To an extent, the world of fine dining lives inside a giant bubble.
Diners at traditional starred restaurants can have their lobster with bisque year-round. While irrational, this is the result of acclaimed chefs vying to meet the expectations of their upscale clientele. While a restaurant’s seasonal choices will vary, lobster, for example, remains permamently on the à la carte menu.
The Omnia Zermatt is refreshingly different. As it has in the past, the five-star hotel is rethinking the status quo and is setting new standards. First and foremost, it is doing this by truly understanding its surroundings. Here in the back of the Matter valley, seasonality and the flavors that nature produces have always played an important part in people’s diets.
Over the course of the past few years, it took two innovative chefs as well as committed hotel owners to introduce this culinary heritage into the world of fine dining.
This alpine menu is “vegetarian first”
Tony Rudolph, the new executive chef at The Omnia Zermatt, has significantly influenced the menu he can now call his own. Together with Hauke Pohl who has helmed the kitchen for five years as executive chef, Rudolph has conceived the Alpine Excellence menu.
At its core, each dish is vegetarian. Instead of meat or seafood, a seasonal vegetable appears centerstage. For Chef Rudolph, the flavors of vegetables should remain pure and honest in that they convey their heritage, seasonality, and place.
The “vegetarian first” concept turns fine-dining topsy-turvy by giving vegetables, traditionally side dishes, all the attention. Chef Rudolph ensures that each dish works as a fulfilling stand-alone course, without any meat or seafood.
During our recent visit, I learn that it is well possible to order a carnivore “upgrade”; be it meat or fish. But to be honest, while my beef steak is delicious, it is sadly redundant. The forest flavors of the mushrooms are enough stimulation for my palate and satisfaction for my stomach. I decide that next time, I will stick to the chef’s recommendation without adding a supplement.
Here are some highlights of the new Alpine Excellence menu at The Omnia Zermatt:
Swiss lentils with pickled vegetables:
Tomato medley, Swiss buffalo mozzarella, wild broccoli, and chanterelles:
Raspberry tartlet with sorell sorbet - one of my favorites:
Why I’ll return to Tony Rudolph at The Omnia Zermatt
Together with the new executive sous chef, Martin Zuber, Rudolph proudly runs Zermatt’s only vegetarian restaurant. I am curious to see how the two develop the concept to new heights.
Speaking of heights: the restaurant is located on top of a giant rock in the center of town. And I consider it more than an eatery; it is a place to experience alpine flavors and tastes. Going back to the Omnia always feels like a homecoming; the friendly and committed staff are familiar, and they remember our likes and dislikes from the last visit.
And thanks to the generous space and lofty atmosphere, this restaurant is a safe haven from the bustle of Zermatt’s main street below.