We’re standing at the base of Corviglia, home mountain of St. Moritz. Behind us, Suvretta House, stately St. Moritzian institution and our home for a handful of nights. And a walk stretches ahead of us.
It stretches noticeably upwards. Something our legs are protesting at.
We’ve spent the day hurtling over black runs – not me – and weaving shambolically over blues – me – on the slopes above St. Moritz. We’ve earned a lot of food, and maybe an open fireplace, and some of that opulent, sink-into-this-upholstery luxury Suvretta House is famous for. But somewhere nestled above us, at 1936 metres above sea level, is Restaurant Chasellas, one of our hotel’s two mountain restaurants.
In the battle of aching legs vs appetite, desire to be horizontal vs desire to be holding a fondue fork in both fists, we do give serious thought to turning back to the enormous embrace of Suvretta House itself.
In the interests of accuracy: it’s a short walk, and Suvretta House will lay on a Tesla to zoom you noiselessly up the road if the cold, ice or gradient start to feel like a dealbreaker. But in the interests of taking you with us on this journey: it feels like miles, muscles we didn’t realise we had are making themselves aggressively known, and what’s keeping us on course is mostly just the knowledge there’ll be cushions, and there’ll be wine.
And the fact that it’s a bit beautiful, the hill quiet and edged by wrought iron gates, dark road splintered by shards of moonlight. We walk hand in hand, breath clouding in the air. The holding hands part is only 50% out of fear one of us will topple over and have to be dragged the rest of the way.
The narrow dining room at Chasellas is ticking a lot of mountain restaurant boxes – in a good way: heavy wooden furniture, red cushions, thick curtains over the small windows and the sound of sizzling coming from the kitchen: the sort of all-encompassing cosiness that could keep you from noticing a howling gale outside. But homespun as the decor is, Chasellas doesn’t bow to Swiss traditions when it comes to the menu – and doesn’t need to: Suvretta House is already nailing traditional fare elsewhere, via raclette evenings in the hotel’s Stube restaurant.
The menu at Chasellas is a mix of rich meat dishes married with surprising Asian influences, of summery Mediterranean flavours mixed with mountain-winter levels of heartiness. We eat schnitzel in a winey, thick sauce and slices of grilled melon, we eat soft, meaty fish and curlicued truffles. The menu – and artistry – of a gourmet restaurant, the welcome of your grandmother’s cottage at Christmastime. If your grandmother steadily plies you with wine.
The same holds true the day after. Nudging 2211 metres above sea level and overlooking the Upper Engandine lakes, lunch at Trutz means a lot of skiing down to mountain station Suvretta-Randolins, or a substantial ski lift upwards from the base of the mountain. No real hardship there – winging downwards across near-empty slopes, or swinging upwards over the stream-lined foothills are both better starts to a meal than your average London lunchdate offers – but it takes a bit more active decision-making and effort than the hot tub and hottub-side service on the terrace at Suvretta House.
But Jesus, does Trutz repay the journey. Far less formal than the other Suvretta House restaurants, Trutz trades filet mignon and black tie for spaghetti bolognese and breathtaking views. Instead of haute cuisine and attentive luxury, there’s informal, canteen service, a simple wooden terrace outside, and the option to add a couple of fried eggs to the the top of your plate of pasta, just because.
The terrace slopes downwards across stepped levels, benches facing outwards to the mountains. Corviglia’s known for its empty slopes and queue-free lifts, even at the height of the season, and we’re here for the last weekend of March: ski lifts are two days away from closing, and the slopes beneath us are pristine, nearly trackless sweeps of pale radiance. We’re down to t-shirts and salopettes in the spring sunshine, cold beers and a shared mountain of spaghetti bolognese balanced between us and the slopes.
It’s by far the least ceremony any of our meals in St. Moritz has come with to date, and that includes breakfasts. But against some stiff competition, Trutz is making a good bid at being outright loveliest.
If Suvretta House says it’s worth a climb, a ski-lift, a ski-booted trudge through afternoon snow and a perilously sleepy journey back down the slopes… it is. And then some.
Trutz opens for the winter season from 6th December 2017 to 8th April 2018. Bergrestaurant Trutz, Suvretta-Randolins Terminal, CH-7500 St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Restaurant Chasellas opens for the winter season on 6th December 2017. Restaurant Chasellas, CH-7500, St. Moritz, Switzerland.