Old Swiss Inn has been around since 1946 and was actually started by a Swiss national. The original is still in Paco, Manila, and now thereâ€™s also a branch in Makati. Itâ€™s a reliable 24-hour restaurant with wooden interiors, cozy nooks, and plenty of miniature Swiss flags. The place is naturally known for its fondues: cheese, beef, and chocolate. Other favorites especially among the expats are the corned beef, the aforementioned pigâ€™s knuckles, and the peppersteak.
Our party of six and a half (six adults and my 2-year old daughter) ordered three pigâ€™s knuckles (2 baked and 1 boiled), two Caesarâ€™s salads, corned beef, lamb chops, barley soup, and a side of RÅ‘sti.
As you can see from the pictures, the boiled pigâ€™s knuckles are paler than their baked counterpart. Aside from the aesthetics, thereâ€™s not much difference between them. They have the same taste and texture, much like the ham hock I use to flavor my fabada (Spanish pork stew) or a split pea soup. I enjoyed my pigâ€™s knuckles, and the accompanying potatoes and sauerkraut were good sides too. I just didnâ€™t remember this dish to be so salty, though. My mom echoed my comment further adding, â€œAnd theyâ€™ve gotten so small, too!â€
Binâ€™s corned beef, pale as it appears, was quite good, although the two thin slices that make up a serving made me snort inwardly. The RÅ‘sti was quite the star â€“ grated parboiled potatoes and onions formed into a pancake and fried. I once knew a Swiss woman who made me some RÅ‘sti and then topped it with a fried egg cooked just â€˜til the yolk had set. Divine. This RÅ‘sti didnâ€™t have an egg, but it was soft and moist and my sister was quite enamored with it. Since I was the one who had ordered it, I came thisclose to not sharing it with her.
Of course with me at the table, there was no way we werenâ€™t going to have dessert. Toblerone is a chocolate that they display proudly and prominently at Old Swiss Inn, both in their display cases and in their desserts. Iâ€™ve never been able to pay much attention to the cakes because everybody else always wants chocolate fondue.
It came to the table steaming with little bubbles occasionally dimpling the lush chocolaty surface. It seems that what youâ€™re given to dip is what the kitchen has in stock that night, so we had a small plate of banana slices, pound cake, mango chunks, and what I counted to be four apple slices. Hmm. Anyway, I did away with the silly dipping actions and plunged my teaspoon into the chocolate mass. I then proceeded to eat the fondue that way. Minutes later when everyone else had stopped eating, I was still there using my teaspoon to scrape the last remnants of chocolate from the bottom of the bowl. Can you say â€œoink?â€
Old Swiss Inn
G/F Olympia Bldg, Makati Ave. cor Sto Tomas St., Makati
818-8251 / 812-8751. Open 24 hours, Mondays to Sundays.
Branch: G/F Garden Plaza and Suites, 1030 Belen St., Paco, Manila
521-3002 and 522-4835.