Posts tagged ‘SBB’
Do I hate myself ? Do I have an underlying masochistic streak which is starting to come to the surface of my personality ? These are types of questions I find myself pondering after virtually every meal in the dining car of SBB, since I keep on trying even if I get disappointed. The SBB homepage actually calls out Riz Casimir being available and how proud they are that Studi has designed the new menu. Now I’m not quite sure but this guy has never ran a restaurant (nor does so currently) and get’s all his fame from different tv shows. Who knows maybe the SBB board was impressed by the fact that he had a middle initial… Anyway I’m already bitching and haven’t even tried his hot food. I really like the dining car, there’s nothing better if you’re into trains and travelling, then having a meal while looking out the window. I jump on the noon express from Zurich to Bern and study the menu. I settle on a seasonal (nice touch) pumpkin quiche and a staple swiss food Riz Casimir. The quiche was a mess – look at the presentation, it looked like something was taken from the Findus deepfreeze selection and thrown onto a plate. A rather minimalistic concept was chosen in terms of decoration. Tastewise I really can’t say, since it was microwaved an so piping hot you could barely eat it and the crust was soggy. Moving on to the Riz Casimir the sauce was uninspired, lacking depth of flavor and quite frankly I thought the dish was a bit stingy on the amount of chicken. The whole meal didn’t meet 7th grade mandatory cookery class level, not sure if our favourite swiss tv chef is doing himself a big favour. Rechnung:
So I’m sitting in the train, I am hungry and I buy a ham sandwich off the cart. It’s shocking how much effort the producer of these sandwiches puts into making them taste bad. Some gummy bread in a special atmosphere so it doesn’t spoil presents itself to the diner. When you pop the plastic cover you hear a “soooshhhh” of the air pressure which is normalising. Incidentally the same technique of atmospheric overpressure is used in bunkers (maybe that’s where the gastronomic inspiration came from, also read up on something which used to be called Pflichtkonsum in the Swiss Army). There’s neither taste in the sandwich nor is there any love which is bestowed on the hungry diner, it screams airplane food all over. Why can’t they cut a piece of a decent loaf of bread and put some proper ham or cheese between two slices ? Really how difficult can it be to make decent sandwiches ? But apparently Passagio Railbar is concentrating all it’s ressources on the coffee (which isn’t that bad). My solution is to head to the train station 5 minutes earlier and grab a decent sandwich at one of the bakeries (Sprüngli, Kleiner, Stocker). Most of them are better and cheaper than the CHF 6.90:
I really like dining in the train and I’m happy that the SBB still keeps the dining cars around. But the quality of the food is debatable. It’s not expensive but it lacks love, attention to detail and excitement looking at the gourmet breakfast in front of you. If you disregard the food, eating breakfast on a sunday while the countryside rushes past you is unbeatable, making it worth spending the 20 or so francs – not convinced that the “gourmet” is worth the extra few bucks:
Japanese railway stations are a great place to grab some food. I’m assuming that eating on the go has a longer tradition. In every (small and big) railstation you can buy a bento box. Even though it looks like wood it’s just cardboard. Every piece of food is in its own separate compartment, chopsticks as well as miniature bottles of soy sauce and other condiments are given to you. It seems that the boxes are made fresh every day, since depending on the stations some will always be sold out at the stands. If you don’t speak Japanese getting a Bento is like giving yourself a present. You never quiet know what’s inside it. If you’re in a rush, every train has a food cart where you can buy Bento boxes, beer and other snacks. I always thought Switzerland had a decent railway system. Look at Japan and think again. Elvetino Railbar ? Overpriced, tasteless, and loveless sandwiches prepared by a machine. Elvetino Bistro / Restaurant ? Crappy food mangled by reheating it. The food in the smaller Japanese railway stations is often prepared freshly onsite, a long shot from food to go in other places. Of course it is Japanese and you might be in for some strange tastes, but if you find a Bento you like, you’re in heaven.