Sankt Meinrad, Stauffacherstrasse, Zurich
So I had dinner here on Saturday the 11th and on Monday the 13th it was announced that Sankt Meinrad has 15 Gault Millau points (plus one from 14) and is the hottest up and coming restaurant in Switzerland. Therefore I’m uploading the article out of turn and I still stand by my opinion:
I heard excellent things about this place Sankt Meinrad just next to the Greulich. Rumors were flying around that it’s about to get its first Michelin star and that a massive increase over the current 14 Gault Millau points was just around the corner. So naturally I was very excited to turn up on the doorstep and enter the restaurant. For dinner there are two options either the tasting menu with or without matching wines (your choice of 0.5 dl or 1 dl per course) or choosing of a selection of about a dozen of individual courses. My expectations got raised when I was told about the snack in front of us. Two Grissinis one with sepia and the other one with saffron were accompanied with parmeggiano meringues and a small sryinge filled with smoked oil. Drizzling the oil on the meringue gave it a really nice flavor and I was getting horny for more. But something also got me thinking. By matching the plates to the courses (eg. Grissini holes and meringue drops) on the pre-amuse-bouche, I wasn’t to sure what to expect next. The amuse-bouche was 100% overboard. A custom-made contraption with three dangling items, one a spoon over a shot glass of tomato foam with aubergine soup and two small plates dangling of thin chains. One was holding a metal toothpick with a crispy fish ball (salmon and something else) over a grape and sauerkraut, while the other one was a dried meat over a walnut mousse. Is your head spinning? Mine was – the amuse bouche was way to complex and I didn’t like the combinations. The aubergine soup was bland, the tomato foam was okay. The other two dishes didn’t connect – sauerkraut and fish ? Walnutpuree was just to desserty for the dried meat to do any good. But hey – I was thrilled playing with dangling plates.
Next was a duck liver terrine with toasted brioche, fresh almonds and almond puree. The duck liver was accompanied with Centenario Crudo which is a type of chocolate. The taste of the duck liver with the chocolate was excellent. The crunchy sugary taste of the chocolate matched the rich and fatty taste of the liver. I didn’t care for the almond stuff on the plate. The portion as a whole was too large, the terrine literally was a huge cone. Now I’m a big eater but I had to leave a part of it left over since it was just too much. In places like this I alway order two appetizers since I want to sample a broad range of dishes. The poached egg was served on pumpkin spaetzle with bacon foam and straw. The waitress asked me wether I’d liked the dish, I hesitated and had to say no. The spaetzle were oversalted and the bacon foam was plain ridiculous and out of place. Bacon straw and poached egg were okay. Moving on to my main I had the same type of wild boar I had at Stef’s a week earlier, this time it was cooked with Kerala pepper, served with rocket salad (senf kohl), pomegranate sauce and polenta rolls. I love boar but this one was simply overcooked. Pomegranate sauce is something I’m personally not too fond of and the rocket salad was again too salty. The real idiotic thing was the polenta roll which literally was a spring roll filled with some polenta. I only ate one of the two, since I didn’t care about its taste and thought it to be an incredible overfussy way of serving polenta. We skipped deserts and had a coffee, which was accompanied by an impressive plate of friandises – chocolate mousse, candied fruits on a toothpick, and two two types of chocolates. Seldomly have I been so upset and churned up after a meal as the one I had here. I was tossing in my bed and thinking through the whole evening I had there and I came to a simple conclusion. The team at Sankt Meinrad is trying too hard, their food is overcomplex and fussy, they seem to put more emphasis on trying to impress diners with frills instead of the food. The cook is coming up with overconceptual dishes instead of focusing on the food, which is lacking quality in execution. Getting a Guide Michelin star doesn’t mean 17 components on a plate and if you don’t believe it try something from a Gordon Ramsay restaurant (who was just awarded his 12th Michelin Star for his place called London in NY). Comparing the wild boar I had here to the one at Stef’s, Stef’s wins hands down, because it was simpler, more focused and better executed and in the end it was the much better dish. I don’t see this place getting close to a Michelin star. They seem to be putting in a tremendous amount of effort but parts of it in vain. The other thing which struck me strange, that with a friandise offering so large, whose actually going to order a dessert ? Prices are okay (upper range), but if they do get a star (which again would be a huge surprise to me) they’ll rise rapidly: