No. You won't be ripped off in Switzerland!


Gambienis in Carey's Lane is one of my favourite Cork restaurants. The others are Curran’s, Amicus and La Boqueria.

Just back from a Continental holiday, I visited Carey's Lane recently and, aside from the desserts, myself and the Advisor weren't disappointed.

We both know and enjoy the Rustica starter and we weren't let down on this occasion. It is described as: Warmed Mixed Roasted Vegetables & Mozzarella Cheese On Ciabata Bread Topped With Chilli Pesto Dressing. The main ingredients are usually the same but the others can vary a bit. Still, it is always a very good starter.

Gamienis do some excellent chicken dishes and I had Pollo Alla Romano: grilled breast of chicken topped with red onion, roasted peppers, mushrooms in tomato & red wine sauce. The Advisor had Barbecued Chicken with tomato, onion mushroom and chili. Both were excellent.

We could have done without the deserts but, able to resist anything except temptation, we dug in. Portions were generous and sweet but they were heavy going and not worth the money. That revolving cabinet could do with a re-shuffle!

Wine was a Pinot Grigio delle Venzie, Vaja. The blurb read: A very pleasant, characteristic bouquet. Soft and dry, relatively full-flavoured with a clean, fresh finish.

It was bought specifically to compare with a Pinot Grigio from a neighbouring Northern Italian district (Trentino) that we bought a week earlier in Connobio on Lago Maggiore. Have to say that the one bought in Italy (it cost €9.80 in a wine shop in the town) was much better.

Of course that bottle in Italy was consumed on a balcony overlooking a sunny Lake Lugano and that may have given it an extra edge. After all, the only view from Gambienis was a windy and cold Carey's Lane.

We didn't bother with the coffee and the whole meal in Carey's Lane came to over €82.00. How does that compare with the holiday prices? Much higher, of course, than the likes of Portugal but how does it compare with Switzerland, which would be regarded as one of the best off countries on the continent. The prices there though are surprisingly good.

By way of a guideline, take the meal we had on the main street in the very busy resort of Interlaken. A six course meal, along with a bottle of mineral water and a 50cl bottle of local wine came to €60.00 euro for the two.

The only complaint one could have had in Switzerland was the fact that they just don't supply tap water to the table. Since coming back, I have been given the following tip: if you ask for 'hahnenwasser' you will get tap water, though some restaurants can be more obliging than others.

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