Le Jules Verne, Paris – March 2016

This lunch was planned a few month ago to coincide with the semi-marathon of the missus. However, due to her bad knee, she decided not to run. I decided to stick to plan – that being that I had presented the idea of dining on top of the world to one of my best friends Jörgen – and he as always being a good sport about it –  saying yes and inviting Miss S along. The eve before we had both spent with the infamous Helge Schneider – and the laughs of that evening still lingered in the air as we headed down in the car on a cold Sunday morning for a decadent lunch experience.

If you read reviews of Le Jules Verne, you will learn that most people find food disappointing, views unbeatable and service very French. The restaurant is of course if you do not know it situated on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, and has regained it’s second michelin star while run by Alain Ducasse.

Michelin stars are easier obtained in Paris then anywhere else it seems, and some of most disappointing michelin starred meals have actually been had at two starred restaurants. As for my expectations, I hoped Le Jules Verne  would be better than it’s reputation and feared it would not.

There are two menus for lunch and dinner in the weekends, and weekdays a more affordable lunch menu is also available. But here on a Sunday, the small menu will set you back 190 eur, and the big one 230 as far as I remember.

Arriving in Paris, we parked the car without any problems some 800 meters away, and walked up towards the impressive building and the “private” lift that is reservd to the diners of Le Jules Verne.

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I love Paris

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Looking for our ride.

Security is understandably high, you are screened and only allowed to enter waiting room for lift, if you have booked a table. An American tourist, who tried to sneak her way pass the security, or was maybe just very naive, was met by a very rude and argumentative controller who VERY unfriendly told her to go back and wait down below until he had time to deal with her. She didnt leave, which I would have – but waited for clearance from the restaurant above. She never got it – even though there was actually lots of space as it turned out. Guess the controller was not too impressed by her sneaky ways or her rubber boots.

The ride up in that “private” lift, with the views of the tower and Paris around you, certainly helps building up the expectations of a very special meal.

When entering the restaurant, we were met by very friendly waiters, checked off on a list again, and showed to our ….WINDOW…table. 🙂 No window table can normally be reserved – you get it by chance – or good name I guess. In this case it was surely by chance.

Some shots to get you going

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The tables, beautifully set, the three dining rooms very classy and a little bit packed but since not very fullit still felt like a room with lots of air on this day.

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Great bread was offered and the Jules Verne logo everywhere.

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W had opted for the “smaller” menu consisting of 4 dishes, plus the usual greeting from the kitchen which in this case was listed on the menu, and was the only one. Far from the army of amuses you are used to in other places at this level.

But tasty it was and probably the best arrangement of the day.

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Marinated Sea Bream with citrus.

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Pan-seared Duck Fois Gras with Walnut condiment

I think this was the best dish for me of this menu, but as you can see, arranged – as what we had realized by now was the style of the chef – in a very “laid back” brasserie style.

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Warm green Asparagus from Provence, vin Jaune Mousseline

I love asparagus, and these were nice, the mousseline far from perfect, and again an arrangement I could have matched in my kitchen.

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Seared Beef Fillet, Truffled Macaroni, cooking Jus

Beef cooked more bleu than saignant and on the cold side temperature wise, but the biggest flaw was in my opinion that no truffles were to be found nor tasted as described on the menu.

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Pre-Dessert – Pineapple/Coco Palet, Passion Fruit and Ginger Sorbet and next to that different sweets.

Very nice pre-dessert with a very poor presentation. Same can be said about the sweets 🙂

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Cripy “Tower Nut” Chocolate from own Manufacture in Paris

Nice that they finish on a high note, very nice dessert served with a separate nutty ice-cream.

Last round of sweets – and then a digestive from the small list of spirits, which to our surprise were reasonably priced.

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My conclusion:

It was not as bad as feared, it was definitely  not as good as I had hoped. The service, especially the sommelier, where flawless, and smiling and my request for a signed menu was met without a fuss.

The views and the atmosphere almost unbeatable. The tables are too close, but hell – you are dining at the Eiffel Tower.

But – but – but. At this price, and with this name – Ducasse as much as Tour Eiffel and Le Jules Verne – one must expect food at a very high level. The only high level here being the attitude not what was served us. All food was nice and eatable and had few flaws Had it been served to us in a Brasserie at 1/3 of the price all would have been good. But it was not.

Wine menu which we chose had nice wines, and very French choices, but with good names and vintages and fitted the food.

