Posts tagged ‘Rote Fabrik’
Finally – it’s Kitchenbattle time again. Organised by the Cuisine sans Frontieres society, this is their major fundraiser to ensure that their soup kitchen projects all over the world can be executed. This time it was a semi-final between the Coco and the Italia/Josef restaurant. The idea is as simple as beautiful, two restaurants battle over the crowds approval. An amuse, appetizer, main course and a dessert are served in a head-to-head mode and at the end the diners vote on who moves on to the final. The Ravioli was too thick and too al dente, the great and surprising whitefish blue, was a tartare of whitefish covered by a (more puree like) foam of blue swedish potatoes. The tartare was nicely seasoned, well balanced and a much more creative idea than the ravioli; 0-1 Italia. The appetizer was a deer carpaccio against a whitefish wrapped in leeks, with a white wine sauce, blue swede chips and a croquette. I wasn’t a great fan of the carpaccio, while the meat was nice, the radiccio was too bitter, it was lacking salt, the acid was too aggressive and the vinaigrette with the pine nuts was more of a topping than an emulsified sauce. The whitefish matched my palate better, there was a much better balance of flavours and unlike the carpaccio there was a more interesting textural contrast; 1-1 both. Main course was a simple ragout against a more complex duo of deer. I preferred the ragout since it was the more honest dish. Both were lacking a bit in execution, but the more honest dish won for me, since the porcini and the meat was better overall; 1-2 Italia. Dessert was a simple story – the chef patisserie master of the Peclard company helped the Coco and took it home. The simple dessert of the Italia was just a badly executed dish, too sour, too sweet and too heavy. Where as the Coco radiated elegance, simplicity and playful radiance – agreeably the gold may have been a bit over the top; 2-2. Since the amuse and the appetizer had to be judged together and I preferred the Coco (unlike the jury and the crowd). I would have awared the win to the restaurant next to the Paradeplatz. To be fair, I prefer the full frills, bells and whistle, fancy schmancy cuisine, where as the Italia is more of a simple, straight cucina della nonna. The most surprising relevation for me was, that one member of the jury – Daniel Böniger, the food editor of the Tagesanzeiger – who was the reason why I started this blog, is actually quite competent. Maybe I was a bit harsh on my judgement, still you-know-who visits more restaurants than the Tagesanzeiger culinary genius…. 🙂
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 reserved a table at the Riva for Brunch. We arrived and since the weather was beautiful I approached the wait staff and asked if I could dine outside. The waitresses fearfully looked at the boss, a stereotypical non-swiss, yet german native language speaker. He mumbled something, which upon asking what he said meant “Brunch. Inside.”. My remark that we’ll carry our plates from the buffet inside to the tables outside, led to a weird statement about exceeding his brunch capacity. It might be his buffet but it is my money, so I decided to leave and headed to the Rote Fabrik, to brunch at Ziegel Oh Lac. The key here is to arrive before 11:30, grab a nice table outside (shade, no shade, sun shade) and send someone inside to order at the buffet (remember your table number). Drinks you carry out yourself, food will be brought to your table. The crew is very friendly the vibe of the place is alternative as you’d expect at the Rote Fabrik. Food is good and mostly organic. Negative was the graham bread on the small breakfast plate (instead of two pieces of Zopf) and that I was given Caotina instead of the Ovomaltine which I’d asked for. If I order a Coke I don’t want Pepsi. 12 CHF for the small breakfast plate (incl a drink) and 14 CHF for scrambled eggs with bacon on toast is a very good deal. Certainly the guy from the Riva could learn a thing about how to run a business from the Collective organisation at the Ziegel oh Lac….