Food

A very Swiss week, and a very special chef to match

BY EU HOOI KHAW
November 05, 2013

Swiss guest chef Reto Mathis owns six restaurants in St Moritz.Swiss guest chef Reto Mathis owns six restaurants in St Moritz.Air-dried beef, veal, cheese and chocolate are prominently featured in the Swiss menu at Lafite at the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur to celebrate Swiss Week. A guest chef from Switzerland has been flown in, one who owns and runs six restaurants atop Corvilgia in St Moritz.

It’s been a while since we have experienced any good Swiss cuisine in the Klang Valley, and here’s the chance to taste it at this Swiss Week promotion which will run till November 9.At Lafite, with the decor in the Swiss national colours of red and whiteAt Lafite, with the decor in the Swiss national colours of red and white

The activity-packed week was launched by the Swiss Ambassador Dr Rolf Lenz, chef Reto Mathis and Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur general manager Reto Klauser. The long melodious sound of the Alpine horn and the lively music from the Schwyzeroergeli or Swiss accordion were a fitting accompaniment to this.

At the dinner later, chef Reto wished his guests at Lafite a good appetite after declaring: “Short speeches, long sausage!”

It began with Lake Trout Tartar with Vegetable Salad, with a mound of chopped smooth trout laid over barley combined with bits of green and yellow bell peppers and dill, finished with tomato juice. It was a textural delight, graduating from soft resistance to a little chewy barley and crunchy vegetables.Grisons Barley Soup with Air-Cured BeefGrisons Barley Soup with Air-Cured Beef

At a glance the Grisons Barley Soup with Air-Cured Beef seemed rich with cream, but on tasting, it was a balanced, though hearty, soup. There were small cubes of potatoes in it, and barley of course, and the strips of intensely flavoured air-cured beef gave it a delicious dimension. One of the guests at our table thought it was the best dish of the evening. “It’s a meal in itself with some bread,” said chef Reto later.Decadent Swiss Chocolate Cake, Frozen Yoghurt, RaspberriesDecadent Swiss Chocolate Cake, Frozen Yoghurt, Raspberries

Rosti is coarsely grated potato, shaped into thin rounds and panfried. It was originally eaten as breakfast by farmers in the canton of Berne, which is the capital of Switzerland. Of course none can do it as well as a Swiss chef – it was light, fluffy and crispy. These Golden Rosti Potatoes came with the Sliced Veal, Zurich Style, which chef Reto Mathis executed with perfection. The slices of tender veal were bathed in a creamy mushroom sauce. A sweet and juicy white asparagus stood out among the baby carrot and green asparagus on the plate.Sliced Veal Zurich Style, Golden Rosti PotatoesSliced Veal Zurich Style, Golden Rosti Potatoes

The Decadent Swiss Chocolate Cake, Frozen Yoghurt and Raspberries had a light tartness from the yoghurt ice cream and raspberries to subdue the richness of the cake. But it was sublime – richly chocolate-y and with a lovely moist texture.

Swiss wines were also served at this dinner – the Aigles Chablais AOC “Les Murailles” 2012, and the Yvorne Chablais AOC Pinot Noir Barrique “Lettres de Noblesse” 2010.

Chef Reto Mathis is the founder of the St Moritz Gourmet Festival, to which renowned chefs from all over the world are invited and where gourmet guests can savour their cuisines. He also runs Mathis Food Affairs, with six restaurants on the mountain top of Corviglia in St Moritz, at the height of 2,486 metres. Here skiers, hikers and lifestyle artists converge to enjoy his classic as well as contemporary Swiss dishes.Lake Trout Tartar with Vegetable SaladLake Trout Tartar with Vegetable Salad

The Swiss menu at Lafite is available a la carte and in set menus at RM220++ for three courses, and RM320++ for five courses. It’s open for brunch on Saturday, November 9.

Other dishes to note on this menu include Robespierre Seared Beef Carpaccio with Summer Truffle and Sbrinz, Mountain Cheese Quiche with Lamb’s Lettuce, Beef Tenderloin Tagliata, Rosemary Potatoes, Sbrinz and Ruclo, and Apple Rosti with Apple Sherbet, Calvados Sauce.

Lafite is at the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, tel: 03-2074 3900.