Restaurant Aura – why less is more
There are clubs, there are bars and there are restaurants. Aura aims to be all these three things at the same time. A sister of Tao’s restaurant, it opened in 2013. Ever since it has been on a mission to emulate the coolness of some of New York’s and Shanghai’s trendy restaurants and allure Zurich’s elite crowd. It is not a novel concept however it seems to have filled a void in Zurich. Zurich’s beautiful and wealthy (and those who consider themselves either) have taken a fancy and have started to frequent this sophisticated eatery.
Aura’s eclectic and classy interior design creates a cool, sexy and stylish atmosphere. Unlike its sister restaurant Tao’s, Aura’s spacious, twilit dining room and open kitchen do not try to generate a cozy ambiance. Rather, its soaring ceilings and well-spaced dining room create a constant buzz and bubbly atmosphere which somehow does not seem to fit well with the restaurants’ cool elegance. Upstairs you will find the bar and smoking lounge.
The choice of dishes resembles Tao’s menu without the Asian touch and offers a good selection of starters including an assortment of Sashimis, a Truffel Champage soup (interesting but a trifle too salty), lobster bisque (good but served lukewarm).
Main dishes include a reasonable selection of fish, meat and seafood which can be ordered with your individual side dish choice. Vegetarians can choose amongst three dishes including pumpkin tortellini. The burger with potato chips arguably does not require high culinary skills but is faultless and well presented. The pepper coated tuna steak on an avocado orange base is very good however the vegetables served as a side dish are lukewarm and need to be reheated.
Overall, the quality of Aura’s food is underwhelming and leaves you pondering why serving dishes hot as opposed to lukewarm seems to be such an obvious challenge for this aspiring restaurant.
The service at Aura can be moody and strongly depends on your waiter of the evening. While the restaurant manager seems determined to provide professional and smooth service, some of the waiters can come across unrefined and unaware of some of the basic principles of service (open menu: not ready to order etc.).
Conclusion: Skip the dinner (unless you are very hungry) and head straight to the bar.