Posts tagged ‘Nice’
After an ill-fated steakhouse which lasted four months, a new Café has sprung up at the intersection of Zurlinden and Martastrasse. Quite frankly it’s beautiful. The handwriting screams gay interior designer with taste, but actually it’s two ladies with a lucky hand at the Brockenstube (thrift store). The furniture is spot on and even though nothing really matches, it’s as tasteful as the petit salon at my grandmother’s house. The menu sprouts an somewhat english influenced menu, since every afternoon you get fresh scones. I was there during the morning and decided to stay on and grab lunch. The special of the day was a sheperds pie with salad. Now the salad alone was great. Instead of just a couple of leaves of lettuce, it contained seeds, avocado, zucchini and tomatoes. The sheperds pie was a tad small for your average non-gay, non-vegan, non-lactoseintolerant male, but together with the bread it was enough. The other option is to press your nose to the glass case showing off homemade pies and cakes which you can grab for dessert. You might have noticed that I was pretty ecstatic with the place. People flock to places like Z am Park or Sisu, I think they pale in comparison to Kafi Dihei. Unfortunately this place will be overrun pretty soon, especially for brunch on Sundays and I then will no longer have a tasteful and quiet place to read my newspaper or work. Life is tough, just like for Jack Bauer in 24, who never get’s a moment of peace either. But you as my valued reader (and if you’re female I’d like to add that you are looking beautiful today) and trusted companion on my gastronomic ventures, should hold me sharing this gem with you in high regards. And while I’m on a roll I’d like to add that Zurich geht aus have a motley crew of food writers instead of a a select fews, causing wildly diverging reviews. So to finish up – if you want to check something new (which I’m sure you’ll see here eventually) go to Café Dihei. Prices:
Finding a nicer terrace than the Belvoirpark Restauran is going to be difficult in Zurich. The restaurant is part of the associated hospitality management school. All of the staff (or at least I presume all of the staff) are part of the school and are learning and prepping themselves for management careers in hotels, restaurants and affiliated industry. The course started off with an imaginative course which combined sweet corn, elderberry, salmon and cucumber to a light summery dish with a soup and a bit of fish on the side. Someone in the kitchen was showing creativity and also restraint by not going overboard. Main course was a very traditional Zürcher Geschnetzeltes including kidneys (upon request) with Rösti. To my dismay the Rösti was somewhat caked up, the strips of potatoes lost their individual texture. I would have enjoyed a creamier version of the minced veal, it would have added more velvetyness to the dish. A highlight was the dessert wagon. A beautifully crafted two dozen dishes (eg. swan pastries) are assorted on the wagon (which is lifted by four unfortunate members of staff down the stairs and back up depending on where the next order is placed). You’d want everything and only through great self-control is it able to make a selection of a few small tibits. Overall this seems like a great place for stopping by for some after-shopping sweets after an afternoon of shopping. Prices:
Seldom am I truly happy at discovering a great new location – Markthalle wins an unconditional recommendation. Beware that you actually enter the Restaurant Markthalle and not the Restaurant Viadukt which is also close by. The place has a bistro like feeling. Next to the market stands roughly 20 tables are available for dining. The clou is that the menu is mirrored according to what’s being sold at the market stands. So you’ll get fresh, seasonal produce and some inspiring ideas on what you could cook with the ingredients yourself. I started off with a great bone marrow, huge portion, lovely taste – absolutely up my alley. The only point which could be critiqued – and I never thought I would say this – the portion size was too big. All dishes are served at once and everyone helps himself. I wasn’t too big a fan of the veal hamburger (Hacktätschli), but enjoyed the Pommes Allumettes, the mixed carrots and the mushrooms. All were nicely seasoned, simple and delicious. The biggest surprise for me was that this quality of food was rather cheap – Dinner for two – including appetizers, mains, 5dl wine and one dessert were less than 150 CHF (and this in a trendy location in Zurich):
Ever heard of a working german food concept ? Vapiano is one. Surprising to see the Germans actually successfully making italian food. An italian friend once told me that when the german engineers started analyzing water pressures, temperatures, flow rates… of espresso machines, suddenly decent coffee started appearing in Germany. So with the same seriousness and determination Vapiano was created as a franchise system. To cut to the chase, the food is surprisingly good. You get in line at the pasta station, pick your type of pasta (roughly 10 varieties) and choose a sauce. My choice was a Granchi di Fiume (River lobster) with linguine. The gentleman at the pasta station asked me wether I wanted chili with that and I was so stupid to say yes. The pasta was good, the sauce nice, the only thing which wasn’t good was the heat of the chili which overpowered the subtle crustacean taste. If this is where fast food is moving, fresh ingredients, nicely prepared at decent prices (keep in mind that you get a plate of pasta for the same price as a large Whopper menu with Onion rings) then the future is looking good.
