We visited the Imagine restaurant at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof for Sunday brunch, arriving at 11:30 in a restaurant which was already entirely full downstairs. Thusly, we were accommodated in a small but perfectly pleasant bar area upstairs which overlooked part of the downstairs dining area. The brunch deal on offer was 35CHF for a self-service buffet including a selection of cold meats, salmon and prawns, fresh made-to-order omelettes and lamb joint, as well as the usual smattering of cereals, fruits and desserts.
Six of us were ushered up into the upstairs bar area before returning back downstairs to place our orders. Besides being a little tight for room around the table in the upstairs bar, the only quibbles we had were that the walk down to the buffet table and back was longer than we were happy with and it also meant walking on a winding staircase with plates and, on occasion, glasses. Also, it meant waiting that little bit longer for service from one of the waiters.
The food was as it should be for a buffet. The prawns were huge but slightly disappointing with several members of the party remarking that they would have been nicer had they been warm, and that they lacked any real flavour. Similarly, criticism was aimed at the lamb joint which one diner said was too fatty. Indeed, on inspection it did appear as a very fatty cut of meat. There was a plentiful supply of fresh fruit which we made the most of, and note was made of the small mousse pots which were available with both the strawberry and apricot mousses attracting particular praise.
The dining room itself is wonderful. It has enormously high vaulted ceilings with well-styled walls and the whole place just smacks of class and fine dining. Even the secluded-feeling upstairs bar was well-presented and defied the 'casual' concept of brunch with its champagne bottle decoration and faux stone panelled ceilings.
However, you can't help but leave the restaurant feeling that you've paid over-the-odds for what is essentially nothing more than a buffet brunch. The meats were not tangibly a cut above that which you'd find at other continental breakfast buffets and, for those visiting from Germany, the buffet did not taste much above that which you would expect from Cafe Extra-Blatt - at half the price. When the final bill arrived - for 290CHF for 6 people - it was enough to make you wince.
Good food, great venue, but very expensive.
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