My husband is turning 38 and for his lunch celebration I wanted something grand that will remind him of Zurich forever.
The choice was easy: Dolder Grand Hotel, the iconic hotel with a view on the Lake and its very particular architecture, combining old and new.
As you arrive, you are stunned by the castle like hotel with its pointy towers and flags floating in the wind. As you drive near the Valet parking your humble 3008 Hybrid Peugeot mingles with Maseratis and Teslas. The Valet invites to enter the hotel with its red carpet, art nouveau chandelier, up through the classical grand stair case. And as you reach the Garden restaurant, the interior style changes completely from dark and ancient to bright, sleek and modern. Looking back there’s another restaurant, more traditional with the expected mega classical style interior design with 18 GaultMillau awarded Chef Heiko Nieder. Here, the Garden Restaurant is a bit more casual with 13 GaultMillau awarded Chef Patrick Hetz.
We were very lucky the sun was out between the clouds. It was Friday a bit after midday, I hadn’t had a chance to call to make a booking, still, we didn’t have to wait. Unexpectedly there were plenty of tables available and we had one of the best one, for two, by the window.
To be honest, we were expecting to enjoy a bit more of of the lake. There was instead a big terrasse in front of us and we thought that maybe if they had levelled the restaurant a bit, there would have been more lake view. On the other hand, there was a wide pond on the other side of the big windows and the reflection of the water made beautiful waves on the white ceiling above our heads.
We still enjoyed the mountains across that seems blue a bit like the Blue Mountains in Sydney, the sky and changing clouds, and the whole light filled interior of the restaurant.
The bread basket had a great selection of freshly baked breads.
- I had the prawns (shrimp) served with a delicious mix of green shallots, green papaya that reminded me of asian flavours
- Manu had the tuna tartare which was amazingly fresh and nicely complemented by a citrusy vinaigrette (on the side)
- I had the Saddle of lamb with hazelnut-thyme crust, port wine jus, kenya beans and Tessin polenta. The lamb which was cooked to perfection and the beans were crunchy yet tender.
- Manu had one of the signature dish: Balik salmon three ways: Sjomga “Orange”, “Nori” and “Tsar Nikolaj” with kalamansi cream, herb biscuit and Tobiko caviar (red, not Petrossian type of caviar). I liked the texture of the green spongy herb biscuit. It was very smooth.
- I had the Coffee-caramel flan with milk foam and “biscotti” almond cookies. I was hoping the flan was a little more tasty with stronger coffee aromas and flavours
- Manu had the Passionfruit meringue with coconut “Financier“ and Piña Colada sorbet. Pina colada is my favourite cocktail and the sorbet did give it justice.
- All I had chosen was part of the lunch menu which is a reasonable 60 CHF for entree, main and dessert
- All up the bill was 165 CHF with two small bottles of mineral water and en extra expresso coffee for me. The Balik Salmon signature dish was 51 CHF
- We had to pay an extra 8 CHF for Valet Parking
- It was mainly ran by female waitresses, younger than average waiters you’d see in those type of restaurants.
- On arrival I had mentioned to the Maitre d’O that it was my husband’s birthday. They congratulated him. Then when it was time for dessert and coffee I had forgotten so I ordered my expresso to be served with my dessert (so I don’t have to add sugar to my drink 😉 )
- When Manu went to the toilet after his dessert I remembered to ask the staff for a special something just so he can blow a candle. They said ok.
- But when Manu came back, after a long chat and enjoying the end of the lunch, he ordered the bill and it arrived before the candle! I started to freak out but didn’t know how to remind the waitresses. I kept an eye on the kitchen but nothing was coming. Lucky, Manu wasn’t too much in a hurry so while we stayed a bit longer and were getting ready to fix the bill, a small cake arrived with a candle. PHEW! And then petit fours!!! I wished I had spared my coffee and timed it with the petits fours then!
- Photo taken by the Valet…
- Call in advance and brief the staff about the birthday surprise and secure a table by the window in case it’s a busy day
- Remember to spare 8 CHF for the Valet (we ran out, all we had were euros so we gave 10 euros!)
- Save a bit of stomach space for petits fours after dessert
- Lunch menus are very good value: 50 CHF for 2 courses and 60 CHF for 3 courses.
Would we go back? Certainly!!! Felt amazing, had dressed up for the occasion, loved it!