Restaurant Mesa: is it all hype or is it worth The $$$?

Mesa Restaurant, is it worth the money?
Our Table

Last Saturday was date night!!

A combination of joint birthday celebrations and a built in babysitter (my father was visiting) meant my husband and I had no choice but to paint the town red!

And we did. My hubby left the restaurant choice to me and I rather liked the look of Restaurant Mesa.

I even donned my Dalmation spotted trousers and burnt orange heels! This never happens. I live in jeans and flats taxing children to various playdates, sporting activities, doctors etc …

I was even stressed out trying to leave home!

However, once I had my first pre-dinner glass of Champagne Rosé at the Goethe Bar I relaxed.

You see on Friday night, I had also catered a cocktail party for 60 discerning guests, creating 1200+ canapés for the event and ensuring they were perfectly served on the night, as well as managing a great service team. It was a super evening with very happy clients.

I absolutely deserved a fancy meal out!

Mesa is tucked away up on Weinbergstrasse, 2 stops from Central. What drew me in was the menu. It looked mouth-wateringly good. The minute we walked in, we loved the ambiance. It felt like a good night was in store.

Christian Gujan runs the restaurant. He is perfectly charming and attentive. Plus like the restaurant itself, exceptionally well turned out whilst wearing white trainers. Elegance with ease!

We loved the décor, with specially designed chairs based on a Scandinavian design from the 50’s and 60’s, velvet love seats and an amber lit wall emanating warmth and radiance. I also can’t forget to mention the purple-lit toilets, a little bit of rock n roll.

Me Enjoying A Glass Of Amaretto
Me Enjoying A Glass Of Amaretto

Since January, there is a new chef in situ. Sebastian Rösch is according to Falstaff only 28 years old. He had worked alongside Herr Gujan at the Rigiblick, who loved his style and brought him to Mesa when the previous chef departed. The latter explained to us how thrilled he was with the new partnership.

Now to the food and their much prized wine list.

You read the menu and hope with everything crossed, it will meet your expectation. It is beautiful, it is seasonal, it is to the point, it is not over elaborate, it has confidence.

3 courses: 92chf
4 courses: 115chf
5 courses: 135chf

We ordered 3 courses each, savoury no dessert.

I ordered:
Pulpo, Mocho, Peperoni
Pata Negra, Mimolette, Pimentos de pardon, roter Rucola
Malanser Brathuhn, Nektarine, Fregola sarda, Lavendel

My husband:
Burrata aus Apulien, Sommergemüse, Sardisches Brot
Gegrillter Lauch, Chorizo
Malanser Brathuhn, Nektarine, Fregola sarda, Lavendel

Much to our surprise they asked if we would like some tapas to start (an extra 28chf). I asked if we would need it given 3 courses each? Was the hint that the courses were minuscule? We were assured not, the tapas would simply be a nice introduction to the menu so we plumped to share one.

Before any of that though, to the amuse bouche.

If I could have eaten a bowl of the amuse bouche I would have been a very happy lady. It was a tiny deep fried meatball encased in mashed potato, dollop of aioli and ratatouille served with a small cucumber, dill gel balls and passionfruit gel balls. Amazing! We drank a glass of Sicilian white: Etna Bianche

Then came salty fresh butter, tapenade and a loaf of bread the size of which I thought was overkill but more of that later.

Our tapas was seared tuna, mandarin juice (I think) and a herb oil. I was starving and ate it with energy but it was small and frankly so-so. I also expected a number of little tastes, not one complete dish.

We ordered a bottle of: Monpra, Piedmonte

The pulpo was perfectly cooked and divine, beautiful to look at too, a great starter. The burrata also but you can’t go too wrong with a burrata.

My Pata Negra pork was really very good and the little mounds of whipped Mimolette cheese counterbalanced the pork. What I didn’t understand were the triangles of thin pastry. They were tasteless and yes added texture but I would have preferred an alternative.

My husband was all about his next dish. The minute he saw grilled leek and chorizo, he had to have it. He enjoyed it immensely but the portion sizing for 2 out of our 3 dishes was on the small side. We had by now already eaten half that enormous loaf of bread previously mentioned dipping it with verve into the divine sauces. Our hope was that the main would be big…..fingers crossed. The chef was leaving room in our tummies for the main act. Surely!

We both had the fried chicken. Something went wrong here. All the delicious, summery tastes we had sampled to date were vibrant modern European in essence, this dish was sweet and despite the fregola on the plate, really tasted very American. I actually had to send mine back because it was very pink and with chicken one shouldn’t take risks. Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the dish but the flavors were out of sync with the rest of the menu. Quite unexpected. I wish I had ordered the Gambero Rosso instead.

We finished our meal with a lovely artisan Amaretto on the rocks and walked out with mixed emotions.

I would certainly go back to restaurant Mesa! I loved the service and the ambiance and most of the food but at 190CHF for 2 excluding drinks, you want to feel flush and have eaten a good dinner!

I should also mention the water was 10chf per bottle!

 
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