We thank Jules Verne for having us, and if you guys reading this want to experience this as well, go right ahead. But do not do it for the food. There are better meals to be had also in Paris.

We were all three happy we had tried this in our lives. Checked. Will we be back. For sure not. There are other restaurants equally high priced that will bring food to die for, not only views. Falco, Sollerod Kro, Victor’s Fine Dining – you are light years ahead of Le Jules Verne. You might not bring views of Paris, but that is being made up for in so many other ways.

But thank you Jörgen for this lunch and for your friendship, your advises through my life and for always being there for me. It was a great experience. Thanks Miss S. for the female touch at this lunch and your company. We will have better lunches I am sure. And to the American tourist from the beginning, I hope you found a better price/quality ratio than we did, and I am sure we had better views 🙂

My rating below will reflect the extremely high price you pay for the privilege it is to dine in Le Jules Verne.

My price / quality rating for this visit:

Food 5p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 14.5p (20).

 

 

 

Imperii, Leipzig – March 2016

Tripadvisor is not always a bad thing when searching for new inspiration. I found Imperii in the top 10 of restaurants in Leipzig. The fact that Falco is number 7 on the list (!) being one of the 2-3 best restaurants in Germany and one of my favorite places to dine – ever – only shows that “tripadvisor people” do not have a clue.

But luckily I have 🙂 and I therefore use Tripadvisor mostly to find inspiration and sometimes even a gem. And I found one.

When stumbling over Imperii, I followed the link – and was met by a very professional and inviting homepage. And THAT is always worth exploring. If people make and effort – to go into detail at this level – then they have something on their mind or at least they think like I do and love attention to detail.

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The main bar room seen from  above.

Now Imperii besides the cool funky and stylish bar room offers you a more light coloured lounge on first floor as well as a cosy smokers lounge below. The huge community table in the middle of the room reminded me of beloved Caves Madeleine in Beaune.

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Yes I loved the chairs…

On our first eve here we shared a wonderful salad for I think below 10 eur and I then opted for the pulled pork burger.

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My favourite meat these days. Pullled pork

Now with this burger came the only complaint of the two evenings we spend here. And because I love the guys working here so much and appreciate their style, hard work and dedication – I shall put my critic mildly. I think…the BBQ sauce lovely as it might have been, totally overpowered the delicate meat of the pork. I strongly suggest you serve the sauce next to the burger in a bowl, so customers can decide to which extent they want the dish to taste like BBQ or meat. The dip was great as was the wonderful sweet potato chips that we ordered with the salad, – with a GREAT homemade mango mayonaise. Great bun too.

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My first encounter with the actual wines of the Wine Punk.

Love this rose so much. Thanks for recommendation Heiko my brother.

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Great Salad

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Best chips and dip ever

Actually I should make two post this time around,..because I feel like I have so much stuff to tell about this place. I shall try to keep it focused. We had GREAT drinks. First night by Andre and his fashionably bearded colleague also named Andre 🙂 – and on the second evening, some more decadent or stylish creations from guest bartender Doreen Philipp.

Some shots….

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Wonderful Doreen

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One bartender prettier than the other…

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And one of her wonderful creations

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Andre – Patrick – Andre

What we admired from the moment we stepped in was the great style and especially the great lighting. The different shaped light bulbs inspired us so much that I had to ask where they had bought them.

Just around the corner – great shop Andre told me- it’s Called S T ! L – conceptstore leipzig – you cant miss it. And I did not. And soon we will have new lights over our dinners it seems.

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Thanks Stefanie, your shop is not to be missed. I wish I had a shop like that. What I met in your shop besides the light bulbs was a great selection of life style and designer products and —-two old friends of mine—– which brought a smile to my lips and thirst to my palette. To find Le Galante and La Maitresse here – well I was surprised. And happy. Check out her shop online here https://www.stilconceptstore.de/

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 My Conclusion:

Back to Imperii. I am so happy I found this “pearler”. Your cocktails and selection of good gins etc. are one of a kind. For me to then actually meet the producer of Juniper Jack London Dry Gin – Joerg  Fiedler – here at the bar !!! was besides funny also a great honour. I love your gin Joerg. Hope you can make it over to one of my events.

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As for the team behind Imperii. You guys in front and your kitchen and chefs – you all know what you are doing and why.  Great price quality level, great wine list.VERY attentive service. What more can you ask for?

