About last night!
TASTElab have opened a new pop up at Zollikerstrasse 6, just off Kreuzplatz in Ristorante L’Ulivo’s former home, SHELFlife, Zurich’s latest pop-up.
Susanne is a scientist who draws on her Masters in Physics to push the boundaries of modern cooking. There is no doubting her talent.
The menu consisted of 9 savoury choices, 1 cheese and 2 desserts. Dining alone you can choose 4 options. Dining, as we were, a quartet, we had 12 choices and sampled everything on the menu plus an extra cheese course. We certainly did not walk out hungry.
THE MENU @ 95CHF per head
1 Watermelon jerky, buffalo mozzarella, mint
2 Cured herring, carrot marmalade, picked radish, chilli
3 Fermented cauliflower, 64C egg, hazelnuts
4 Black lentils, confit aubergine, chorizo and labneh
5 Scamorza, sauerkraut, homemade pickles, fig jam
6 Confit duck, soused chanterelles, apricot jam
7 Beetroot risotto, pickled radish
8 Pork belly, sweet and sous pears, confit cabbage
9 Goat’s cheese, pickled plums, fig and oat cereal bar
10 Dehydrated strawberry, goat’s milk cream, camomile
11 Nuts and salted lemon
Our welcome included an amuse bouche of pickled carrots and a mayonnaise covered in green dust made from the peelings. Very nice.
We all loved the buffalo mozzarella with watermelon jerky and mint. Not only did the watermelon look like dried meat but also, had a chewy consistency far removed from what you’d expect of watermelon.
I loved the cauliflower and hazelnuts with 64C egg and the beetroot risotto with pickled radish. Both had crunch, freshness and comfort.
All 4 of us had different favourites.
The ingredients are all recognisable and techniques used we know and understand, so the challenge is making the ingredients sing differently on the plate.
Susanne and her team managed it in all but one case. We did not like the duck. It was too dry and big. However the chanterelles popped with vinegar and cardamom (I think). They were amazing.
We adored the sauerkraut but sadly the Scamorza, a smoked Italian cheese, was lost in the sandwich and the introduction of a sandwich in the middle of the meal felt a little odd.
The carrot marmalade was great, the cheeses and pickled plums were divine and let’s not forget the dehydrated strawberry shards. They were not only beautiful but also delicious.
We went on a Tuesday in the 2nd week of the pop up so we weren’t expecting it to be overly busy or perfect. Shelflife’s weekends are very busy and they have a section for walk-ins, however the ambiance could be improved for the diner. The chairs and benches would benefit from cushions and some music would help create more of a buzz.
I would also suggest dishes 1 to 4 are separated by a line from 5 to 8 to indicate starter size versus main course size especially as you are expected to make a choice.
On a final note we were offered coffee, which we declined, instead we were brought these little coffee and chocolate nuggets with sugared herbs. OMG, they should package and sell them. Amazing!
From the middle of November to January, SHELFlife becomes another TASTElab experience called CHALAIT, where mountain chalet meets gorgeous cheese. Expect not your usual fondue and raclette but something more interesting.
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