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A menu made of preserved, pickled and cured dishes: SHELF LIFE by Tastelab (5. October 2017)

| January 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

The concept of SHELF LIFE was basically that you would get everything which can get pickled or somehow else conserved – salted, pickled, or any other form of it. There was a selection of eleven different courses you could pick from – totally six different ones which was part of the menu for CHF 95.00. We started with the “carrots with carrot jam and carrot ashes” – while the carrots had a bit too much a taste of vinegar for my personal gusto, the combination of the carrot jam with the relatively sour carrot was quite fine.

The “bread with butter” on the other hand was rather disappointing as the butter didn’t really taste like anything but admittedly, the bread was quite tasty by itself.

The second course that evening was “salted Matjes herring, carrot jam (again!!!), pickled carrots and chili”. While I haven’t really realized that it was twice the same type of vegetable (i.e. carrots) while eating it as the matjes herring was definitely overlapping the other flavours quite strongly, I realized now, while reading that it is quite boring somehow. The dish itself wasn’t bad at all but just not such an interesting combination of flavours.

The “watermelon jerky, buffalo mozzarella and mint” on the other hand was quite an interesting combination. The mozzarella itself was rather straight forward but the watermelon jerky really had the consistency of beef jerky but the sweetness of watermelon which went perfectly with the smooth and soft mozzarella – great combination. The mint was something which completely got lost in all the other flavours.

The next course, “black lentils, confit aubergines, chorizo, labneh” looked a bit special at first and while the lentils provide a solid basis for the dish, they do not taste like too much on their own, so make sure you’re not just left with lentils at the very end of the dish (as I was) but make sure to combine the flavours of the spicy and intense chorizo with the well-balanced labneh taking out its spiciness.

The first ‘main course’, if you want, was “confit duck, preserved chanterelles, apricot compote”. The duck was served kind of in ‘stick form’ so I was quite curious on how it was going to taste and it was as a matter of fact basically ‘pulled duck’ but really pressed together. The chanterelles were again a bit on the intense side when it comes to vinegar but in combination with the sweetness of the apricot compote and the balanced duck, it turned out to be a great dish.

The second main course was “pork belly, sweet & sour botzi-pears, confit cabbage”. The cabbage in combination with the sauce really tasted like ‘kimchi’ – an association which would not immediately come to your mind but actually describes the combination of flavours quite well. The pork belly was rather fatty but prepared sous-vide so it was incredibly smooth and rich in taste. The botzi pears on the other hand were again rather average.

The last official course that evening was a selection of “goat milk cheeses served with preserved plums, dried fruits and an oat bar”. While the goat milk cheeses were quite good overall, I was kind of expecting a proper explanation what exactly was served here.

Last but not least, we got some “chocolates with a topping” (didn’t write it down and can’t remember) which was fine but very intense in terms of chocolate flavour.

While I like the idea and the concept, I must say, I was a bit disappointed by the whole thing. I mean, it is probably quite interesting from a conceptual point of view but admittedly in terms of flavours there were only so many surprises – not that many. However, the place is generally quite nice and well thought through in terms of interior design and you get to see all the pickled ingredients in jars at the walls.

The service on the other hand is absolutely friendly but not entirely up to the task. The waiter was friendly and swift but the waitress who attended us throughout the evening wasn’t really doing a great job as she wasn’t attentive at all. Pity really as this always contributes (in this case, negatively) to the experience. In addition to that, we went for the “wine pairing” (CHF 45.00 for four wines) but she managed to not time it properly so we would end up with only three wines (Cava, Gramona, Spain; Grüner Veltliner, Nittnaus, Austria; Pinot Cabarnet, Herter Wein, Switzerland) while our meal was already over – at least they deducted the last one from the bill (ending up costing CHF 34.00, still, it is not how it is supposed to work!

When it comes to the other beverages, the prices are quite fair – e.g. a bottle of water (Passugger) accounts for CHF 8.00, a double espresso for CHF 6.00. I do remember the TASTELAB experience we have had last year in May and I must say it was definitely way better. Not that this was bad or anything but it really just didn’t meet my expectations and the service didn’t perform.


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Contact Details:

SHELF LIFE by Tastelab

Zollikerstrasse 6

8008 Zürich (CH)

Cell: +41 (78) 851 51 21

E-Mail: info@tastelab.ch

Homepage: http://www.shelflife.ch

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
CHF 95.00 Filed in: Restaurants, Zürich (CH)

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