I hope you liked us too – because hell yes we are gonna be back. You guys rock. All staff with an eye for their customers, including the blond girl on the second eve, who was truly amazing as well. When I asked to see the bottle – the first evening – I was not only shown the bottle by Patrick. I was given an introduction to a wine, as if it was the finest wine on this planet. It was indeed a very nice one 🙂 by the famous Wine Punk. Marco Zanetti, I salute you.

I had my first ever whisky sour here, and man it was great too. I give Imperii the highest of my recommendations and shall close my eyes – almost – for the flaw with the BBQ drowned meat. Hey, maybe some guys might prefer it like this.

I just think one should have the choice. I have deducted 0,5 points for this, on a more detailed note, I think the burger went from a clear 10 – to 5 or 6 due to this.

Keep up your style and level and the sky is the limit guys. What I saw on this trip was surely the view “Above the clouds”.

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My price / quality rating for this visit:

Food 7.5p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 17.5p (20).

Above the clouds – ELO

 

 

 

Rocca im Gehry’s, Düsseldorf – March 2016

Going to the annual Wine fair in Düsseldorf is a kind of fun highlight in the cold month of March. This year Jörgen could not join, but luckily my best friend Barbara was up for the fun and stress it is trying out a good 100-150 different wines per day.

The day we arrived was actually my birthday and I called Rocca in the afternoon but they were full, so that evening we simply had a great burger. The day after I called again and we were happy to get a table. So after freshening up  (a hot shower is what you need after the hard job of finding the right wines for the FWRR 2016 collection) –  we arrived hungry and tired. It was a great meal, a very attentive and pretty waiter called Sofi had the amount of fun and interaction you expect for such a trendy and stylish steak house.

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Great rose, perfect waiter

The food was so good that I had no doubt when we the next day found ourselves in the taxi having finished this years Prowein – I said to Barbara, what you say…we head straight to Rocca, and then finish this year with a drink in the hotel Bar.   Table was booked, and the smile that greeted us from Sofi was worth a million. A second pretty waiter from Marocco did her tricks with serving the recommended Rose and it was sure that she as well had chosen the right profession. And THAT is a nice thing to experience. People who love what they do and do it with passion.

We loved the decor – the classy leather chairs…

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Very comfy as well as pretty chairs

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Best looking wine cooler ever….

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Great selection of wine, great lightning throughout the restaurant

First day we both had an Argentinian Angus Entrecote, with a shared side dishes plate and the second day we opted for the Chateaubriand with Salad and BBQ sauce.

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Le Chateaubriand

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Great potatoes

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My arrangement

On both days meat was cooked to perfection medium rare and all side dishes was presented tasty and fresh looking and with a purpose. I tried the Sauce Beurnaise the first day as well. But we both found the BBQ sauce was the best of those two.

Meat wise you may opt for Argentinian, Australian or US beef and I think I saw a glimpse of some Wagyu cuts as well 🙂

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Lots of air in the great room, kitchen above

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Smiling chefs

My conclusion:

When you enter the Mediahafen area which was a new experience for me, you are met by one building looking better than the other, funny facades, shapes, materials. Situated next to the Rhein, I can imagine this is a great spot for al fresco dining in the summer. The Rocca has a VERY stylish enterior and deco and your expectations are immediately sky high. We loved the warm colours – great lighting and sense for details in every corner. Great Bread and butter, great food, fast and fun and respectful service, – what more do you want. Sofi – the smile you gave us upon our return  is worth a pay rise. You tell that to your boss. Thanks for great service.

This was for sure a step up from last years steak-house that was actually more expensive  on top of that. Wine list is great – and gives you possibility to not leave bleeding if you dont want to.The fact that we came back two days in a row says it all I guess. We give Rocca our highest recommendation and hope to be back one fine day, lets say Prowein 2017

Barbara, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having such a prominent role in my life – being my best friend. To always have an ear – or two, in good times as well in bad times.

FWRR thank you for taking this Prowein experience to a much funnier level. We shall never forget the tastings at Rhuby 🙂 Thanks for keeping up with my bad sense of humor and for your trust and support to the FWRR project. I could not have done it without you.

My quality price rating for this visit:

Food 8.5p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 18p (20).

 

 

Restaurant Osier, Walferdange, Luxembourg – May 2015

Osier is THE talk of our little town these days. Having only opened a few weeks ago.

The center of our small commune – Walferdange – with its Town Hall – the school – concert and sport venue across the street – and next to that – baker, pharmacy etc. – actually already holds a good dozen of restaurants – but one can never have too many to choose from right ? :-).

