Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

During our recent trip to Switzerland we spent a day sightseeing in Zurich. My husband had planned to surprise me with lunch at Hiltl, the world’s oldest continuously open vegetarian restaurant, but he’s rubbish at keeping secrets and told me the week before! I didn’t mind at all, in fact the anticipation only added to the enjoyment. My transition to vegetarianism has been gradual, from only eating certain meats, to being pescatarian, before becoming completely vegetarian at the beginning of the year. On the other hand, my husband loves meat, so I wondered if he’d enjoy his meal at Hiltl or just suffer it for my sake.

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

As well as the à la carte menu there is also a buffet, with the option of an all you can eat price or paying per 100g.

Having seen the menu beforehand we knew what to expect, but even so, it took me ages to decide what to order. We didn’t have a starter because we wanted to save room for dessert. I managed to narrow my choice down to a dish from the Indian & Asia section but everything looked so delicious. It was very hot that day and if the restaurant had air con it wasn’t working very well because I was boiling, so very spicy food was a no-no. I eventually opted for the Sri Lanka jackfruit curry, while Pete ordered the cordon bleu. Isobel, true to form, had the spaghetti bolognese…she loves her pasta! As well as the à la carte menu there is also a buffet, with the option of an all you can eat price or paying per 100g.

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

My main course and dessert were both vegan, but some of the non-vegan dishes can be adapted to suit your dietry requirements.

The menu makes it very easy to see what the dishes contain with the list of symbols. If you have any allergies all the information is there for you too see at a glance. My main course and dessert were both vegan, but some of the non-vegan dishes can be adapted to suit your dietry requirements. I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming vegan but don’t feel ready yet. In the meantime I’m just trying to cut down on dairy.

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

While waiting for our meals I sipped on the most delicious ginger and lemongrass mojito I’ve ever had…it was worth the 17CHF, which is about £13.70!

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

The Sri Lanka jackfruit curry was mildly spicy and full of flavour. The jackfruit is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family and is native to South India. It has a firm texture but a rather neutral taste so it takes on the flavour of whatever it’s cooked with. The mild coconut milk-based sauce complimented the roasted cashew nuts and tangy orange pickle it was served with.

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant Sri Lank jackfruit curry

Even my meat-loving husband said his meal was absolutely delicious and that he didn’t miss meat at all.

The Hiltl cordon bleu is made with organic smoked tofu instead of meat. Obviously I had to taste it for research purposes (not having had a cordon bleu before) and it was so tasty. Even my meat-loving husband said his meal was absolutely delicious and that he didn’t miss meat at all. In fact since then he’s cooked some fabulous vegetarian meals for us all. The cordon bleu was served with yummy thick chips which I gladly helped out with! If you can’t finish your meal the staff will box it up so you can take it home (the restaurant also operates a takeaway service).

Eating at Hiltl has shown him that vegetarian dining can be every bit as tasty and enjoyable as a meat feast.

I was so impresed with Hiltl: the service was fantastic and the range and quality of food is amazing. It’s not cheap, but then nothing in Switzerland is, especially when you’re from the UK and the exchange rate is poor (thanks Brexit!). Even so, it was worth every penny and if I lived in or near Zurich I’d be back there every week. I think it’s fair to say that my husband was a bit concerned that we would rarely eat together after I became vegetarian. Eating at Hiltl has shown him that vegetarian dining can be every bit as tasty and enjoyable as a meat feast.

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant Hiltl cordon bleu

We were pretty full after our meal but managed to find room for a scoop of vegan ice cream, which was more like sorbet. I had the lychee and raspberry ice cream, which was perfect for finishing off a wonderful meal.

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant vegan ice cream

Haus Hiltl holds the Guinness world record for being the oldest continuously open vegetarian restaurant in the world.

The restaurant takes its name from Ambrosius Hiltl, a tailor who took over a struggling vegetarian restaurant after his health was transformed by giving up meat. Since 1898, it has been personally maintained and cared for by the Hiltl family. Haus Hiltl holds the Guinness world record for being the oldest continuously open vegetarian restaurant in the world.

The “veggie butcher”

In November 2013 the Hiltl shop opened next to the restaurant, with the first veggie butcher of Switzerland. At the “butcher’s counter”, meat alternatives such as tofu, seitan, tempeh and soya sausage products are offered.  Other specialities such as the popular Hiltl Tartare, Züri-Geschnetzeltes (sliced strips of veal in a cream and mushroom sauce) or homemade cordon bleu are also available.

Lunch at Hiltl, the World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

Cocktails at the Jules Verne bar

After our delicious meal at Hiltl we had a little wander along to the Jules Verne bar, as recommended to us by our hosts. The cocktail menu is very impressive, as are the views over the city. I had an El Floridita Daiquiri (sticking to rum after the mojito) which was quite sharp and very refreshing thanks to the grapefruit, lime and peppermint.

Isobel decided she’d rather sit at the bar by herself watching the bartender make the cocktails while we enjoyed the view.

