Garance and Eric (hence Gariko) have turned what used to be a run down bar / restaurant into a sumptuous cocktail bar that emits a little bit of that something special in this Swiss village. Inspired by their travels to Indonesia, the theme of the interior is very much Balinese, from the paintings to the napkin holders. Not something you expect in the Swiss Mountains. Whilst it is a small restaurant (seats 20) the atmosphere is vibrant and welcoming. Seating times are staggered (and there is only 1 sitting) to enable each diner to receive attentive service and freshly cooked food in front of you. There is 1 chef in the kitchen cooking everything – his standard of food is exceptional and clearly he takes a lot of pride in the presentation, taste and attention to detail.
The menu varies with the winter / summer season and delivers for both vegetarian and non –vegetarians requirements. It reads like a modern euro / Asian dream - we were spoilt for choice. It started with an amuse bouche – little bits of fresh crayfish, lime, mango and chilli it was perfectly refreshing. The beautiful marriage of seafood and zingy citrus rarely fails to please but balance is the always the key and the lime came through elegantly without squashing down the delicate flavor of the crayfish and accompanied with refreshing mango.
For starter I decided upon the salmon and tuna tartar – The salmon with tiny specs of apple, chive and lime and the tuna with mango and lime. Whilst you wouldn’t normally choose fish in the mountains this is sourced regionally and is unbelievably fresh. The tartars were light, zesty and vivacious.
My dinner date chose somewhat again a non-Valais starter of warm goats cheese with honey. These were plated up as little lightly rolled cigars of the crispiest filo pasty – light golden brown and crunchy – filled with an oozing delight of warm goats cheese with honey simply drizzled over. This really was heaven.
For my main course I went for the vegetarian Red Thai Curry. The selection of vegetables were crunchy, chunky and colourful. The sauce was spicy and aromatic – like a small volcano going off in your mouth – it was a taste sensation. My dinner guest opted for the Scallops with a saffron cream – 5 juicy, plump scallops served on a bed of polenta with a sliver of crisp chorizo and radicchio. The saffron cream was thick, luscious and served in a mini pot to enable you to dunk, drizzle or smother your scallops. I couldn’t help but over hear the table next to us – they had ordered the rack of lamb, fillet steak and the tuna crusted with sesame seeds – the uummmmssss and ahhhssssss and lack of conversation on the table just demonstrated what the food served can do to foodies!
For Desert I went off piste and chose the chocolate fondant (the chef is a professionally trained pastry chef). This fondant when cut exudes opulence – the chocolate was smooth, velvety and delightful served with a scoop of raspberry sorbet and some zesty red currents and star fruit.
Personally I would skip some of the wines as you are better to sample the local Fondant (white wine) and Gamay or Dole (red wine) these are great value for money and the vines are all from the Valais region. Great locally sourced wine / food should be sampled!
Gariko – found in Nendaz Village really does serve Ambrosia (food of the goods) at the foot of the mountains.
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