Since we first opened the Brasserie Uno in December 2018, our menus have been a celebration of nature’s gifts and the rhythm of the seasons. Creating, innovating and experimenting is at the heart of what we do. Discovering new ingredients, producers, techniques and friendships is what inspires us. Surprising our guests with inventive new dishes is what keeps us excited. Yet our concept has always gone beyond what’s on the plate. Sustainability has always been fundamental to our concept, be it regarding our functioning or the products we use . Over the past four years, this has led us not only on an exciting journey of learning, growing and evolving, but also to Brasserie Uno becoming the first and only restaurant in Valais with a Michelin star and a Michelin green star. Read on to discover more about the Brasserie Uno.
“The Brasserie Uno is a tiny restaurant with just 28 seats, serving a six-course surprise degustation menu five nights a week”, says owner Andreas Alm. “Our tagline is ‘casual fine dining’ because our food is of high quality but the atmosphere is casual, which works well for us and also our guests. We often are asked if there is a dress code, but the only thing we prescribe is no ski boots! Apart from that, we like our guests to feel relaxed when they dine with us. In fact, our head chef, Luis Romo, often says it’s like welcoming people into our home. We have an extremely small open kitchen – just 2 square metres – where the chefs create their magic, and our guests love watching them doing their thing. What’s also nice is that our guests have the opportunity to give some words of appreciation to the chefs when they leave, which is lovely for everyone. It’s always a cosy atmosphere.”
“Shortly after we opened the restaurant in 2018, our head chef, Luis Romo, who now has 1 Michelin star, joined the team”, says Andreas. “Luis had trained at the esteemed Ambrosia Centro Culinario school in Mexico City and then moved to Zermatt, and although he and I had both been living in Zermatt for 15 years at that point, we’d never worked together. I’d always been a fan of Luis’ food – his dishes were always so delicious and unexpected – so it was wonderful when he came to the Brasserie Uno. Together, Luis and I have developed the restaurant’s food concept into what it is today, and it’s been thrilling to see Luis’ creativity explode! The only limit is his imagination and our guests love the inventive dishes he comes up with. We are also very lucky to have our fantastic sous-chef Tommaso Guardascione with us for a second year, bringing his Italian heritage and exceptional French culinary training to the team. Likewise, our brilliant sommelier Kristoffer Nilsson, whose passion for wine is reflected in our well-balanced wine list, is deeply appreciated in our team.”
Sourcing and Sustainability
“Sustainability has always been at the centre of what we do, but true sustainability is complex”, adds Andreas thoughtfully. “There are always exceptions and nothing is clear cut. Take for example the idea of ‘locally sourced’. Intuitively, this feels right, but in reality, food transportation accounts for only a tiny percentage of any food’s final carbon footprint. What’s more important in terms of greenhouse gas emissions is what you eat, how it was produced, and if all parts of an animal or vegetables were used, which is why we take a broad approach to food sourcing. We like to use regional, seasonal and local ingredients from small producers whenever possible. Nevertheless, in certain cases the method of production is more important to us than the origin of the food, which is why you will sometimes find wild reindeer from Sweden or organic Iberico from Spain on our menu. However, here in Zermatt we do have three small low-impact kitchen gardens where we grow leaves, herbs, small vegetables and flowers in the summer. Luis and Tommaso also like to head out into the woods in the warmer months to pick berries, leaves and mushrooms, but forget about asking them where their secret spots are – not even I know! We have also decided to close the brasserie two days a week for human sustainability reasons. This means that we have one strong team that works hard together and also rests on the same days of the week.
“Over the past four years, Luis and I have spent a lot of time thinking about portion size and ways to minimise food waste,” says Andreas, “which eventually led us to switch from á la carte to a menu-only approach. We now offer a delicious six-course surprise tasting menu, which has been very successful. The surprise element means that we have the flexibility to use seasonal products week after week, and our guests love that they don’t have to make any decisions! They just sit back and we bring food. This concept has also reduced our food waste, because as a reservations-only restaurant, we cook according to the demand. Since Luis and Tommaso know guest numbers and dietary restrictions in advance, they prepare only the amount of food needed for the evening.”
“We have paid attention to sustainability from the very beginning. On a road trip through Sweden and Norway before we opened the restaurant, I collected the blue and white vintage plates and bowls to give beautiful old tableware a second life, as well as much of the cutlery and glassware. The absence of tablecloths is not only a matter of style, it also saves the need for unnecessary laundry. We use flat stones as cutlery stands so that guests can keep their cutlery throughout the courses to minimise water usage, and our napkins and hand towels are washable rather than disposable. We don’t use outdoor heating lamps, because trying to heat outside is a losing battle! Moreover, we don’t print our menus to avoid paper waste – our waiters present the menus orally, because we take great pride in telling guests about Luis’ and Tommaso’s creations, the origins of the products and how the dishes are prepared.”
Brasserie Uno is located at Kirchstrasse 38, open from Tuesday-Saturday, closed on Sundays and Mondays. One seating only between 19.00 – 19.30. Bookings required. Online reservations at www.brasserieuno.com.