Next to the Bahnhof Wipkingen Nordbruecke is a small cafe / bar, which is mainly geared at Wipkinger locals. Sunday noon the place was packed, but a sofa with a coffee table was free. Briefly looking at the menu a couple of different sized breakfasts, omelettes, muesli and scrambled eggs were available. The small breakfast and an omelette with cheese and ham, were selected as the breakfast items of this sunday. After having read two sunday papers and having had a double espresso, the waiting time did seem a bit long for an omelette and the inclination to complain grew. Just before reaching for the third sunday paper, finally the food arrived. It was absolutey worth the wait. The small breakfast was okay, but the omelette was fantastic. Just a little cheese and a little ham on the inside, the batter was filled with basil and other herbs, panfried in a bit of butter. This gave it a great deal of aroma, a nice balance and essentially making this one of the best breakfast omelettes in Zurich. Priced at CHF 12.50, this is a great way to spend a rainy sunday noon.
The Restaurant Gruental is not exactly something you’d find by walking around town. Located near the Gemeinschaftszentrum in Wipkingen it is slightly outside the center, making it perfect if you’re looking for a meal without tourists and travelling salesmen. The vibe is a bit alternative and radiates cozy & comfy. The menu is right up my alley, small, changes often and obviously homemade. Starter was a livermousse with strawberry and watercress. Nice and smooth, but a bit too much on the chilies, still even the strawberries worked. The real fascination lay in the main course. Homemade ravioli, made after an old recipe from the canton of Graubünden accompanied with butter, cheese and some onions. The sweetness of the pears was mirrored by the onions and all encompassed in the velvety butter, quiet frankly I wasn’t expecting something this good. Dessert was a tarte tatin with whipped cream. Looking at the quality of the food, comparing it to the prices, the Restaurant Gruental deserves a recommendation. It is not necessarily the place for a romantic dinner yuppie style or a formal event, but the quality of the food makes it perfect for a nice getaway during your working week. On a side note, if the Gault Millau decides to give the Restaurant Helvetia 14 points (2010 Guide), then Gruental should be rated as well.
An optimisation in the personal schedule of the Real Picky Gourmet led to the Chateaux Schadau for lunch. Sitting on the shores of the lake of Thun under a nice porch with the Moench, Eiger and Jungfrau mountains in the back, this seemed like the proper way to kick off an army repetition course. The good looking, bikini clad female sun bather on the lawn added to the cheerful mood. The first dish was a tatare made from Piemontese beef topped with an espuma hollandaise. Asides from the salad, the taste was there and the slightly moussier hollandaise gave it a more interesting texture. Main course was a char (Saibling) from the lake of thun. No complaints, really lovely where the noisette potatoes, which had an almost Gnocchi like texture. Together with the confit tomatoes this was a well executed dish. A bit quirky was the chefs inclination to put chervil (Kerbel) on to every plate including the amouse bouche. Musing over the next couple of weeks ahead of me, looking out the beautiful lake of Thun, I’ve really come to agree with the Secretary of Defense Ueli Maurer – the Swiss Army really is the best army in the world. If you ever wonder what you have to do to start your army service off like this, volunteer for guarding everyone’s personel belonging, while they run over to the armory and leverage the Gepäckaufbewahrung from the local train station.
