I do love a good burger. I even remember the best one I ever had, at the Sheraton Hotel at Malpensa airport, Milan of all places. When I was contacted by the Helvti Diner I immediately arranged a visit to sample the burgers there, as well as being excited by the range of side dishes, drinks and other Americana. We went to the Helvti Diner in Zurich on a Saturday afternoon. It was well patronised but thankfully not full although it did fill up more while we were there. The interior is a pretty faithful representation of an American diner with some Swiss touches like low backs on the booth furniture.
The waitress who took our order was very nice and also asked if we wanted her to speak German or English. We ordered a Swiss Prime burger and a Classic burger which is made from Angus beef. Also available is a wagyu beef patty. I am glad that the words “Kobe beef” we’re not mentioned anywhere because as I recently discovered, real Kobe beef cannot be exported out of Japan. I was pleased that the burger choice was not huge. They have taken the view of offering their burgers in three types of beef and given the customer the choice of size, sauces, accompaniments and how they wish it to be cooked. Some places take a burger, add some cheese and a fried egg and give it a separate place on the menu under a name like the Farm burger or something. I prefer the approach of the Helvti. Take your burger, add what you want and tell us how you want it cooked. We went for BBQ sauce with one and garlic mayo with the other as well as a portion of fries to share. Soft drinks come in a 500ml glass if you so choose. When the food came, I cut mine in half to inspect the cooking. I asked for mine to be medium rare and I would say it was spot on.
My wife went for well done and again it was good. Well cooked but not dry. We had no complaints at all about the burgers in terms of flavour or quality. Mine left a lot of liquid behind on the plate, I might go for Medium next time but I like a burger to be juicy. The fries were really good, as were the sauces. The BBQ sauce was a different colour to what you would expect (it is in the small glass dish in the photo above this paragraph) and had a nice little spice kick.
We had no complaints at all about the burgers in terms of flavour or quality. Mine left a lot of liquid behind on the plate, I might go for Medium next time but I like a burger to be juicy. The fries were really good, as were the sauces. The BBQ sauce was a different colour to what you would expect (it is in the small glass dish in the photo above this paragraph) and had a nice little spice kick. The garlic mayo was delicious. Both buns were nicely toasted, but I wouldn’t say they added much to the burger. A touch I liked was that the burger is served straight up. In the bun, you get your beef patty atop a slice of lettuce with any cheese you have requested and any extra like the egg. The usual garnish like tomato, gherkin and more lettuce is served nicely presented, on the side, for you to add as you wish. We rounded things off with an excellent dark chocolate milk shake. So, lots to like. The service was very good, the burgers certainly were excellent as were the fries. As I said, I like the way the menu is presented as well as letting you choose how to add the garnishes. In terms of presentation and taste, absolutely no complaints. One negative I have to stress is the price. A bill of 100 CHF for two people is hefty for a burger meal. Here’s our receipt so you can see exactly what we had (click for a larger image):
12.50 CHF for a 355ml milk shake is extremely expensive, no matter how good, and is something I could not justify choosing again. A prosecco at 9 CHF, however, is decent value for Zurich. There is a reason for the prices. In true Swiss fashion, the prices are justified by the quality of the ingredients. For example, the shake contains three scoops of premium ice cream, no milk powder or artificial flavourings. When it comes to the meat, the burgers contain no filler so no cheaper pork or bread to bulk it up. Their belief is that the Helvti Diner is the only place in Switzerland to feature only 100% beef in its burgers. As we were there on a Saturday afternoon, we did not sample the bar but the selection of drinks and cocktails is impressive. Any bar that offers Hendricks gin knows what they are doing! Worth noting that from October 2012, they are starting a Happy Hour on Fridays from 22:00 to midnight. We will definitely go back to the Helvti Diner, we enjoyed our meal there very much. If prices were more reasonable, I would probably try to get there at least every two weeks. As it stands we will go there perhaps a couple of times a year. I do recommend you try it and decide for yourself.
Helvti Diner Kasernenstrasse 2 8004 Zürich Tel: +41-43-322-04-24 Opening Hours:
|Monday – Thursday||11.30-14.30 18.00-23.00|
|Saturday, brunch||10.00-16.00 18.00-01.00|