Zur Schwalbe, once a lovely, typically Bavarian spot for a beer with friends has been renovated and modernized by the chef Karl Ederer.
Having studied in Munich, Ederer started his gastro career in Tantris, before heading to Basel and Paris. In 1980 he returned to Munich, where he worked in Aubergine, the gourmet restaurant in Munich’s city centre. In 2001 he opened his eponymous restaurant Ederer, in the Fünf Höfe, which closed in summer last year. In January, he opened Zur Schwalbe anew.
The design and concept is the restaurant’s first hurdle. Mismatched, garish paintings adorn the walls. Bright red leather cushions pad the benches and the whole twee Heimat decoration has been taken a little too far. The attempt to be an upmarket Westend bistro doesn’t quite work when the toilets haven’t been modernized in several decades.
But all of that would be entirely forgiveable if the food was fresh and high-quality and the service excellent. Alas, that wasn’t the case. I headed there on a Thursday night with Flo for dinner.
I had a fairly average leek and potato soup to start (6 €), followed by onion roast beef (12 €, fine but nothing special). Asparagus was also 12 €, but all other main courses were around double the price.
The plates were cleared, and we ordered dessert (portions weren’t huge, so I was still hungry) – buckthorn creme brulee for me, and pear tart with sorbet for Flo. We then waited a full hour, which gave us a chance to check out the other guests’ complaints (the table of six next to us complained that three of them had finished their starters before the other three had even received their starter, the lady opposite complained that her poached egg was hard, and the asparagus and potatoes were completely unseasoned. The waitress checked in the kitchen and Ederer refused to make a simple sauce for her to perk it up).
After a full hour of waiting for dessert, we were fed up. We paid and left, with no desserts in sight. The waitress was apologetic, but waiting so long for pudding is completely unacceptable.
I can’t see Zur Schwalbe lasting long – and I hope it returns to a cosy beer hall/beer garden in the near future.