Widen, 1st November 2015
Already the way to the restaurant Hasenberg had something mythic about it. In the evening, the restaurant can only be reached by car, and the way back, the narrow streets seemed to disappear in a foggy veil.
Those who want the total, somewhat pricy, experience, can spend the night in Europe’s oldest Ryokan (Japanese style Guesthouse) complete with 16 Gault Millau points.
From the outside not very impressive guesthouse, has been recently renovated and the main dining area richly decorated.
We visit the guesthouse on the open house day. A large attendance of Japan aficionados and Japanese guests have answered the Hotel’s invitation. The Hasenberg Ryokan is known for its Kaiseki Menus – a highly rated Japanese culinary speciality where small dishes are served one after the other.
The guests, seated in rows, are all excitedly awaiting tonight’s short concert featuring a violin and a trumpet as well as the specially served Honsen Menu.
The Honzen Menu, with it’s ritualistic menu presentation, should transport us back to the 14th century, where it was first invented – however reimaged in the kitchen with a more contemporary note:
The varied menu was delicious. Following a meagre start, the Hyotei egg with truffle was an exciting combination, as were the following main courses: Chawa Mushi with foie gras was the most exotic combination, however, for those who appreciate both the combination was a success. The sushi was also above the fold compared to other Zurich restaurants – the rice had the right consistency and the fish was extremely fresh.
For those eagerly awaiting a warmer dish to contrast with the cool weather outside weren’t disappointed with the breast of duck. The, on caramelised onions, presented duck breast was a treat.
The desert did not really keep its promises as the menu spoke of figs with the kaki. However, for those who like Azuki beans, their expectations were met. It did make us smile however, as it isn’t customary for a Japanese dinner to end with a desert.
From the top left to the low right corner: Rice paper rolls, Chawan Mushi, Breast of duck, Kaki with Azuki beans.
The Ryokan Hasenberg offers its guest an authentic and pleasurable voyage into the Japanese (food) culture. The exquisite dishes, which distinguish themselves from the usual menu items found in other restaurants, is worth the trip and make the Hasenberg an ideal location for special events or occasions.
Hotel Restaurant Ryokan Hasenberg / Usagiyama, Hasenbergstrasse 74, 8967 Widen, www.hotel-hasenberg.ch
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