The Weisses Rössli is the typical place you walk by day after day and you do not even realise that it’s there. Upon closer inspection it sports 13 Gault Millau points and on the inside clearly a powerhouse air. On Fridays a couple of the patrons will smoke cigars after lunch. The menu is a bit confusing, that’s why on lunch it pays to go with the special of the day. This day the appetizer was a fennel salad. A slight bitternes to it, well executed and a nice change up to the regular soup or plain salad you get elsewhere. The Rössli prides itself on the pasta and the main dish was veal ragout with noodles. This dish almost made me cry, everything was perfectly cooked and the sauce was simply to die for. Complex, rich and simply full of love. My inner lust and desire for food was stirred and my craving increased. To finish up I ordered a chocolate mousse, nicely accompanied with some strawberry sauce. Looking at the presentation it became obvious that the cook had a bad incident with a Rorschach test. All in all, my favourite lunch place in Zurich, since 29.50 CHF for an app and a main of this quality is simply unrivaled:
Update: Stephan is right it’s on Baeckerstrasse.
Finally real japanese food is starting to appear in Zurich. Ooki is a small place near Helvetiaplatz specialising in noodle soups. It has become very popular and on most nights it is advisable to make a reservation. The sake selection is rather small, so it’s a safe choice to stick to the Asahi beer. The typical Gyozas (essentially a type of dumpling) found in Zurich are some of the deep-frozen Migros Anna Best integrated meal solution type. Ooki has handmade, fresh Gyozas, with your choice of meat or vegetable. Together with some hot oil and some vinegar this is a lovely bite and a good showcase of the type of food here. You can choose other rice based appetizers, but the Gyoza is unbeaten. Japanese eat everything at once so without much delay we were served our soups. Of the four different flavours, which are available, the Miso variant was the best. Salty, balanced and with a strong Umami flavor. In the soup you’ll find beef, noodles, vegetables, and half an egg. For roughly 90 CHF for two, with apps, mains and a lot of alcohol (my little sister was the big drinker) you get a really good deal and excellent taste. Certainly a good alternative to eating a burger.
As a food critic, choosing the next restaurant is an elaborate process. Poring over other publications, the personal notes and a map of the city, careful delibration is put into making the selection for the night. The reason Drei Stuben was selected was a bit different. Volker Eckel, the gentleman who lured the Grasshopers (GC) into believing he was going to invest 300 Mio CHF into the club, was credited by my favourite quality newspaper with living in a room above the Drei Stuben restaurant. A guy who lured Erich Vogel into beliving the 300 Mio CHF story, must know something about fine dining and so Drei Stuben it was. The impression of the restaurant is deceiving. You might be tricked into believing this is an upscale Schnitzel place, but after you open the menu you clearly see that someone is into fine cuisine. The appetizer was a seasonal asparagus salad. Lovely, perfectly cooked asparagus with some pine nuts. Simple, delicious and absolute perfect execution. I was deeply impressed, and didn’t know that it was going to get better. Milk lamb from Poschivao, with chorizo potatoes, morels and scallions. The lamb was tender and succelent, perfectly cooked, a true reverence towards woollen animals. Not quiet sure about the scallions, they were nice but not really needed. The morels (expertly prepared) and chorizo potatoes needed no other company. I also liked the vibe of the place. A strange woman in her early thirties and a man in his late fourties entered. They looked a bit like deers staring into a headlight. The woman timidly asked if they could eat something small, since she was a bit surprised as the place is a lot more low-key at lunch. Instead of wishing them goodbye they served them a soup and half portion of ravioli. They were really squirming in their seats and I felt sorry for them. Still the place has a nice vibe, swiss, classy but not over the top powerhouse type of place. Still if someone lives here and offers you 300 Mio CHF, think twice before paying for his lunch.
The food is excellent, prices mirror that: