The Restaurant is run by Heiko Nieder. Originally from Germany, Nieder trained with Dieter Kaufmann at the Traube in Grevenbroich, and at Vau in Berlin, before becoming the chef of Orquivit in Bonn, and finally taking over control of the Restaurant at the Dolder Grand in Zurich. Meeting him, clarifies that this is a chef who is driven, and very ambitious.
This translates into food that is technically impeccable. At the same time, he seems to try to surprise his diners with a cuisine that combines classicism with unusual flavour combinations. Nieder’s strongest dishes are both faultless and combine unusual ingredients effortlessly. A turbot with sweet potatoes, rocket, garlic and coconut for instance, is terrific. The turbot’s quality is fantastic, and the timing spot on. Instead of using the more classical potatoes Nieder serves it with sweet potatoes, which bring out the sweetness in the dish. The coconut adds another slightly sweet, and more importantly fresh element, whilst the rocket brings a more herbal element to the plate. The result is a dish where no product sticks out, but where everything comes together harmoniously.
Equally good are gamberi rossi with acovado, tamarillo and whey. This is a beautifully summery starter that highlights the exceptional crustaceans that these Mediterranean deep-sea shrimp are. The flavours are bold, clean and fresh; the textures crunchy, creamy, and liquid. This is another very strong creation of Nieder’s.
The one point of criticism for a restaurant of this standard would be that for some of the more complex, and complicated dishes, the portions are too small to really combine everything. A combination of Swiss caviar, beetroots and banana, is so small that one has trouble tasting very much apart from the beets. This is a pity, as dishes such as the turbot, which feature larger portions really impress you without there being too much food.
Nieder’s food is remarkably adventurous, when one considers the restaurant’s clientele. Had he served caviar with bananas 20 years in a place as conservative as Switzerland, the result would probably have been a revolution. Today, however, he gets away with it, and manages to put these ingredients together in a manner that is carefully judged, so as to surprise, and not shock you when eating. The other impressive aspect of his cooking is the technical precision. No product here is over- or under-cooked, just as the seasoning is perfect in every dish. This makes the Restaurant the best in Zurich.
In a hotel that strives to be at the top of its game, it is no surprise that the restaurant does the same. With Heiko Nieder as its chef, the Restaurant will undoubtedly continue to develop, and put Zurich on the global culinary map.