2018/12/16

Review of Restaurant Einstein (“new again”), Aarau/Switzerland

Location

Hippest dining spot in town under management No. 3

A year ago, I last wrote about one of my favorite restaurants in Aarau, the next bigger town to Olten – where I live –, Restaurant Einstein. On this occasion I informed about a new, rather daring food concept that was introduced here by management No. 2 and expressed doubt about its chance of success (see here all my corresponding posts). Unfortunately, my concerns were justified. The restaurant’s concept failed and the management threw the towel.

At the beginning of October 2018, Restaurant Einstein reopened again, under management No. 3. Of course, I could not resist to visit it the place in its first month of operation, and this only some days before setting off on my big journey to Australia and New Zealand (more about this later on my blog). Here now my first impression of Einstein “new again”, maybe a bit faded after my epic trip to the other side of the world, sorry for this …

Location/Ambiance

It is not necessary to say much about this topic as the interiors have been left more or less unchanged. An amendment was taken at the entrance, the big curtain that obscured the view into the restaurant’s interior was removed. This change makes the place more open and gives it a certain lightness.

Another modification took place as to the tables. The matt bare tables that found their way into the dining room under the former management are gone and the white table runners and the shiny burgundy colored tables from management No. 1 are back again.

Restaurant Einstein is still one of the most stylish and urban places for eating out in the town of Aarau. In my opinion, no other restaurant in town is close enough of conveying such a sense of vastness and modern lifestyle.

Food concept

Before Restaurant Einstein was reopened in October 2018 you could read in local newspapers that the place would not become an expensive gourmet temple, but a slightly upscale food concept would be established. Furthermore, it was promised that there would be classics as Wiener schnitzel and Zurich veal on the menu.

After the menu on offer on my visit and also after checking the current one I can confirm that the new manager made his promise true. You get here a Mediterranean, alpine inspired cuisine with influences from Piedmont to Styria, a province in southeastern Austria – the manager is an Austrian. Everything is made in-house; no finished goods are used.

You get here Swiss classics – as announced –, grilled meat from the asado roast and some Italian evergreens. When I had dinner here about 20 days after the reopening, my husband and I wanted to have fish, but contrary to the menu on the internet, checked one or two days before the visit, there was only one available (instead of two as announced earlier), and this not one of our favorites. In the meantime, this shortcoming was eliminated, there is now a market fish from the asado roast on offer.

Sampled dishes

As mentioned, my husband and I went for the only fish dish available, perch filets with a butter-lemon sauce, spinach and boiled potatoes.
My mother in law, who accompanied us, opted for a seasonal dish, a deer saltimbocca on saffron risotto.
As starters, my husband and I contented ourselves with a simple but tasteful seasonal salad containing greens, pumpkin, quince, beetroot and lentils.
My mother in law choose a more elaborate dish, pickled zander with horseradish, Brussel sprouts, dill mayonnaise and quince.
When it came to desserts, I decided to sample the in-house made ice cream, chestnut and fior di latte ice cream with caramel sauce.
Everything we had was impeccably prepared with a modern twist every now and then. In my opinion, some dishes might gain if they were a bit more sophisticated, but this is a minor flaw. After all, the management wanted the cuisine to be only slightly upscale …

Service/Price

The manager in charge, Franz Maier, an Austrian by origin, won his laurels in the region and a bit further away as a capable restaurateur. I got the impression that he knows his business. He was always on the spot when a member of his service team made an occasional slip. All in all, staff was friendly, attentive and competent. I think the servers need some more time to merge into a forceful team.

In terms of prices, they seem to be OK for a restaurant with this standard (slightly upscale). A meal here does not come inexpensive, but it is not a wallet breaker either.

Overall

I am positive that Franz Maier and his team have the potential to make Restaurant Einstein great again. It will not be the same place as it used to be under management No. 1 (a modern European, Asian-influenced restaurant) but there is also no need to do the same thing for decades. In my opinion, the food concept – Mediterranean, alpine inspired cuisine with a mix of rustic and contemporary dishes – suits the restaurant. In my humble opinion, maybe a shot of innovation in preparation and technique here and there might be a good idea. I look forward to seeing how Einstein will develop over time.
Date of visit: October 2018

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