- Visit Date: 25th February 2023
- Restaurant: Memories
- Address: Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, 7310, Switzerland
My second visit of the year took me to Switzerland, whereby I also interviewed the incredible talent that is Sven Wassmer too, while staying at the remarkable and luxurious Bad Ragaz hotel. What an amazing place, it snowed on my stay and getting to experience the thermal spa was something I will remember forever. I also indulged in a lunch at Verve, Sven’s one star restaurant, and it was just wonderful and gave me a good insight into Sven’s style and flavour combinations, and what was to come that evening for dinner, with all its alpine influence, giving my taste buds some very new flavours to enjoy.
Dining on this trip with my most excellent gang of fellow gourmands, as we all simply love to travel to eat. A beautiful intimate dining room, and a table facing the incredible open kitchen to see all the magic happen.
The meal started with a selection of canapés.
Beef tartar, in a little tart called Pretzel, which is a dough made from potato, filled with lovage cream, and chopped fresh lovage, with aged cow tartar, an XO sauce, and pickled onion flowers. This was absolutely delicious and very well balanced.
Beetroot and horseradish rose, with beetroot that had been compressed twice in apple cider vinegar, fresh cheese infused with horseradish and a blackcurrant powder. This was a little bland sadly, but visually beautiful.
A choux bun next, filled with a pumpkin puree, with the addition of pumpkin brunoise which had been compressed in apple cider vinegar, finished with a hemp seed nougat. This was light and very delicate. I loved it.
Shiso Koji tartlet, the base filled with an apple and pine jam, shiso koji cream, shaved roasted hazelnuts and finely chopped pine. They make all their own koji in house. This was super tasty.
Sourdough, their homemade bread baked daily, this bread was out and cooling just two hours before, made simply with flour, water and salt, with a wonderful explanation about the sourdough mother, who was brought to the table to meet us, produced in 9-10 days as the fermentation takes place, they take one part away for the next day’s bread, and then feed her again, she is now 4 years old, and the most active worker in Memories. An utterly delicious sourdough.
Swiss mountain Oscietra Caviar, this was very fresh tasting although a touch salty for my palate, a sourdough bread cream with a fermented mushroom sauce, seasoned with the crust of the bread and finished with a porcini mushroom oil, this was a bowl of umami goodness.
Sven’s signature dish next and I can see why, it was just exceptional. Mountain Char, which has been lightly smoked, with dried pinecones and mountain hay, served with a caramelised cream sauce and Douglas fir. This is a dish that is now 8 years old. It combines the very best the mountains have to offer. Char, cream and the pine. Sven and his passion for alpine ingredients quite literally on a plate.
This was followed with Beetroot variations, with a chicken jus, beetroot juice, a piece of beetroot that was meaty, a beetroot crumble and roasted chicken skin. This dish too, fell short, just bland again, the same issue with the beetroot canapé, just lacking something, maybe some acid to lift it.
Sven shared how he created this next dish as it evokes childhood memories. It was very comforting. Swiss dumplings, pan fried with yeast, it was like a mac and cheese but as Sven said, an adult grown up version, with lashings of Périgord truffle.
Pike perch, confit in butter, with a hollandaise hay almond miso and pickled onion and fresh chives, the koji brought an incredible umami flavour in this dish. Very nice.
Beef next and WOW. This was a twelve-year aged, entrecote, dairy cow, dry aged for forty to sixty days in house, they cook the beef on the barbecue, it is served with mountain potato puree and a demi glaze jus, it is all about the beef, the best in Switzerland served with just sea salt…. Absolutely incredible. Possibly the best beef I have ever tasted, it was that special and it didn’t even need the sauce and potato, it was exceptional.
The final mains, one we requested upon knowing there was a pigeon dish to be had too. This was a Koji aged pigeon with lingonberry and a bitter salad. The pigeon had been brushed 3 days with shiso koji, which gave it a lovely nutty flavour, combined with the freshness of the salad and the superb pigeon jus, this was another cracking dish.
Blackberry sorbet with negroni, this was a bitter but good palate cleanser, I am not a negroni fan, in fact this marks my first negroni, and confirmed what I knew already, just too sour for my palate, but it worked it and did the job required.
Onto dessert, and a Chantilly cream infused with pine oil, a wood sorrel sorbet, meringue, crisp, mini pinecone cooked in sugar syrup, keeps essential oils, this dish was like a walk through the forest, I really loved this dish.
Next a dried milk foam, with a cream that had been infused with plum stone, giving it a taste similar to marzipan, a cheesecake mousse, with sauce from the char earlier being the caramelised cream, they took the caramelised part which tastes like vanilla, and this is all balanced beautifully with a sorbet made from sea buckthorn and quince juice, which was refreshing.
Chestnut Bundt cake to finish. A traditional cake from the alpine region, made with chestnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Beautiful.
Starter to take home which was a very nice touch. I adored this visit. Three stars for sure, a few dishes fell a little flat for me, both had the beetroot, but everything else was excellent. Loved the atmosphere, service, ingredients, and everything Sven has created here.
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