““When I made the film The Invention of Lying, they gave me a private jet for getting back and forth between New York and London. I thought, ‘I will never use it’ but I ended up using it every weekend. You turn up, right, and the airport is completely empty. I mean, there’s just someone at the desk and then the pilot, who says, ‘Are you ready to go?’ and you say, ‘Don’t you want to see my passport?’ and he goes, ‘Oh yeah, I suppose I’d better.’” ”
Set in the middle of Zurich, Switzerland, the bucolic Baur au Lac Hotel dates from 1844 and is still run by the family that founded it. It offers an oasis of pastoral calm in an otherwise hopping city.
The Pavillon, the property’s lovely semicircular restaurant, overlooks a massive lawn and Lake Zurich. Located near the busy Bahnhofstrasse, Paradeplatz Park and the city’s financial district, it attracts royalty, heads of state, sheiks and film and soccer stars.
The menu, which is accompanied by an impressive wine list, offers elegant, contemporary dishes, such as an unusual persil simple et pomme verte—parsley cream soup with Sauvignon Blanc and green apple. Another standout is côte de veau, a Swiss classic, which is expertly pan-fried veal cutlet drizzled by tarragon gravy over polenta with just a hint of mustard. Also try the fillet of wild turbot en papillote (turbot baked in parchment) with green asparagus velouté, which the chef pairs with green asparagus purée and nutmeg-filled ziti. So green, so delicious.
Baur au Lac, Talstrasse 1, 8022 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 44 220 50 20, www.bauraulac.ch