Switch mode

Winds of change

The region between Lucerne and Vitznau is a hotspot for creative concepts with a unique signature – Asian-inspired and using the very best Swiss products, from free-range pork to Alpine Sbrinz cheese.

Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change Copyright©Food Story Media Ltd Colonnade April 2023 78 Eci RGB T270
Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change YA200765 Sw Eci RGB


Mandarin Oriental Palace

A grand hotel reinvents itself – the magnificent Belle Époque façade from 1906 remains, but in the form of the Mandarin Oriental Palace, Lucerne got what is very much an international-style hotel. The same applies to the cuisine. To see a man like Executive Chef Gilad Peled, forged in the top London restaurants of Gordon Ramsay and Clare Smyth, working in tranquil central Switzerland would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

But he found the job attractive. As soon as you take a seat in the fine Colonnade dining restaurant, you understand exactly why. It is an exceptionally stylish setting, with historic mosaic flooring, high ceilings and laboriously restored marble columns. Outside, the lake and the surrounding mountains provide a spectacular backdrop. But as soon as the exquisitely fresh, premium-quality crab is served, all that is forgotten. Peled combines the crab with crunchy cucumber, delicate, iodine rich kombu algae and Ossetra caviar, serving it on the very finest white porcelain and with a decorative garland of herbs.

One of his signature dishes is the wild-caught turbot, served on a bed of fregola sarda with shellfish, Swiss chard and deliciously aromatic algae beurre blanc. Peled’s Appenzell lamb is fried to perfection and presented in a purist, Mediterranean style with purple artichokes, Nocellara olives and a complex jus. It’s important that guests leave some space for cheese, as Colonnade maintains the good old tradition of the cheese trolley. The selection is excellent, featuring mature Gruyère, Alpine Sbrinz and Stanser Fladen. With 500 carefully chosen wines, 100 of them from Switzerland, the wine menu is also top notch. Austrian head sommelier Moritz Dresing knows them all like the back of his hand – his recommendations can always be relied upon.

Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change Copyright©Food Story Media Ltd Colonnade April 2023 85 Eci RGB T130
Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change 1413 Mandarin Oriental Palace Luzern 011 Colonnade Eci RGB


Feeling a little like a very exclusive member’s club, the elegant wooden bar can accommodate a maximum of eight guests per evening. They get to watch live while chef Toshiro prepares his eight-course menu, which changes every day. Leaning back in their comfortable wooden chairs, guests can watch up close as the chef shaves bonito flakes, dices kingfish or brushes his perfectly formed nigiri with soya sauce that has matured for four years.

There is no menu. Instead, the Japanese tradition of omakase applies – guests receive a surprise selection of dishes based on availability and the chef’s preferences. It soon becomes clear that Toshiro San has another very important skill in addition to his culinary expertise. Having been raised by a Japanese mother in Berlin, he is able to communicate fluently with guests and might even impart a few secrets of Japanese cuisine over the course of the evening.

The menu starts with chawanmushi, a Japanese egg custard dish with an almost silky consistency draped with shiitake mushrooms marinated in soya. At the heart of the sequence of dishes are the nigiri, every single one of which is formed by hand à la minute. For his sushi rice, the chef mixes the rice varieties Koshihikari and Nanatsubushi. He tops the delicious rice morsels with the finest produce that the seas have to offer, from Lostallo salmon to extra-fresh red prawns to hiramasa kingfish.

The main course consists of grilled Wagyu short ribs from nearby Götzental, served with green asparagus, black garlic and sesame sauce. Fried pineapple with Thai basil and lime sorbet rounds off an evening that is a bit like a brief culinary trip to Tokyo, complete with sake tasting.

Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change Copyright©Food Story Media Ltd Miamo 2023 11 Eci RGB
Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change MOLZN F B MINAMO FINAL 01X Eci RGB


Park Hotel Vitznau

Little Vitznau on the ‘Lucerne Riviera’ might be the most surprising place on Lake Lucerne. Thanks to its sheltered location at the foot of Mount Rigi, it is blessed with plenty of sun. With its palm trees and vineyards, the atmosphere is almost Mediterranean, and it definitely is when you take a seat at ‘focus’, a gourmet restaurant with all-round windows in the Park Hotel Vitznau. The eight tables are very much in demand as head chef Patrick Mahler has many devoted fans.

The restaurant’s name can be taken literally: the 40-year-old chef has a focused style that combines French elegance with Nordic reductionism and exceptionally subtle flavours. Mahler’s favourite discipline is Japanese dashi, which he varies in many different ways. It appears in every menu, as a basic ingredient in vinaigrettes, sauces and marinades: ‘Dashi is very light, but at the same time it is packed full of good flavours – it is an umami bomb,’ he says. Take the mushroom and morel dashi, for example, which goes so well with the delicate sweetness of fried Norway lobster. This dish is served with fresh morels, filled with a poultry stuffing and morel duxelles. Incidentally, the wines alone are a good enough reason to visit ‘focus’.

The owner is one of the most important collectors in Europe, and there are some 33,000 bottles and over 4,500 different labels stored in the venue’s six wine cellars (one of which is devoted solely to Château d’Yquem). And in this way, to go with their beef tartare with beetroot jelly and to offset the sweetly intense creaminess of foie gras ice cream, guests might get to enjoy a 2005 vintage port from Quinta de la Rosa – slightly cooled, which takes away any excessive heaviness that the port might have. Or they might round off the flavours of cero mackerel with caviar, hazelnut cream, crème fraîche and delicately tart ponzu vinaigrette with a full- bodied Chenin Blanc from the legendary Domaine Huet in the Loire valley.

Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change Focus Details 202106KL37523 Eci RGB
Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2023 2024 Winds Of Change Focus Chef 202106KL37323 Eci RGB

Words Patricia Bröhm

Related Stories

In an age of transformation in which we are all striving for efficiency and sustainability and looking for new paths, the restaurant industry is no exception. Even in the fine dining scene, concepts are being reconsidered and structures adapted in order to move with the times. One remarkable discovery in this regard is blooms, the new garden restaurant at the Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich.

Discover more

‘Food and drink play a key role in promoting a tourist destination,’ Dany Stauffacher says. It was with this in mind that he combined these two crucial elements in the first edition of his S.Pellegrino Sapori Ticino event back in 2007.

Discover more

Valais is a privileged location. Switzerland’s largest wine-producing region is blessed with both ideal climatic conditions for wine-making and a fascinatingly broad range of different grape varieties and styles of wine.

Discover more

At the age of just four, Yannick Crepaux had already prepared a dessert with oranges all on his own. Today he cooks in the Valais mountains at the very highest level – and he loves to give his dishes a hint of freshness by adding citrus fruits.

Discover more

‘Serrated knives tear the meat,’ says Michael Bach, founder of the Swiss knife manufacturer Sknife. ‘Only a really sharp blade will glide effortlessly through the juicy meat without wounding it.’ And that is precisely what counts when it comes to getting full enjoyment out of meat.

Discover more

Radicchio has only been grown here since the 1980s. One particular kind has enjoyed a very special career over the last ten years: Radicchio di Castelfranco from Veneto, with its yellow leaves, pretty red speckles and significantly finer leaf structure with fewer bitter compounds.

Discover more

Anyone who is on the lookout for a special flavour experience with coffee would be well advised to try a single origin coffee. The beans come from only one country of origin and guarantee exquisite flavours – ranging from sweet to nutty to fruity – thanks to the traditional cultivation, harvesting and sustainable processing methods used. In order to offer a sustainable flavour experience, Nespresso offers part of its Professional coffee range Origins for companies, restaurants and hotels in organic quality. Today, there are four organic varieties in the Nespresso Professional range.

Discover more