Wednesday, February 13, 2008


4 out of 5 stars

I have been a regular fan of Old Swiss Inn since the start of college (almost a decade ago). As much as college seemed like years away, it barely holds a candle to Old Swiss Inn, which had been around since 1946, the original one being located in Manila. (picture to the left is the one I frequent in Makati, care of Margauxlicious.

While many restaurants go for modern minimalist (industrialist → private joke), Old Swiss Inn revels in the traditional Alpine look. The walls are made of log timber, the stain glass windows depict scenes in Switzerland, Swiss flaglettes adorn the wooden beams and pillars….heck, even the staff has a Swiss costume on! ☺ And even if it’s been around for more than 50 years, it doesn’t feel old at all. Continued renovation and upkeep have made this place as fresh as the first time it was built, no musty odors, nor rotting furniture in sight!

The menu constantly updates itself, keeping the old favorites, but adding new dishes for the old-timers. To start with, I always get myself a Four Seasons shake. This is probably one of the rare restos that makes a mean Four Seasons since the fruits are fresh (not concentrate). Then they whip it up in different layers adding that touch of grenadine at the bottom, finally decorating it pretty nicely with a parasol hat for that tropical touch. As I said before, some of you rate the place by its service or ambience, but I am rather partial to a resto that blenders a good 4 Season Shake.

We start off with my favorite dish, and definitely one of the permanent mainstays in the menu, being this resto’s crowning glory: the fondue. Although most get the chocolate fondue, where Old Swiss uses decadent chocolate Toblerones, I prefer getting the Waatlander fondue (650 PhP), its cheese counterpart. In this fondue, you dip day-old bread (since freshly baked ones would not be able to hold its consistency upon dipping) in a bowl of melted raclette that is simmered with olive oil, a hint of garlic and a splash of kirsch (a cherry brandy). Eating this is pretty much dope for me, and I must confess to eating it every time I’m in Old Swiss. As much as this fondue is ideal for large groups, I still wolf it down even if we’re just a couple of diners. It’s also comfort food, and has the same consistent taste through the years, except for one time where they overloaded with kirsch. Remember the movie “Ratatouille,” where Anton Ego (the food critic) ate Remy’s ratatouille, transporting him back to his childhood days when his grandmother cooked the same for him? I can seem to relate with that situation because when I eat this fondue, it never fails to take me back to my college days, where we’d grab a bite here in the wee hours of the morning right after club-hopping. This transitions well into my next FYI, in that Old Swiss Inn stays open for 24 hours. Yep, it’s probably the only semi-fine dining place I know that stays open forever. And guess what? It’s now wi-fi! So as far as Makati yuppies are concerned, those all-nighter projects could be wrapped up here ☺

The famous FONDUE!

Going back to the food, I ordered Risotto Fruitti di Mare (Seafood Risotto, 375 PhP), since it wasn’t one of the usual dishes I got here, most being replaced by new ones, others still in the menu for being signature dishes. Two of my most often-ordered entrees still on their list would be the Zurich Geschnetzeltes (the latter word refers to the way the meat is cut and shredded into strips, 310 PhP) as well as the Rham Schnitzel (schnitzel being either of the upper or lower part of a cordon bleu, ). I actually like the Geschnetzeltes more. It’s basically pork tenderloin with a mix of mushrooms, wine, onions and a bunch of my favorite fatty things: cream, oil and beurre manié (50/50 butter/flour mix). It’s accompanied by roesti, a traditional Swiss siding of buttery potato pancakes. That’s not to say that Rham Schnitzel (there’s also a Paniertes Schnitzel, but it’s not as good) is chopped liver….It’s still delicious, especially with its siding of spatzle (something like Swiss pasta).

Back to the risotto, it was presented beautifully, with the Arborio rice forming a three-sided star while the seafood and tomato concasse meticulously placed on its top. However, I was mildly surprised that I wasn’t blown away with this dish compared to the Geschnetzeltes. The risotto was okay, above average at best. Sad to say, I didn’t notice anything extraordinary with the dish, be it the freshness of the ingredients or the intensity of its flavor.

Risotto Fruitti di Mare

My other friend got the Dame of Salmon (385 PhP) described in the menu as poached salmon in wine, fresh herbs, and served with a chive sauce. Fresh spring greens in raspberry vinaigrette on the side. Again, the same verdict as the risotto.

Dame of Salmon

Finally, Pao got the Corned Beef (350 PhP), Swiss Inn's very own corned beef brisket, served with sautéed cabbage and boiled potatoes. Pao also had a lukewarm response to his serving. I personally thought that it would have been better to have accompanied it with a spicy horseradish-mayo dip, which is often the sauce for this kind of brisket. But to its credit, Old Swiss Inn supposedly cures their own meats for their corned beef.

Corned Beef

All in all, I would have rated Old Swiss Inn 4.5 out of 5 Stars if not for my last visit there, where our dishes weren’t just hitting the spot. But considering that I’ve been here more than 20 times --- and that it has maintained its quality --- should speak for its reputation as a safe bet for any resto exploration. I would suggest to pick from the categories of “signature dishes,” “from the sea,” and “from the grill.” And if you’re a chocolate lover, don’t miss out on their toblerone fondue. Quite appropriate for the valentine season, if I may say so myself ☺

my MAS barkada in Old Swiss

ate in:
Old Swiss Inn Restaurant, Olympia Towers (24 Hours)
G/F Olympia Towers, Makati Ave. cor. Sto. Tomas St.
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 818-0098
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 12:00 mn - 12:00 mn

other branches:
Old Swiss Inn Restaurant, Alabang
2nd Flr. BMW Auto Centrum Ave., cor. Madrigal Avenue, Ayala Alabang
Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila
(02) 809-2326
Su, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Su, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Old Swiss Inn Restaurant, Garden Plaza Hotel
Ground Level, The Garden Plaza Hotel and Suites, 1030 Belen St., Paco
Manila City, Metro Manila
(02) 522-4835 to 39
M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 am - 11:00 pm


Anonymous said...

still the best Fondue in town

grey eats said...

sakai: I agree! That's why I couldn't wait to write a review on it :)

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