Oinker at the Old Swiss Inn

I am a person driven by my food cravings. Any other girl reading this would understand or relate I’m sure, but most men find it strange – my dad included. He came over one day and I happened to mention that I had a hankering for pig’s knuckles. Being one of his favorite dishes, he nodded and three days later when I still hadn’t gotten around to satiating my craving, our whole family went off to Old Swiss Inn.

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 there’s also a branch in Makati. It’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 pig’s knuckles, and the peppersteak.

Our party of six and a half (six adults and my 2-year old daughter) ordered three pig’s knuckles (2 baked and 1 boiled), two Caesar’s salads, corned beef, lamb chops, barley soup, and a side of RÅ‘sti.

As you can see from the pictures, the boiled pig’s knuckles are paler than their baked counterpart. Aside from the aesthetics, there’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 pig’s knuckles, and the accompanying potatoes and sauerkraut were good sides too. I just didn’t remember this dish to be so salty, though. My mom echoed my comment further adding, “And they’ve gotten so small, too!”

Bin’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 – 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 ‘til the yolk had set. Divine. This RÅ‘sti didn’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 weren’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. I’ve never been able to pay much attention to the cakes because everybody else always wants chocolate fondue.

fondue collage

It came to the table steaming with little bubbles occasionally dimpling the lush chocolaty surface. It seems that what you’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 “oink?”

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.

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