Pavillon in Zurich, Switzerland appealed to the light, artful and feminine with its dishes and decor but lacked chemistry when paired with Swiss German classics. Though privileged in its physical positioning within the city, the establishment still has room for improvement.
Rise Rating: 47%
The Obsidian Rise diagram above provides a visual for the rating explained in writing, below. From left to right—
Story (1/3): The restaurant’s storyline is highly reflexive. It says of itself, “The elegant Pavillon, one of the most famous restaurants in Zurich, is inviting you to dine in an atmosphere of class. Almost completely enclosed by glass, the rotunda built by star architect Pierre-Yves Rochon offers fantastic views on the surrounding park and river.” Is it enough to be famous for being famous? The Obsidian System challenges this notion, and expects more purpose, substance and cohesion from esteemed eateries. Pavillon receives a one sector rating (one out of the three available) for its attempt to portray a specific atmosphere—here, of quality and of luxury—through its wording, design and ambience. The restaurant currently holds one Michelin star.
Sustainability (0/3): Pavillon does not appear to be working towards Sustainability in any way. Within the menus, select ingredients are said to have a focus on the seasonal; however, there is no mention of their highlighting anything local or obtained with further intent besides taste or prestige.
Experience (2/3): Everything from entering the historic Baur au Lac hotel in which Pavillon sits to taking in the garden and lakeside views to eventually being seated was seamless and upscale. It is worth noting that those who do not like florals nor the color purple should likely steer clear of this restaurant, however, as both motifs are exaggeratedly abundant in the dining room: in decor, cuisine and even in cocktails. Service at the restaurant was soft spoken and polite and verged on less rather than more (presumably due to a lack of ease in speaking English) but was fine in this way— neither too eager nor offensive.
Cuisine (2/3): The Cuisine at Pavillon followed two clear yet parallel trains of thought. On one hand, there were a dominant number of dishes that were modern in their international influence (mostly Asian and Italian, but prepared with a French culinary hand) and decorative presentations. These plates tended to be fish-based or vegetarian and given in small portions. Next to these were insanely delicious Swiss German—yes, more carnivorous—favorites, presented simply and in abundance. Although both threads were individually done very well, marriage was missing between the two. For instance, following citrusy sashimi by buttery veal did not work in flavor or concept. The stark difference in offerings could also mislead patrons to over or under order depending on which set of dishes they choose.
Diversity (2/3): Attempts at Diversity of personnel and plates were present at Pavillon. The leadership team (made up of the chef and pastry chef, sommelier and manager) is clearly male and the wait staff predominantly female, but the inclusion of both is already more than what exists at many other highly rated establishments. As per the above, a variety of provisions based on preference is also available.
For more information regarding this rating methodology, please click here.