Although we have I think – 3-4 Chinese restaurants in Walferdange, the opening of Osier has been subject to personal high expectations. For two reasons 1), the others do not blow me away, even if they probably do what you can expect – and 2) The old BEAUTIFUL building that now is the home of Osier, is one hell of a grand building, and it has been a pity to see that building empty and in decline. So, seeing the renovation starting, and being able to follow the carefully and respectfully repair of the old “mansion” only increased my expectations.

The Menu

The Menu

Osier is described as an Asian restaurant and the menu with full-blown pictures show the customers a great selection of Sushi, Thai dishes along the traditional Chinese ones.

Pretty Xiaowei with the al fresco area behind the glass door and windows.

Pretty Xiaowei with the al fresco area behind the glass door and windows.

The proud owner and manager Xiaowei is not only very pretty and smiling. She is also having an eye for detail in respect to choice of colour, cutlery, comfortably chairs etc.

Shot from the smallest of the three rooms

Shot from the smallest of the three rooms

And the largest room in the back, leading on to the terrasse.

And the largest room in the back, leading on to the terrasse.

What I like about the enterieur is the fact, that it is modern, – but also has Asian influences for example a huge piece of wooden art on one wall and other Asian decoration in the back of the restuarant. The blue modern light source on the ceiling gives the whole restaurant a modern look. A nice added bonus is the al freco dining behind the house, – away from the busy road, – That is a HUGE bonus in compare to other restaurants in the area.

The cutlery, the china and the deco chosen surely shows that Xiaowei has a plan to make this Asian restaurant stand out. And I think she has succeeded in just that. Her husband is in charge of the kitchen, and the whole restaurant has a nice family vibe to it.

Since the opening a few weeks ago, we have had several visits here, and had a chance to try a few of the dishes on the menu. Even though I opted for Peking Duck – my all-time favourite Chinese dish 🙂 on some of those occasions.

Here are some of the shots I have taken so far:

A small greeting from the kitchen...

A small greeting from the kitchen…

Meals at Osier – like in other good restaurants starts with a small complementary taster – sushi in this case.

Very tasty soup :-)

Very tasty soup 🙂

Deliscious ...

Deliscious …

This little dish, I suggested to my dining friends, and they said no we try this or that….and when they tried mine….they all applauded. The dish is a winner. Try it yourself 🙂

Chicken skewers...

Chicken skewers…

One little complaint here. If the idea is to eat it with your fingers…the tasty sauce on the handle of the skewer does give very greasy fingers….:-)

One of many Sushi combinations...

One of many Sushi combinations…

I think by now you get my sentiments…this is a restaurant trying to present the dishes in a modern and appealing way, and I think they are succeeding.

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The Peking duck, you get to work – if you want to 🙂

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Crispy as it should be

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My result 🙂

Vegetables and Tofu for the missus

Vegetables and Tofu for the missus

From all the main dishes we tried so far, I think the Peking duck is among the best I have ever tried. The Luxury version of that dish, is a 2-servings dish where after you have been presented the whole roasted duck – are treated to a first serving of the traditional Peking duck and then the second serving – a very tasty dish where the remaining duck meat is used to create an insanely good tasting duck/vegetables dish. This dish I guess will become a signature dish of the restaurant – and is naturally only served for two people minimum.

Yasmin Tea

Yasmin Tea….

Not for me 🙂 but greatly presented.

My conclusion:

Osier is worth a visit, and deserves huge success. Alone the idea of having an eye for detail and quality and the sheer taste in many of those dishes should hopefully provide Xiaowei and her team with just that. I recommend this restaurant to all my friends and customers in Walferdange, Or if you are ever in the area – please stop by and try this one out. The service is suffering a little, in rush hours you might have to wait more than at your usual Asian restaurant, but – they have to find themselves and find their routine and balance first, and when the food you are presented are at this quality, I do not mind the extra minutes 🙂 . I shall not forget to mention the Thai Coco curry. Order it a bit spicy and you will be in heaven. As for Ambience, I think this is the best you can expect for a Chinese restaurant. No offense :-). But the grandness of the building shines through. The 100 year old curved windows have been kept, and the wooden floors and modern blue lighting – it has some class. Wine list is large, mainly with wines from well-known importer Rossi 🙂 and old friend of mine. I hope to see my wines in here some day, but if not – I will just enjoy one of the many offerings the list hold. I shall rate this as a gastro chinese restaurant. It is not a 3 star Michelin establishment, but it is certainly a fresh breathe of air in our little commune. And I will be back here as often as I can afford it. I wish Xiaowei and her husband and team all the best and give Osier my highest local recommendation :-). But one little word of advice dear Xiaowei. You need to find a better Sake 🙂 Ask me, and I will tell you where you find it 🙂

My quality / price rating:

Food 8p (10), service 4p (5), ambience 4p (5), – and add a happiness point just because I am personally damn happy to have Osier only 1 mile away . 17p (20).

