HAPPY BIRTHDAY ECCO Atlantis by Giardino
26 November 2016
Being only a few days away from its first birthday, Restaurant Ecco located in the Atlantis by Giardino Hotel has achieved a lot in its first year, and has already estalished a solid name for itself. The youngest addiction to the ECCO Group run by Head Chef Rolf Fliegauf which is also present in Hotel Giardino Ascona and Giardino Mountain St. Moritz, has been laid into the hands of Fliegauf's former sous chef Stefan Heilemann.
The young kitchenchef and his team in the short time have achieved what many never will. Not only creating an appreciated dining experience; their culinary achievements have been awarded with 2 Michelin Stars and 16 Gault Millau Points in the first year making it one of the best Restaurants in the area of Zurich.
The young, humble and creative team has taken on the challenge to harmoniously fuse down to earth, whole, healthy and trendy superfood ingredients with the finest and most exquisite flavours known to classical fine dining. Pumpkin meets Japanese Wagyu on the plate of a maincourse is the creative result of the young chef’s innovative minds - and it works on tongue too. The combination flavours and the way its presented in unique, sometimes estranging textures lets my imagination run wild before each bite. Theres no guessing what it will taste like - there’s only trying and experiencing it. A little serial adventure of taste served on plates is how I’d summarize it.
Instead of wheaty, flourbased or potato bases Stefan Heilemann branches out, using whole grains and seeds such as the quinoa to create the complementary chips and crisps. Every course is different, every chip is worth asking after. As are the many fine sprouts, or baby leaves which are draped not only for decoration but also for taste onto each course. I have come to know it is an art in itself, knowing each one of the fine baby leaves and how to cleverly apply their qualities to complement dishes. I admire the way they are placed on the dishes uniquely by hand with the tweezers. During my trip after the meal to the kitchen I had a little go at it myself.
The service being observant and discreet, quick and very precise. The atmosphere in the small dining room very subtle and comfortable. Its an environment that would work well for private parties aswell, because it has the potential for a sense of intimacy. Warm, soft lighting of the general seating area with spots on the table for the food is a nice solution for setting focus on the stage which is the table, and the play which takes place on the plates.
The meal isn’t heavy. Both of us finished all our courses and were not left feeling stuffed or heavy. Its a light but balanced cuisine that seems to focus on bringing out the best in essential flavours and cutting out the unnecessary. The result is a very fine, down to the point taste which we enjoyed very much.
The only let down were the other guests. I would expect diners to appreciate and respect the work put into creating such meal by at least getting out of their jogging pants and grungy clothing before entering the restaurant to enjoy dinner. I myself adore comfortable clothing and spend most of my daytime in activewear - but sitting at a table drinking champagne and enjoying fine food in run down sweats definitely strikes me as rather decadent and disrespectful. Also leaving kids playing ipad’s at the table, letting the discussion revolve around how to play the game rather than dinner is quite displaced and has no class. I believe it is the guests which should take on the responsibility of behaving with the appropriate manners and class in any situation of society, and not the hotel / restaurant who should be put on the spot to enforce that. I hope to raise some awareness that we should appreciate values in life and pay the proper respects to them.
Nethertheless I congratulate Restaurant ECCO and all its team for their first successfull year, with hopefully many more to come. Restaurant ECCO is a positive addition to Zurich’s culinary environment, and I appreciated the experience I had.atlantisbygiardino.ch/en/dining/