Jules Verne bar Zurich

Jules Verne bar Zurich

Jules Verne bar Zurich

After finishing our cocktails we did a bit of window shopping before getting the train back to Zug. I thoroughly enjoyed Zurich and hope to return there soon.

 

Have you ever been to Zurich? If you have I’d love to hear your tips for what to do and see!

 

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Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Hope poncho

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen some photos from my recent holiday in Abu Dhabi. I have to admit that having never visited the UAE before, I really didn’t know what to expect. Knowing how to dress appropriately was the biggest conundrum for me as I had read conflicting dress code guides on the internet. Luckily, as we were staying with friends I was able to ask for advice beforehand.  Of course that still didn’t prevent me from over-packing! Old habits die hard.

 The design and construction of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is said to “unite the world” by using artisans and materials from many different countries

Having done some research on what to do and see in Abu Dhabi, at the top of my list was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque, which opened in 2007, is one of the world’s largest, with a capacity for 40,000 worshippers. It has 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The design and construction of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is said to “unite the world” by using artisans and materials from many different countries. The seven imported chandeliers from Germany incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals….that’s a lot of bling!

All visitors are required to observe a strict dress code; women need to cover up from head to toe, including hair. Wearing a long sleeved top, full length trousers or maxi skirt is fine, but you are told at the entrance if you need to borrow an abaya (a full length loose robe) which is free of charge. The abayas at the mosque also have a hood, but they are not very flattering…Isobel said I looked like a dentist, so I used my pashmina to cover my hair.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

We used the cooler days to do most of the sightseeing, which gave me the opportunity to wear my gorgeous poncho from Hope.

The usually hot and dry weather seemed to be taking a holiday of its own when we arrived – it was actually raining when we touched down. The weather did improve as the week progressed, but for the first few days it was windy and a bit chilly at times. We used the cooler days to do most of the sightseeing, which gave me the opportunity to wear my gorgeous poncho from Hope. The visit to the mosque was the first stop on the Big Bus Tour which allows you to hop on and off, stopping at all the main attractions. The ticket includes a cruise along the corniche on a traditional wooden Arabian Dhow that lasts about 40 minutes. It’s a lovely way to view the Abu Dhabi skyline.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Dhow cruise Hope-poncho

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Dhow Cruise

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Dhow cruise

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho Azuni-athena-cuff

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Outfit details: Hope poncho | Zara trousers | FitFlops | Azuni Athena cuff

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld-wave-machine

Towards the end of the week the weather had improved so we spent the day at Yas Waterworld. I have to admit that I’m not really a fan of hurtling down water slides at breakneck speed but it was a really fun day. In fact I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I was even brave enough to go on a rollercoaster…twice! It wasn’t a particularly scary rollercoaster (according to my husband who’s an afficionado when it comes to lunatic rides) but it was enough for me!

We floated serenely around the lazy river, before going on a white knuckle ride down a water slide on a big inflatable for six people.

Yas Waterworld isn’t cheap (it was about £100 for the three of us) but it was definitely worth it. It wasn’t at all busy so there were no queues and lots of sunloungers free. I got to relax and surf the internet (there’s free wifi) while watching Isobel get soaked by the giant tipping bucket and whizz down the little slides. We floated serenely around the lazy river, before going on a white knuckle ride down a water slide on a big inflatable for six people. I happened to be sitting backwards, which may have been a good thing as I couldn’t see what was coming. Halfway down Isobel decided that she didn’t like it…a bit late to bail out at that stage! Thankfully the arrival wasn’t as violent as the journey and I didn’t get dunked.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld-water-chutes

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld snakes

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld sun-loungers

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld dryers

As well as fun at Yas Waterworld, we did spend some time at the beach where we were staying. The sea was a bit cold for me to do more than paddle but I thoroughly enjoyed basking in the sun looking out towards the Yas Marina F1 circuit.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi al-muneera-beach-abu-dhabi

Going to the mall is a day out in itself – Yas Mall is huge and spotlessly clean, with plenty of pristine public toilets ( a bonus when you’ve got kids). I made a beeline for Zara (as I always do) and bought a couple of pairs of culottes. I also bought a pretty bird print bag with a chain strap from another shop, which I’m sure will make an appearance on the blog soon.

Holiday to Abu Dhabi Yas Mall

Holiday to Abu Dhabi Yas mall

The last day of our holiday was also the birthday party of our friend’s young daughter. I wore one of the many tops I’d packed but hadn’t worn, with some new culottes from Yumi.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi jane-norman-top-al-muneera

Holiday in Abu Dhabi jane-norman-top

Outfit details: Jane Norman top (similar)  Azuni Athena cuff  | Yumi culottes

During our holiday we took a trip to Dubai, which I’ll be posting about separately later in the week because otherwise there’d be far too many photos! Also, I think a trip to the world’s tallest building deserves a post all to itself 😉

Have you ever been to the UAE? Or are you planning a trip there? I’d love to hear about your travel plans in the comments! Now, let’s get the link up party started 🙂

 


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