Monkey´s West, Düsseldorf – 26th March 2013

“They prosecuted some poor sucker in these United States
For teaching that man descended from the apes
They coulda settled that case without a fuss or fight
If they’d seen me chasin’ you, sugar, through the jungle last night
They’da called in that jury and a one two three said
Part man, part monkey, definitely”

Part Man Part Monkey – Bruce Springsteen 1990

Celebrating the end of 3 succesful tasting days at Prowein 2013 – my first but not last showing here – the two Akkermans and I thought we needed to spoil ourselves.

Akkermans discussing the wines of the last 72 hours - and there were a few.

Akkermans discussing the wines of the last 72 hours – and there were a few.

Most of the pictures in this review have a red shine, most of that shines comes from the bar, and secondly because the lights were dimmed romantically low. Well with this crowd romance was not the first thing on my mind, but good food was.

Having heard many good things about the Monkey West it was a natural choice. The Chef here – Christian Penzhorn –  has last year been awarded with the first michelin star – and I am quite sure to predict – it is not gonna be his last.

The restaurant is build together with a cosy bar with funky lights and a huge wine refrigerator, showing (off) many nice drops if money is not a problem. The wine list is indeed ok, if not out of this world.

The menus let you swap around and starts with 4 courses for 80 eur. A bargain.

Here are 2 more shots from the funky bar.

Showing off ;-)

Showing off 😉

Pre-dinner toast in Domaine Gauby

Pre-dinner toast in Domaine Gauby

19.00 – and we were ready to hit our table….

GREAT selection of GREAT bread.

GREAT selection of GREAT bread.

Amuses first round - 3 different tastings.

Amuses first round – 3 different tastings.

Amuses - round two - Diffrent preparations of rabbit.

Amuses – round two – Different preparations of rabbit.

The rabbit being wonderful, and all in all I think this is what you can and should expect from a 1 star michelin restaurant. Nothing outstanding, but meaningful presentations. The bread came with a marmelade (!) and a fresh cheese creme, but no butter – which we asked for ourselves. I think I speak for all when I say the bread really impressed us.

Fois Gras

Fois Gras

We all had this one, I loved it. Clearly with an eye for detail on the plate but not too much. Just about how I like a dish to look. 9p

Quail with truffles

Quail with truffles

Again a great presentation, but all in all I think this for me was the weakest of the dishes tonight. 7p

Langoustine

Langoustine

And right here and then…back on track. This was probably the best dish of the evening. Everything perfect here. 9.5p

Loup de Mer with Artichoke

Loup de Mer with Artichoke

Gijs and I chose this one – and just as the dish before, the fish cooked to perfection the arrangement wonderful and the different texures of the artichoke a great companion. Now wait…this was probably the best dish of the evening lol 9.5p

Veal for Chris...

Veal for Chris…

Guess a solid dish is the right word. It looks a bit heavy when the large piece of the filet is served like that. Two smaller pieces would have made it a nicer presentation. I did not taste it, but I heard no complaints and also no wauw´s from Chris. Maybe he was just tired at this point. I know I was.

A little something as pre-dessert - with rhubarb.

A little something as pre-dessert – with rhubarb.

Loved this one, would have liked for the rhubarb pieces to be more prominent. I love rhubarb. 7p

Chocolate and Mango

Chocolate and Mango

I am a sucker for mango – and with chocolate, what more can you ask for. The details on this dessert send memories to some 2 or 3 star restaurants – and any 1 star michelin restaurant in the world should be proud if they can present a dessert like this. In my humble opinion. 9.5p

So where we done…not quite….after the pre-dessert, and dessert first little arrangement was presented…

Say chocolate...

Say chocolate…

My selection

My selection

and finally the last serving of tonight arrived

Over and out...

Over and out…

Conclusion:

I was actually amazed about the quality of food, the service, all the pretty waitresses walked gracefully through the room. Especially Kathleen (?) was a wonderful head-waitress (I presume). Tobias Kühne was a great maitre – all of the staff un-pretentious, which I like. Some of the male waiters had a more “monkey” way of walking, but I guess it fitted the room or concept. But all staff was on their toes on a busy night and with very few flaws and nothing worth of mentioning here.

The ambience, the bread, some of the food, the service – all that actually was at least 1 star menu tonight. Some dishes showed that there is room for more development in that respect. Meaning we have had less good experiences in both 2 and 3 michelin star restaurants. Respect.

The wines we chose tonight were a white Puligny-Montrachet from J. Prieur – did it have a flaw ? I was not sure, but a bit disappointed with its flatness – and a wonderful Arlaud village wine from Chambolle-Musigny. Tobias threw in a blind glass – a light Riesling Auslese for the dessert, and that too was a perfect match. And guessing it made it taste even better.

One complain only would be the list of digestives, which we found very simple and not up to par with the rest. But – having a London Blue Gin in the selection is on the other hand always a plus….

Mr. Akkerman and Mr. Akkerman – it was great fun – I have never walked so much in my life in 3 days. I have never tasted so many good wines. Gijs, – I cannot wait till we get some of these wines to Luxembourg – our clients will be amazed – but I guess the Prowein story is worth another post in its own right, so I shall get back to that. Chris and Gijs, thanks for your friendship. Rock on.

It was time for these 3 monkeys to leave the herd and hit the road and go back to Luxembourg.

IMG_5230

Thanks to all the staff at Monkey´s West for a wonderful time spent. Be sure to find us back.

My rating for this visit: Food 9p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5), Total Score  18.5p (20)

*

“Well did God make man in a breath of holy fire
Or did he crawl on up out of the muck and mire
Well the man on the street believes what the bible tells him so
Well you can ask me, mister, because I know
Tell them soul-suckin’ preachers to come on down and see
Part man, part monkey, baby that’s me”

Part Man Part Monkey – Bruce Springsteen 1990

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