Posts tagged ‘Rigiblick’
One of my favourite restaurants in Zurich, the Spice has a new crew which is running the show. Felix Episser is travelling the world and his former sous-chef – Christian Nickel – has stepped up to the plate and is running the show. Lucky me, a fellow gourmet and food writer invited me lunch to try it out. The place is half full for lunch, making it easier to get one of the coveted tables at the window. A smart amouse makes it our way, a lovely shrimp wrapped in batter makes me hungry for more. The menu is still following the Spice principle of having some dishes clearly in the traditional heritage of french cooking, whereas the other ones play of more modern asian flavours. The duck liver was expertly prepared, nicely plated and paired with just enough fruit and acid to create a well balanced dish. Main course was a ragout covered in a mousseline served alongside a swiss veal back with some chestnut puree. Strong meaty flavours, absolute nice and well cooked ragout, only small drawback was a certain sweetness to the purees/mousselines which accompanied the meat. Dessert was an assortment of different tibits. A big compliment to whomever bought the mangos, they were simply delicious and obviously selected with great skill from the food purveyor. Now overall, the spirit of Felix Episser still lingers over the Spice but his successor is providing the continuity which makes me confident that this restauran will remain on my list of favourites. I’ll be back in the evening to double check.
Cuisine sans frontieres staged a charity event at the Rote Fabrik. Dubbed the 1st Kitchen Battle, teams from different restaurants competed against each other in a cook-off. Each team was given a basket of food and asked to cook for a hundred people, serving an appetizer, a main course and dessert. The first night had a thrillling headliner – the brigade of the very renowed Rigiblick (Michelin Star, 16 Gault Millau points) versus the motely crew of the Ziegel Oh Lac, the collective cooking at Rote Fabrik. The winner was determined by tallying points from a jury (involving a filmmaker, two cooks, a psychiatrist and a restaurant owner) and the crowd to determine the winner. Having dined at both restaurants I was excited to attend this event and gladly forked over my 100 CHF. The whole amount went to CSF, since all the expenses of the event were covered by sponsors, including the cooking brigades (Thanks Rigiblick and Ziegel). In all fairness I was expecting a clean sweep of the Rigiblick team. Four mean cooks, trained under a hard Michelin starred regimes against four individuals (not all of them trained cooks) sounded like a couple of sheep going against the big bad wolf. Taking into account my fondness of complex and complicated dishes, I was leaning back and expecting soulful, decent simple dishes against visually stunning artwork from the masters of Rigiblick. Rigiblick served two types of salmon one slightly heated and on top of mediterranean aromas (capers, olives, …). Ziegel served cooked salmon with apples on top of mushrooms and a tartare wrapped in cabagge. I favored Ziegel. Putting a bit of salmon on a mushroom and sprinkling it with a bit of apple, made this a very nice bite. The acidity of the apple bounced nicely of the fish and the texture of the mushroom made this a nice triad. Rigiblick’s salmon was just a tad too bland and was overpowered by the very strong mediterranean flavours. With the main course Rigiblick was back on course. Both ragouts and pieces of pork were nice, but Ziegel had a fried potato roesti/cake which was dripping with fat and really ruined the dish, even the nice star anise sauce couldn’t rescue it. Rigiblick scored points with a lovely chip and a nice cabbage and pumpkin cake on the side, equalising the overall score. Dessert again was taken by the crew from Rigiblick. Ziegel had too much puff pastry, making it heavy while Rigiblick aced with Strudel and chocolate espuma. I was very surprised with the concentrated and strong effort made by Ziegel, Rigiblick was seriously challenged but still managed to come out atop in my book. Interesting side note was, that the jury unanimously had Ziegel and the crowd unanimously had Rigiblick winning. Since the crowd had the final say, Rigiblick came out on top. The Kitchen Battle was a great event, the idea of having two teams go head to head with the crowd getting to judge each course was entertaining. Both teams gave it all they had and I’d really like to commend Ziegel for giving the Rigiblick a run for their money. Only strange thing was the jury, which kind of went overboard like the skinny cook ranting about the perversity of celebrating food, the guy should have been more useful washing the dishes, instead of lecturing us on the stage.
I’ve tried for some time to get a table at Restaurant Rigiblick. The lesson here is call three weeks in advance for a Saturday night. We had a reservation for 20:15 and the Seilbahn Rigiblick conveniently brought us to the restaurant. Felix Eppisser used to cook at the Bären in Nürensdorf, a place where roughly 10 years ago I actually had my first encounter with fine dining. A colleague of mine and I decided to go out for a “real” meal and we since we knew this guy working as a cook at this place, we went to Nuerensdorf. I’ll never forget how corteous we were treated even though we were a bit out of league in an establishement which didn’t have many 20-year old diners. Naturally I wasn’t recognized by either Mrs. or Mr. Episser when walking into “Spice”, the gourmet restaurant on the first floor of the Hotel Rigiblick, must be the graying hair… At places like these, I always like to look at their wine specials to see how much many I’m saving by going with a regular priced bottle instead of some Mouton Latour de Quelquechose and I found a couple of good examples on the “Tresorkarte”. Essentially the meal paid for itself by picking a decent priced bottle. I’m not going to go into all the details on the food. There are two menus Aurum and Spice, one more asian, the other more french influenced. You can mix and match any way you desire. The best dish I had was a trio of salmon, intricate, delicate flavours and a perfect balance. I did commit a cardinal sin, I was enjoying the food so much I forgot to write down what I ate in detail……. The only thing I disliked was again the dessert. Together with the plate of friandises – there was too much sweetness after the cheese. I’d prefer another warm, savoury dish instead of the endless dessert orgy overpowering my palate. Two dessert courses plus a plate of friandise puts the complete meal off balance. The place is great but expensive: