It felt good to finally sit down. Zermatt was having the perfect day. Not a cloud in sight, the sun had been shining for the most part. Walking on Bahnhofstrasse, my daughter and I were famished as it was well past lunch hour and we had managed to grab one of the three outdoor tables at the Restaurant Whymper Stube.
I had previously read about Whymper Stube and that it was the recommended place to have Raclette in Zermatt. At CHF 9,- a plate, it didn’t seem all that bad a deal considering the location.
Owing to the weather, the portable ice cream station of the restaurant was out by the side of the street and a thin line of people (of all sizes mind you) had suddenly formed, making it difficult for the lady in charge to attend to us as she incessantly scooped one flavour of gelato after another for her standing customers.
The view of the majestic Hotel Zermatterhoff in front and the relief of finally being on ground was comforting while we waited for the menu to arrive as for only about half an hour back both of us had been hanging by a wire, above the steepest of Swiss valleys.
Fear not, it wasn’t life threatening, rather our little excursion on the Matterhorn Express which had been as scary – for me – as it had been exhilarating for the both is us. We’d gone all the way to Klein Matterhorn, on the Italian side, swaying and moving gently over a bottomless valley that would have looked spectacular had I had the courage to look down.
Instead, I spent most of the time looking at the people inside the cabin and found comfort on seeing them go quiet and still as soon at the gondola came to an abrupt halt midway. I wasn’t the only anxious one it would turn out.
My daughter went along the entire way in a nonchalant manner, especially getting excited whenever the gondola would stop leading to it swaying side to side – not surprising considering she actually enjoys turbulence during a flight.
But, heights and fear aside, it had been a wonderful day. Matterhorn looked glorious no matter where we viewed it from and our little stop at Schwarzsee with its small lakes and serene views had been the highlight of the day.
Now, as we waited for my wife and son (he being too small to go up on the Matterhorn Express), we settled down on solid ground, in beautiful Swiss weather, ready to dive into some local Swiss cuisine.
The service at Whymper Stube was extremely laid-back to the point we had to request them to take the order a couple of times before someone finally came. This happened again later at another restaurant in Lauterbrunnen as well and I believe it’s more of a regional quirk and not poor service.
Nevertheless, a few apologies later, it was all smiles and as the serpentine line for ice-cream diminished, we got all the attention. I should point out that just as they were in no hurry to initially serve us, they weren’t in any to see us go either, as we spent a good hour and a half going through our food at a rather leisurely pace.
Soon enough the family of four next to us – who had arrived earlier – received their pot of cheesy goodness – fondue – and so it was only apt that we had, on our table, chosen to go with the other two Swiss specialties; a Swiss Sausage – veal in this case – and the yummy Raclette.
Having never before eaten sausage in Switzerland I was curious to see how it would be presented – maybe a couple of small bangers often found part of a Full English Breakfast – and was glad to see a large hearty thick portion arrive that took over half the circumference of the plate along with a generous helping of French Fries. I savoured each and every bite of the sausage that oozed a juicy meaty flavor with a perfect deep brown coloured char on the side and then complimented it with a glass of beautiful Pinot Noir – we were celebrating life after all.
The only disappointment of the entire meal would be the lack of drama that I expected around the Raclette. Traditionally half a wheel of cheese would be brought to the table and then the melted part is scrapped off on to the condiments like pickles and potatoes, but on this day, outside, the plate came already with gooey cheese spread across it.
My daughter, who was at this point was enjoying her first ever Orangina, couldn’t have cared less but I felt I was deprived of a photo/video opportunity that I was all set to capture. Food bloggers and their expectations I tell ya!
There’s something inherently warm about Restaurant Whymper Stube; The smiling faces of the staff, the flavours in the food, the location, or maybe it’s just Swiss hospitality, but if you ever find yourself in Zermatt, make sure you stop over and enjoy a relaxed meal that might not be memorable, but it will definitely be comforting and satisfactory.