What would you like to cook?
A moment in time for regional cuisine
The Bernese people are raving about "Moment". In this minimalistically furnished restaurant, Andrin Steuri cooks what the region has to offer. This chef from eastern Switzerland had envisaged his life differently.
There's plenty going on at "Moment" at the moment. In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the capital is finally reawakening. People are desperate to get out and enjoy what was off limits for a few weeks. Andrin Steuri is the head chef at this little restaurant on Postgasse. He has been cooking minimalist regional cuisine here for the past two years. His food captures the spirit of the times like never before. "I prefer to use local produce wherever possible – without being dogmatic about it."
While espresso still flows from the machine, Steuri has avoided chocolate since the start of the year. "To me it just seemed wrong, even though I love chocolate desserts. Maybe I'll revert back at a later date. I don't want to commit myself. A final decision like that is difficult."
When Andrin Steuri shares his thoughts, the ideology behind them is clear. He openly admits that not everything works out in practice the way he wants it to. He has little problem sourcing organic vegetables – Andrin is able to get what he needs from Sarah Dähler in Seftigen or from Stefan Brunner's "Eichhof".
"It's not as easy with meat. I would like to buy and use entire animals but that's just not possible with our numbers. And in Berne, it's difficult to find restaurateurs who are willing to join forces and share an animal." Nevertheless, Andrin doesn't let this get him down. He's still in a process in which he can keep growing and wants to continue doing so.
I was desperate to get into fine dining. As a newcomer, I thought I should get in at the top.
Andrin knows only too well that life doesn't always turn out the way you think. He wanted to make animated films and went to art college in Lucerne. "It's a very difficult profession to be in", he says. He came into contact with the gastro scene in Zurich and decided to train as a chef at the age of 29. "I was desperate to get into fine dining. As a newcomer, I thought I should get in at the top."
Steuri trained under Werner Rothen at "Schöngrün". On completing his apprenticeship, he moved on straight away. "I learnt a lot about quality and techniques. However, my time there also showed me what I don't want." Steuri is all about modern HR management and minimalistic dishes. He was most influenced by his time in Paris. "I was inspired by the way the food was handled in the neo bistros. Top-quality food but served in a more relaxed manner. I knew that I wanted to do the same."
Steuri chops the kohlrabi very finely and marinates it with spinach puree. He drapes a salad of wild herbs over the top, including ground ivy, sorrel, cinquefoil, rocket, blackberry leaves, lady's mantle, yarrow.
The composition varies, depending on what can be foraged locally. "I pick my own herbs. In my spare time or during my breaks", says Steuri.
He often takes his two children with him into the great outdoors – even though they are still too young to be of any real help. Andrin loves to tinker with his recipes, too. Regional cuisine doesn't mean that you have to avoid dishes from far-off lands. He simply makes his ceviche with pike perch from Lake Maggiore. And he uses rhubarb juice instead of lemon to gently cook the fish. He adds a couple of fresh wild strawberries and last year's gooseberries soaked in brine.
Steuri aims to challenge his guests a little by playing with the acidity and heat in such dishes. Then there's a course that's simply lip-smackingly tasty: Dumplings made from toast crusts (left over from the Japanese lunchtime sandwich) with nettle quark and regional summer truffles. The restaurant covers two floors and suits this style of cuisine, which has been awarded 14 GaultMillau points. There are no table settings, no embellishments, nothing pretentious. Yet the minimalistic set-up is by no means cold. "Moment" is a pretty good match for Andrin Steuri at this moment in time.
Text: Kathia Baltisberger, Photos: Olivia Pulver
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