Although we usually go to most restaurants to satisfy our cravings and fill our empty bellies, we really went to this one for a unique dining experience. Not too far away from Manila lies a hidden Swiss restaurant that doesn’t only sell great food, but also has a great family story. Drive a few kilometers away to Vieux Chalet, a fine dining restaurant that feels like home.
The Story Behind Vieux Chalet
When the Hassig family moved to the Philippines, the late Mr. Tony Hassig did not automatically think of opening a restaurant. He just usually had friends over and cooked for them with no other intention but to make them happy. While doing this, word started to spread about his cooking to a point that random strangers would knock on his door and ask if they could try and pay for his homemade dishes.
At the back of Mr. Tony’s mind, he thought, “Hey, we aren’t a restaurant”, but still chose to serve the food for a price anyway because it seemed to bring joy to others. Since it kept happening over and over again, he finally thought “Why not? Let’s open up a restaurant!” And so he did in the year 1984. The family used a part of their own home in Rizal to start things up and 33 years after, to this very day, it still stands where it started.
Despite his passing, his recipes continue to live on, and his family, especially his daughter Ms. Florence Hassig, who is the head chef there, continuously takes care of the restaurant. Vieux Chalet has stood the test of time and still provides great food and quality service care of Kuya Rico, their main host and a positive working environment for the staff.
Swiss Food – Vieux Chalet Style
We tried quite a number of dishes from this fine dining restaurant, and honestly, none of them let us down.
Banana Bread – Php120 for a mini loaf / Php200 for a big loaf
Most restaurants give out peanuts and bread sticks to help keep guests in a good mood before orders are served, but Vieux Chalet elevates that by offering organic banana bread with chopped walnuts made from scratch. It is well baked and doesn’t taste too airy, which we loved.
Swiss Raclette – Php400
We ordered the Swiss Raclette as our appetiser, which has a combination of various vegetables, including a perfectly boiled potato, baby pickles, baby corn drenched in vinaigrette, onion pickles, and olives. Added to this was the hero of the dish: scraped melted raclette cheese. The raclette goes well with the vegetable mix as its strong taste masks the sourness that the vegetables give off. The only downside to this dish is its small serving size despite its high price. On the bright side, though, this kept us wanting more, and made us want to savor every single bite. It is surprisingly light, exactly the way an appetizer should be.
Mango Shrimp Cocktail – Php305
The way that the salad is plated makes it look appetizing and exciting to eat. It has a mix of vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, romaine lettuce, and olives. There are also fruits like mangoes, scraped cucumbers and sliced apples. Individually, everything on the plate tastes fresh and good. The dressing is the perfect mix of homemade mayo and vinaigrette, and just the right amount of sweet, as well. If you like seafood, you’ll definitely enjoy this dish. It has four big char-grilled shrimps, too, which adds a smoky meat flavor to the tropical taste. It’s like having a little party in the mouth!
Lamb Shoulder – Php1,100
For the main course we had a perfectly cooked lamb shoulder. What we love about it is how tender and well-seasoned the meat is. The sauce is creamy and has a milky type of taste, which we enjoyed. Served to compliment the lamb is a Roshti, which is the Swiss version of a baked hash brown. A generous amount of the sides also include a nice set of vegetables: zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, string beans, garlic, and onion drenched in vinaigrette. The thing is: even if everything tastes good on its own, it tastes even better together. Try changing up each spoonful of food, but make sure both the lamb and the roshti are present in every bite. That’s how you’ll really be able to enjoy this dish to its fullest.
Osso Buco – Php985
Osso Buco or “young cow” is a nice and tender meat mixed with a very flavorful sauce. It has the same sides as the lamb shoulder, including the Roshti. What we found interesting about the Osso Buco is the way that it has very familiar Filipino flavors – almost resembling our kaldereta. A bone marrow is also used in this dish, which made it tastier as we got to enjoy the natural flavors of the meat.
Trio of Dessert – Php685
Overall Rating: 4/5
The Trio of Dessert, one of Vieux Chalet’s homemade creations for people with a sweet tooth and lovers of ice cream, is made up of three dishes, all served with homemade ice cream.
Here are the mouthwatering dishes included in the Trio of Dessert:
Mango Flambee ala Mode
The Mango Flambee gives a nice mix of hot and cold as the ice cream is served on top of hot sticky rice with cashew bits. The consistency of the ice cream is good as it does not melt right away, even if it is somehow surrounded by heat. Since the flambee was one of the last dishes we tried, we didn’t expect the ice cream to hold out, but it did. The dish also has an interesting mix of textures. There are smooth mangoes to go with it, as well as cashew nuts, which give a nice roughness to each bite, keeping the dish interesting.
A Slice of Ricotta Cheesecake
When we first saw the cheesecake, we were happy to see that the layers of ricotta cheese and crust were straight and even. We have mixed opinions on its sweetness because of the combination of the ricotta cheese and the raspberries, but nonetheless, find it to be a real treat.
Swiss Chocolate Cake ala Mode
The chocolate cake was the simplest looking dessert that we got to try. The cake is moist and sweet while the icing gives a dark chocolate bitter taste to balance everything out. The vanilla ice cream adds more flavor to the dish, as well. Compared to the other two desserts in the trio, it was the least memorable, which is why we gave it 3 stars. However, if you love chocolate, you’ll surely enjoy this.
Mango Pie ala Mode Shake
This home-crafted drink is mostly made of cashew nuts and carabao’s milk. Since there is an abundance of cashew nuts in the Rizal and Antipolo area, the orchestrators of this drink thought of highlighting it. What we love about the Mango Pie ala Mode Shake is its strong nutty taste, which is almost like a perfect palate cleanser after every dish. The drink comes with a scoop of their cold home-made cashew ice cream and a butter cookie that you can munch on. If you’re not too big on nuts and butter cookies, you might find yourself adjusting to the flavor of the shake at the beginning.
The first time we ate at Vieux Chalet, we also tried their Creamy Pesto and Beef Tenderloin. We were just as impressed by the large serving size and rich flavors.
After reading all of this, you might be wondering if the restaurant actually serves authentic Swiss food. This is an interesting question, and here is the answer: Swiss food is influenced by four types of cuisine: German, French, Roman and Italian. You can’t really box out this type of food, as with four influencers, its scope is vast. However, we can assure you that Vieux Chalet has all aforementioned cuisines represented in their dishes. Here is their menu:
After our Vieux Chalet dining experience, all we can really say is: wow. Family recipes turned into quality fine dining dishes, a real treat for everyone who drops by. Through this restaurant, Mr. Tony Hassig’s legacy in the food industry and enthusiastic spirit surely lives on. Vieux Chalet – From Switzerland, with love.
How we got there from Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City (via private vehicle):
- Left at Aurora Boulevard.
- After 6 kilometers, right at Don Juan Sumulong Highway
- Right at New Antipolo Public Market Parking Road
- Right at Sen. L. Sumulong Memorial Circle
- Right at Taktak Road
- Finally, three quick rights to get to Vieux Chalet.
Vieux Chalet Swiss Restaurant
456 Taktak Road, Sitio Sampaguita, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Antipolo
(02) 6 970396 or 09282888584
Contact Person: Kuya Rico or Chef Florence Hassig