Posts tagged ‘Fancy’
A reader demanded to see what the real picky gourmet cooks at home. Being male and also blessed with a naturally high level of testosterone, competition is something which is automatically taken very seriously. Taking a day off to shop and cook, after numerous nights at a bar of figuring out the menu, was needed to come up with the ingredients for a dinner to impress. The menu included European Crayfish. Now looking for only the freshest ingredients, implies buying them alive and cooking them yourself. Obtaining these in Zurich proved a bit tricky, some of the so called finer fishmongers couldn’t do it (eg http://www.der-frisch-fisch.ch/), but finally Globus proved to be worth the money. The tension level rose in the kitchen, after removing the lid off the box, the sedated crayfish regained conscience and started squirming like crazy in the box. It felt like being the Sorcerer’s apprentice and only with great will power was it possible to restore order by separating the very active crayfish from each other, virtually prying them apart. The first dish was Saibling fish on pea mousse with fish supreme and some trout caviar. The next dish was Crayfish ravioli with chanterelles in a light crayfish broth. Both dishes were taken out of a magazine called Gourmetreise and a letter of recommendation was sent to the Editor in chief. Seldomly have I seen such sloppy recipes (eg I made a fish farce for one of the dishes, which was on the ingredients list, but was never actually mentioned in the recipe again) demanding such complicated and complex plating techniques. But the worst part was, that a fall magazine is actually using things like peas which are just about 6 months out of season. Up next was a scallop on a brioche toast, served with a serran ham chip and a light hollandaise. The piece de resistance was a foie gras creme brulee (and there Globus is nuts by charging an obscene 560 CHF / kg), served with some fresh tarragon. The dessert course was a home made chocolate Luxemburgerli (Swiss version of a Macaron) and Fior di Latte Ice Cream. Now how did I do ? My plating technique and skill is about as refined as that of a prison inmate slopping mashed potatoes onto his other colleagues tray/plate combination. In terms of taste I did okay, while not measuring up to be part of the Bocuse d’Or, it was advanced home cooking. What I really liked about the menu, was that it had a nice progression, clean flavours and the foie gras creme brulee was a great way of moving from the savoury to the sweet part of the menu. The thing I learned – if you add up the cost of the raw materials, add the 15 hours of work spent cooking, cleaning and shopping, only a few restaurants in Zurich are more expensive than dining at the real picky gourmet’s home. The ingredients alone weighed in at roughly 400 CHF.
Sometimes I find places by wandering around. I wanted to eat at a place at the Manesseplatz, drove past it to park and found the Delmonico Fine Arts Restaurant. I changed my plans and entered. Dimmed lights, white table cloths and no one there except a waiter and myself. He told me that they specialize in menus and that they’re actually doing good and that it would be difficult getting a table on a Friday or Saturday night as a Walk-in. I sat down, was handed a big menu and got an explanation. Every menu page has a theme (eg. “Meat delights”) and there’s a first and a second combination which both reflect this theme. A combination then again contains 2 to 4 different small dishes, the first combination is more of an appetizer and the second one is more of an entree. But you can also order all the individual components a la carte, if you wish to do so. Certainly a first for me. I mixed the first combo from the game with the second combo from the pasta themed menus. I was warned by the waiter, he said that the pasta part would be weighing roughly 300 grams, but I decided not to change my order.The waiter was extremly attentive, since I was the only person present, it just felt strange having the guy look at me all the time to see if there’s anything he could do. I concentrated on my newspaper. The amuse bouche was a vegetable soup in a shot glass which I found bland and not very creative. My first combo arrived, a plate with three dishes a Carpaccio of young pork ham with autumn salads and cheese, a game liver mousse with pistacchio and hazelnuts and a game bratwurst on a endive-mushroom ragout and onions. The bratwurst was excellent and was nicely matched with the ragout. I wasn’t happy with the other two dishes, the mousse had bitter notes which didn’t belong there. The ham, salad and cheese dish was off, the flavours didn’t connect and it just felt like a bunch of components lying on a plate. The plate which followed was quite something, it contained four pasta dishes. Pumpkin gnocchi with butter, parmigiano and black truffles, Cocoa-Tagliolini with game meat ragout, “Harp” spaghetti with sepia-carbonara and tortellini filled with cheese in a fonduta. Again it was a disappointment, the sepia-carbonara spaghetti were nice, especially the cubed bits of sepia were a surprising idea. All the other pasta dishes were bad, none of the dishes made me happy, the tortellini even reminded me of a tv dinner. I feel it’s sad that a chef of this caliber is wasting his talent. He obviously is able to cook, but he’s not focused. I had seven dishes on two plates and only two were okay. Throw out the complicated menu and refocus.
The Greulich named itself after the street it’s located on, quite a decent idea if you have an uncommon address such as Herman-Greulich-Strasse 56. The reception of the hotel also doubles as the host which welcomes you to your table, pretty neat, because it guarantees that there is always someone there to greet you. The Greulich boast 16 Gault Millau points and depicts itself as a place with spanish, catalan and oriental influences. I was getting excited to eat here. The maitre d’ was quick to attend to us and spoke fluent swiss german, I was a bit disappointed with the regular waitresses, their german skills were not up to par. In a dining establishmend of this class, perfect german is a must. We shifted our attention to the oliveoil on the table, it tasted of fresh olives and it had a clear and transparant complexion. I asked the maitre d’ what oliveoil it was, he told me knowingly that it was a Greek one. Five minutes later he reappears smiling saying he was mistaken and that it was from Spain and is being imported on a private basis to Switzerland through Meier & Rüegg. I ordered the 6 course menu, which is the same as the 7 course menu, save the dessert. In terms of food the Greulich lived up to it’s reputation, most of the dishes I had of the menu were good, with some minor detractions. It started with a Ravioli (no dough, radish circles) and mushrooms. Nice balance of sweetness and acidity, the salad and the carrot chip in the middle were forgettable, the raviolis nice. Followed by a perfect scallop on swiss chard and a confusing pearl onion, skip the onion and enjoy the scallop. The next dish consisted of boring beans and a lovely seared tuna on leeks served on a cocodolli (?), which is a crunchy bread. A great exercise in texture – from soft and feeble (tuna) to fibered (leek) and ending with a crunch (bread). A sweet and luscious tomato was served on top of a charr (Saibling) and lentils with green beans. I am a fan of tomatoes and together with the charr and the lentils that was a very harmonious triad. The green beans added a nice texture change, to the softer lentils. I like the english word of offal in cooking which refers to products which are typically not used that often, such as sweetbreads, lungs or oxtail. The last dish was a piece of duck liver served on top of oxtail meat. I liked it very much since it was intense, rich and very creamy as well as a perfect example to show that a heavy red wine still works best with red meat. I finished with some cheese and was a bit disappointed, that the waitress had to read every cheese from a piece of paper. She was also too generous in the amounts per serving. Luckily I didn’t order any dessert, since a friandise platter was served with another half dozen of sweets. Greulich is an expensive gourmet restaurant which fulfills on its promise of high-quality, imaginative food of spanish/catalan decent (I wasn’t to sure of the oriental influence). On the downside, if only 8 diners are left in the main dining room and are lingering over coffee, smoking should be allowed. We moved to the bar, as did most of the other guests. Prices:
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: