«D’Chuchi»? The place to be in Schaffhausen
Schaffhausen isn’t the best-known city on the culinary map. Yet it contains a talented and ambitious young chef in the shape of Jan Schmidlin. “D’Chuchi” offers authentic, modern cuisine.
Small, smaller, «d’Chuchi». In terms of square metres, this restaurant in the historic part of Schaffhausen is tiny. Yet Jan Schmidlin certainly makes a big impression where flavour is concerned. He has been based here since 2014. The restaurant originally belonged to Patrick Schindler (Soi Thai, Action Burgers, etc.), before Jan Schmidlin and his partner Andrea Zürcher took over «d’Chuchi». “The concept was simple at first: we offered things like tasty pasta dishes or steak and chips. However, I was aiming at something a bit more ambitious. Anyone looking for a good, rather than swanky, restaurant in Schaffhausen should come here,” explains Schmidlin.
The first thing you notice in the restaurant (in which dark wood features prominently) are all the cookery books: Spanish and Nordic classics, as well as a book by the legendary Schaffhausen chef André Jaeger. «Jaeger is of course a cult figure in Schaffhausen, but I feel most drawn to the fresh, clean flavours of Nordic cuisine.» Schmidlin uses regional products as far as possible, and his menus often include meat from his Schaffhausen neighbours at Luma Delikatessen. He is flexible, though. «In summer I also like to put sea bass on the menu.»
At the moment he is offering Swiss farmed salmon from Lostallo, rather than sea fish. Jan Schmidlin marinates the fish for two days before serving it with crisp, peppery radishes and a dressing made of yoghurt and fir tip oil. “In May, during lockdown, I had plenty of time to go for walks so I collected fir tips and made an oil with them.” That period is all over now. “D’Chuchi” has been fully booked ever since restaurants were allowed to reopen – even though it has no terrace or outside seating.
Schaffhausen is in fact a bit of a challenge for restaurateurs. «We have no obvious restaurant scene, so many customers go to Winterthur or Zurich to eat. I’d love to see some adventurous new restaurants opening up here.» Even so, Schmidlin does not see himself moving to another city. «I really like it here. People often think of Schaffhausen as off the beaten track, but we’re right on the Rhine and within easy reach of Zurich, Basel and Stuttgart. I think it's a superb location.» Besides, his years of hard work are finally bearing fruit. The GaultMillau guide has awarded the restaurant 13 points.
Schmidlin, who trained at the tourist magnet «Park am Rheinfall», expertly handles the individual components of his dishes. The main course consists of loin and belly from Luma’s pork department. «In my opinion, ‘lumifying’ pork with noble mould is a great thing to do as it really gives the meat something special.» He cooks it sous vide for 48 hours, sautés it briefly and seasons it with a little salt. Nothing else is necessary. Braised carrots and spinach are served alongside. The dessert is an unexpected highlight – even though Jan Schmidlin doesn't have a sweet tooth himself: frozen yoghurt with caramelized white chocolate, and a sorrel and green apple granita.
Text: Kathia Baltisberger, Photos: Olivia Pulver
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