The New Old Swiss Inn
A staple across generations, this classic restaurant gets a makeover.
Old Swiss Inn
G/F Somerset Olympia, Makati Avenue corner Santo Tomas Street, Urdaneta, Makati City
Open 24 hours
Garden Plaza Hotel & Suites, 1030 Belen Street, Paco, Manila
Contact: 521-3002, 526-2739
Open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) With one mention of Old Swiss Inn, many images come to mind. Their signature corned beef, comfortable and lived-in wooden furniture, banderitas decking the dark, cozy atmosphere of the restaurant, and rich, cheese fondue. For 70 years, the restaurant has been catering to generations upon generations of people looking for hearty, authentic Swiss food—its Makati branch, one of the only spots in the area delivering round the clock service to its regulars.
“It’s been 30 years since we’ve been around and many of our regular customers were hesitant about a renovation,” recounts operations manager Kai Palomares. The Old Swiss Inn takes special care in keeping its patrons updated and involved in plans—whether in staging its Wine & Cheese Buffet or giving the space a revamp. “We realized though, that we needed to have a fresh look. We promised our clients that we’d maintain the same atmosphere—they’re like family to us!”
Owner Katrina Limcaoco Alcuaz bid the project out and after some vetting, architect Lara Fernandez Barrios (who also worked on Wildflour and Pink’s) was chosen for the redesign. For a month, the Old Swiss Inn moved its dining area to its function rooms while the team worked on revamping the main space. What the new restaurant offers now is a crisp update to an old standard—something that the Old Swiss Inn’s newest menu also adopted to go along with the renovation.
The most noticeable upgrade is the fresh coat of red along the walls—the rich hue mimics the bold red of the Swiss flag. Neither overpowering nor intimidating, the red walls bring a friendly warmth to the space, brightening up what used to be its dark and morose perimeter. The signature lamps, charming carvings, benches, and seats now decking the restaurant are the same old ones, only given a fairer, more uplifted finish and upholstery to go along with the lighter, brighter space. One of the key factors that helped open up the Old Swiss Inn’s old, secluded atmosphere is its newly exposed ceiling—adding some height to the space makes a big difference in introducing light and airiness to the area. New floor tiles help update the space, giving it a modern rustic look that easily blends with the bright hues of the restaurant’s famous stained glass panels.
Herb Rack of Lamb
The Old Swiss Inn’s dedicated clientele will be happy to know that its signature dishes still remain. The Gnagi (P698) is the Swiss version of our crispy pata—the cured pork knuckles with sauerkraut and potato is still as succulent and sinful as it has always been. The Herb Rack of Lamb (P2,148/500 grams) is also a happy staple, with tender Australian racks delicately herbed and served with mint jelly on the side.
No visit to the Old Swiss Inn is complete without a serving of raclette, which they now have reissued as a dish for sharing. “We noticed that even when customers ordered single servings, they would all eventually order and share anyway,” Kai remarks. The Tabletop Raclette (P3,000) is good for four people and comes complete with dried meat, potatoes, and gherkins.
Grison Beef Stew
What both old and new fans can look forward to the most, however, is the update to the Old Swiss Inn menu. New dishes include the Grison Beef Stew (P560) which offers hearty, comforting, tender cuts of bacon and beef brisket served piping hot. The Flammkuchen (P220) is a must-try—for sharing, the thin-crust pizza will work well as an appetizer, but a full paddle of the French-Italian dish can be good enough for an entire meal for one. Topped with bacon, caramelized onions, Pinkie’s Farm Greek yogurt and kesong puti, this is certainly going to be a new staple that everybody will want to orer.
Corned Beef Caldereta
“Because we’re really known for our corned beef, we wanted to serve it with a Spanish-Filipino twist,” says Kai. The Corned Beef Caldereta (P420) takes the signature beef in a different direction with tomato sauce and fresh vegetables.
Pastill-YES Frozen Yogurt
Wrapping up a decadent meal can be a challenge, but the Old Swiss Inn delivers easy-on-the-tummy options with its frozen yogurt selection taken straight from their own Pinkie’s farm. These additive-free and preservative-free concoctions utilize bits and herbs to flavor a light yogurt that will have your taste buds fooled (tastes like ice cream!). Order a 300-gram can (P295) and share the calories with up to four folks—we highly recommend the Pastill-YES flavor.
This rehashing of the Old Swiss Inn undoubtedly proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks—something that many families, generations, cravings and appetites will be thankful in more years to come.
Photos by Toto Labrador