Restaurant Walliserhof is an unassuming little place, nothing special to look at from the outside, and to be fair, we would have probably walked on, had we not been starving and unable to get a table anywhere. In the summer months, you can sit outside and people watch as the trams trundle by – a bit cold to do that in December though!
It has a very typical traditional Swiss/Austrian mountain restaurant feel to it with dark oak wood chairs and tables. Being located on one of the main streets leading into the city centre, it’s not a huge undertaking to get there even if you’re staying in another part of the city. We were staying at the Basel Pullman Europe around 30 metres away so it was a perfect choice, particularly as most of the restaurants in the city near the Christmas markets were full to overflowing. Many also had queues, and, I don’t know about you, but when I’m on holiday, I don’t do standing in line.
It opens for lunch and dinner with a choice of daily specials. They even have live music on Saturday evenings after 7.30pm, but sadly, no oompah band! It has a limited menu, but then this is typical of the area. Notwithstanding there is still plenty of choices to suit most diners. Having been seated and drinks orders taken, we sat back to enjoy the menu, while I savoured many memories as a ski instructor in the Austrian Alps, dining in identikit restaurants. This restaurant oozes warmth in addition to a welcoming environment, which was appreciated. It was cold during our December visit.
My wife and I opted for the cheese fondue, for which, apparently, the Walliserhof is rather famous, and I can understand why having tried it. The third member of the party opted for veal in a cream and mushroom sauce with a rosti.
The cheese was creamy and a nice mix of Gruyere and Emmental, plus I’m fairly certain a third that I couldn’t work out. It was married together with a good quality white wine, with just a hint of garlic and a glass of Kirsch I’m fairly certain. It arrived at the table all bubbling and steaming with what looked like enough bread to feed every pigeon in Basel – and there’s quite a few! Both the Co and I got stuck in, twirling and twisting bread into unctuous thick globules of deliciousness. There’s a good reason why they have made a name for themselves in the Swiss fondue arena.
The veal was perfect, thin, dressed in a crispy crumb and fried to a light golden brown, served with a creamy mushroom sauce, which balanced out the texture of the crisp and the earthiness of the veal. And to top it all off, a cracking rosti. It was fried crispy around the edges, soft in the middle, and hadn’t been messed about with by adding unnecessary ingredients like bacon and onions. This was a traditional Bernese breakfast dish, unadorned and unadulterated – and it was all the more delicious for it
Food was plentiful, hot, arrived with excellent service and a smile – what more do you need. Prices were very favourable with other eateries. I could certainly recommend the Walliserhof if you should happen to be visiting Basel.