Vecchio Mulino Beach Bar and Restaurant, Peschiera, Italy – April 2015

Hey friends and followers. It has been too bloody long, but setting up a new company, finding wines, importing wines, and SELLING wines 🙂 on top of the daily tasks of life, has been a lot more work than I imagined, and the posts here have been very infrequently to say the least. Spare time has been used to recover rather than writing down memories and recommendations. My plan is to try to get back on track with this blog, inspired by a reader who said she missed my writing here. But good news is that the wine business is fun and doing very well and the customer base is rapidly growing with many new tastings and events coming up.

But I know – I have a lot of catching up to do, and I will start with one of the latest GREAT experiences I shared with my family.

We visited the Garda Lake area, which was a first for me by the way. It was out of season and therefore we had the chance to experience the area without the hazzle and stress that peak season brings.

I might come back to Garda later here, but will share with you an experience I got to choose, having googled and tripadvisored around to see what would be fun to visit. Few restaurants stood out. But this one certainly did. From the way their internet site is build up with photos and descriptions of all dishes (and may I add, the photos do not lie, that is actually how the food looked for real) to the funny comments made and the general vibe and humor in the text blew me away .

The chefs here do not try fancy cooking – but they cook with great produce and love for simplicity and make certainly great combos.

The Vecchio Mulino Beach Bar is run by a young couple, Fabio and Pamela. It is described by many as the best place to eat at the lake.

Mr. Bo

Mr. Bo

Arriving early, – we sat down and started with some water and a beautiful bottle of my new favourite white – Lugano grapes.

The bar, with the boys.

The bar, with the boys.

The missus, Emil and Oscar and the Garda Lake

The missus, Emil and Oscar and the Garda Lake

The service was not quite ready for us since we arrived fashionably early but the waiter made sure we were being served cold drinks with an eye for detail. Menus were handed and stuff explained.

Coolest menu ever :-)

Coolest menu ever 🙂

Do you notice something...Food Wine..:-)

Do you notice something…Food Wine..:-)

Crispy white.

Crispy white.

Even the coke looked great

Even the coke looked great

The food is mostly served Tapas style and priced at 4,50 to 13 eur per dish, most around 6 eur. Now that is a price level we would wish to have around here.

First we were served a home baked bread

Complimentary Bread :-)

Complimentary Bread 🙂

Food arrived, I will show you what we chose:

Best dish of the day...

Stunning…

Described as “Burrata Cheese on a red Pepper fondue with Porcini Mushrooms” – it was amazing. The creamy cheese hidden a bit here on the photo. That was a GREAT start – 9p.

Fish Balls

Fish Balls

We were sitting in the hot sun – so the basil leaf deco soon looked very tired 🙂 The dish – “Lake Fish Meat Balls with our Signature Fishermans Sauce and Salsa Verde”. More basic, and the sauce more chunky and not as liquid and smooth as on the picture in the menu book. And I think if its a signature sauce – then it should be same – or at least similar every time you serve it 🙂 Little complaint, taste was good 🙂 7p

Yummi

Yummi

Simple and impressive way of presenting it I think. “Grilled Vegetables with Thyme Oil”8p.

A southern touch...

A southern touch…

“Fried Anchovies stuffed with Pine Nuts and Sage”. 8p. Loved it, this was all doing the sun justice and another white – the same 🙂 was ordered.

Best Dish of the day !

Best Dish of the day !

“Shrimps and Tequila Risotto with a tender heart of Acacia Honey and Tangerin”. Best risotto ever, perfectly creamy, and the taste ever so delicate. Astrid was over the moon for this one – 10p.

Final Dish

Final Dish

Cooked to perfection on the grill. This “Pink Pepper Sea Bass served with a Fennel and Garda Olive Oil Yoghurt sauce” – a nice finish, but not hitting the top marks of some of the other stuff. The pink pepper a great combo with the rest. 8p.

