to be. Since game season is beginning I chose a wild game terrine and a deer entrecote. Like restaurants in this league customarily do, I was served an amuse-bouche. Now we’re here in the beginning of fall, on the lake of Zurich and I get a spoon with a shrimp based amuse-bouche. It had a nice texture and taste, but what the hell is the cook thinking – I just hope he doesn’t buy his groceries online from Vietnam. The terrine was excellent, it had a perfect silky, succulent texture, a nice, lingering taste of game and it matched nicely with the sweet and fruity sauce. The two types of bread that went with it, the dark one was spot on, the white should have been fed to the ducks. The Spätzli which were served with the deer, were lovely, because they were roasted and browned in butter after they cooked in the water. Unfortunatley they were severly hampered by the crumble on top of it. It tasted of breadcrumbs and butter, but I wasn’t able to find out what it was and was furious, that someone destroyed almost perfect food with such a stupid idea. Brussel sprouts weren’t soft enough for my tasting. The meat was encompanied by a lovely mushroom sauce and was truly a good tasting deer dish. All in all, I’ll be back If I need to impress someone with a nice restaurant and don’t want to take any chances on the food. It must be said, that the food is expensive – details see bill: