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The Savoy's new bar scores points with almost-forgotten dishes

The Savoy's new bar scores points with almost-forgotten dishes

Veterans

Wolfgang Fassbinder

Gastronomic criticism

The restaurant menu at the new Mandarin Oriental Savoy is more diverse than usual in Zurich gastronomy. If you only order classics like burgers and the like here, you're missing out.

Should there really be schnitzel and burgers in almost every restaurant near Bahnhofstrasse? maybe. We should not forget that a large percentage of local customers have the change needed to go out, but do not have any cooking skills and prefer not to be bothered by unfamiliar tastes. No one would dare claim that Zurich residents are exceptionally enthusiastic about the experience.

So the burger (with Wagyu beef) is also on the menu at “Brasserie & Bar Savoy”, and there are schnitzels and Züri-Geschnetzeltes. If you want to taste something different, you can do so effortlessly. The elegant restaurant's menu features almost forgotten fine cuisine dishes. Oysters Rockefeller, baked with spinach and sprouts, or the sole roll à la Grenobloise or the duck from the breeder Jean-Claude Miral in two courses. None of this is cheap, but it's not expensive either (the sole is 67 francs, and the duck costs 156 francs for two).

The dream team in the fireplace and in the basement

My expectations increased after I found out who was responsible for everything that was presented. Executive Chef Benjamin Halat comes from Bangkok and knows his way around big kitchens; The executive sous chef in turn is Daniel Tortomasi, an old acquaintance who previously made a star at Tropenhaus Wolhusen.

One wonders why all the top-notch trained staff are not extensively introduced to the public. You'll also have to introduce the head pastry chef: Andy Forbush was in charge of desserts at “Dolder,” “Memories” and “Park Hotel Vitznau.” Matteo Rimoldi, the head sommelier, can do something, too. The wine list he has compiled includes not only classics, but also discoveries. How about cartography from South African winemaker Chris Alhit? A wonderful cuvée based on Chenin Blanc.

Foie gras and pike pies: the details are what matter

Almost any trained chef can prepare a foie gras terrine, but only a small fraction can prepare such a flavorful, juicy and perfectly seasoned version with Quatre Épices. Plus fruits, wine, honey and brioche – it's all about the details. By the way, the bread here is of a class that not many starred restaurants can match; Orsini, the hotel's official gourmet restaurant, will likely be in charge of the stars. Let's wait and see what Michelin thinks about having two independent outlets in one hotel.

Beef tartare with sour cream, beetroot and French fries soufflé.  (Photo: Wolfgang Fassbinder)

Beef tartare with sour cream, beetroot and French fries soufflé. (Photo: Wolfgang Fassbinder)

The beef tartare with sour cream and beetroot was excellently seasoned, but the highlight turned out to be the souffle fries, a soufflé potato that is rarely served due to its complex preparation. The pike fritters – another dish on the verge of extinction – were tender and accompanied by a wonderful Nantouan sauce with lobster, but the flavor was a bit reserved. More pizza please!

Ordering a soufflé is mandatory here

I had to have the chocolate soufflé, I was told as I looked at the dessert menu without hesitation. I did as I was told and didn't regret it, because not many Zurich restaurants can make such a thin and foamy soufflé. The accompanying ice cream had an oriental flavor and, like the tangerine, provided a refreshing flavour.

Real tip: chocolate soufflé.  (Photo: Wolfgang Fassbinder)

Real tip: chocolate soufflé. (Photo: Wolfgang Fassbinder)

Next time I might try the hazelnut mousse with brown butter and citrus. I'll vacillate between the venison saddle in Baden-Baden and the vegetable stuffed cabbage dish – and I'm pretty sure that the Mandarin restaurant in Zurich, along with its namesake houses in Lucerne and Geneva, will also be able to make a name. For itself in the long term for its outstanding gastronomy.

In a glance

Title

Savoy Brasserie and Bar At Mandarin Oriental Savoy, Poststrasse 12, 8001 Zurich

the prices

Main courses cost from 36 francs.

Rated by prepared critic

Cuisine: 7.5/10, Guest Culture: 8.5/10

Note: Ratings are based on the highest conceivable score of 10 points. The Cuisine score relates exclusively to the quality of the food, while the Guest Culture score includes all other aspects of a restaurant visit.

The visit was upon invitation.