As I make my way to Kreis 11, the late summer sun slowly and impressively sinks over Zurich. The Swissôtel is located here in the Oerlikon district. With a height of 85 meters and 32 floors, it is the tallest hotel building in Zurich. The architecture is very obviously from the early 70s, today the building is a listed building.
For about a year now, Sascha Friedrichs has been in charge of the gastronomy as Executive Chef. His refuge includes the casual fine dining restaurant Le Moo – and four times a year, for 10 days each time, the pop-up concept Studio 31 in the building’s penthouse. A fixed menu on changing themes is offered here (CHF 119.00, wine accompaniment CHF 79) . Last week, Studio 31 opened as part of Food Zurich – and fittingly, in this case, the concept revolved around Switzerland.
The view over Zurich from a height of 85 meters is nothing less than sensational – especially when the sun slowly sets, accompanied by a glass of Riesling sparkling wine and first snacks. There has been no restaurant up here since 1996. After a tragic fire, the Panorama Grill had to be abandoned at that time and make way for classic meeting rooms. It’s nice to see cooking here again now.
Sascha Friedrichs is very present throughout the evening and serves almost all courses himself. The manageable number of maximum 31 seats in the restaurant certainly helps. Four small and very successful snacks, the starter kit, as it is called here, make the start.
A greeting from the kitchen follows: trout marinated in lemon oil and delicately flamed. Seasoned with piment d’Espelette. Accompanied by a vineyard peach in fish sauce with garlic and chili, beet meringue, giallo melon and vinegar shallot, drizzled in elderflower syrup with lemon squash and green Tabasco. You can tell there’s a lot going on here on the plates. Sascha Friedrich’s cuisine plays with flavors and components, creating entirely new – and in this case, really exciting new – combinations. A very good start to the evening.Which unfortunately is not continued in the first official course on the menu: Filet of veal aged on the bone with veal tartare, Sancho pepper meringue, clarified butter with passion fruit, celery puree, cream of veal liver, veal bacon, chive blossom, silver onion in raspberry vinegar and dried passion fruit tomatoes. Without question, the Charolais is an excellent product, however, I didn’t really like the consistency of the tartare on the veal tenderloin and the combination with the clarified butter. On the palate, this seems clearly too buttery, moreover, the many sweet components dominated and overall the calf was somewhat drowned. However, this is of course a purely subjective impression – in terms of craftsmanship, everything is very accurately done.
The next gear is then very strong again. Char on pea and bacon cream, caviar, finger limes, sweet and sour cucumber, puffed quinoa, beans, peas, nashi pear and a piece of pork belly. Here the flavors and textures go together very well. Both the tender char and the pork harmonize very well with the green vegetables.
The main course on the menu is an Appenzeller free-range duck breast. Served with confit organic egg yolk, chanterelles and smoked duck jus. The sauce is the star on the plate here. Over three hours this was cooked from the carcass of the duck and very much reduced. The smoke aromas are very present and due to the strong aroma it is consistent and understandable that here was worked entirely without salt. The chanterelles and the confit egg yolk or onsen egg almost form a cohesive dish of their own. The presentation would be a little prettier if the yolk had really been consistently stripped of the slightly stiff egg white. Apart from that, a very successful, complex and deep course with slight spiciness and excellent products.
Gianduja nougat on the style with a fresh cucumber chutney and sorbet forms a prologue to dessert. Light, fresh and uncomplicated.
In the actual dessert, Sascha Friedrichs then again indulges in his great love of detail on the plate: Tobleronemouse, blackcurrant and currant sorbet, crackling powder, Montélimar nougat and honey cress are still combined here with almond curd, shaved chocolate and really very nice currant caviar. A great play of components and a lot of light freshness due to the different preparations of currant.
Studio 31 is a real recommendation for Zurich – if you are lucky and the pop-up is open. Sascha Friedrichs experiments here with elaborate flavor and texture combinations and first-class products. By constantly changing the menu, the team can always test fresh ideas here and gather immediate feedback from guests.
The choice of name is certainly interesting: Friedrichs previously worked in Berlin and managed the studio there under the direction of Tim Raue.
School Street 44
Phone: 044 317 31 62