My conclusion:

From the moment we entered till the moment we left we felt sure that this restaurant would provide us with a great lunch and felt at home in the laid back but attentive service level of the staff. The bar, the al fresco dining, the lake, the great tapas style food, which made room for many tastings. The wine list was a little on the small side, but I’m sure most of the wines are very carefully picked with an eye for detail and taste. Most bottles were 15-20 eur anyway, which is an outstanding price/quality level. The outside looked great, the inside was a bit disturbed by the “plastic” looking windows that were kept I guess only for the winter/spring season. I am sure they are gone come summer season. But siince we had 24 degrees we had only too much sun to worry about.

The high rating on tripadvisor is fully justified. This little pearler comes with our highest recommendation for basic, great food with fresh ingredients and freshly prepared ingredients and decoration. Small flaws like seeing the side skewer with lemon and what do I know on some different dishes do not change the fact that we would love to eat here once a week if we could. We wish Fabio and his team all the best and are sure they are looking for busy times and lots of success.

The boys had a final dessert, the missus broke a glass and I lost my credit card, but that is another story 🙂

As seen on the wall of the men's room

As seen on the wall of the men’s room

Oscar loves his strawberries...

Oscar loves his strawberries…

My quality / price rating for this visit:

Food 8p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 4.5p (5), 17p (20).

 

Hotel and Restaurant Les Florets, Gigondas, France – September 2013

This one has been sitting in my mind for quite some time. I actually thought I shared the wonderful stay we experienced there – but it seems I only shared it with you in my head.

I was at Les Florets the year before, and swore I would be back with my family. As it turned out it had to be the year after. As things went, I got to decide on how to spend the last few days of the summer 2013 vaction – and my mind was so made up. Gigondas, Hotel and Restaurant Les Florets, with a stop-over in Beaune driving down.

We got to stay here 3 nights. We visited the area, we got on top of the world, we dazed by the pool, had lots of great wines, and stunning food and service in this little paradise on earth.

I shall break the photos of the tour up in three chapters, one for each day and leave you to indulge in the photos rather than repeating my sentiments of the first stay.

Day one – 31 August 2013 – arrival, lunch pool and dinner.

The quiet romantic hotel with the al fresco dning.

The quiet romantic hotel with the al fresco dining.

Big boy Oscar

Big boy Oscar

and hungry Emil

and hungry Emil

The view from the restaurant is simply breath-taking, the valley, the hills, the rocky mountains, the flowers – the perfectly set tables.

My lamb

Aubergine in some fashion

Tomato, Avocado and I think Salmon

Tomato, Avocado and I think Salmon

Fish for Emil - somebody remove that lemon foam :-)

Fish for Emil – somebody remove that lemon foam 🙂

And the smile was back

And the smile was back

After dinner rest and then the long awaited pool.

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Lets finish day one with some shots from the evening.

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*

Day two – 1st September – Breakfast – Mont Ventoux – Gigondas – rest – Dinner

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Breakfast is great here, great selection and as mostly in France, great Croissants

Before we left for the mountain – I took some of the nicest shots of the boys ever, the colours where amazing, you can feel that Provence is just down the road.

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After that we took the car up to the top of the world. Quite a ride – not as tough for us – as for the bikers, but all those curves get to you in the end. But the view from up there is worth the hassle. It was a windy day, still when we started the climb it was a nice 23 degrees celcius. On th top it dropped to 13 (!) No wonder, Mont Ventoux rises nearly 2.000 meter above sea level.

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After those crazy hights  – it was nice to hit the valley of Gigondas – only to find there was a local festival, which came handy because the boys could use some of their saved energy, the restaurant I chose was close to crap, the wine not as nice as it should be – or could be, but all in all, sun was out, the missus pretty as ever –

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After a rest and a shower I got to sit down – rest and endulge in a bottle of Condrieu from nearby Saint Cosme.

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And right there in the middle of the beauty of all this, while waiting for the missus to come and join me, sipping the wine – I saw this old man reading his book, ever so quietly – and I thought – could there be any more quiet and beautiful way to spend your autumn.

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Dinner was enjoyed inside, the mistral had arrived. I shall not bore you with too many details. We had open wines, they were all great. I had one of the best pieces of meat EVER.

What a piece ...

What a piece …

and it was good night.

Day 3 – 2nd September 2014 – Breakfast – Crocodile Park – Avignon – rest – Dinner

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The crocodiles came in all sizes, I think there was around 400 of them. Funny thing occured after 30-60 min. when Emil proclaimed. That one is alive !!! – He had not realized that apart from the wooden ones he sat on, – they were all maybe not moving alot – but most definetely alive and not to be taken lightly.

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Avignon is worth a visit, great local food at Lou Mistral, not so funny incident occured when I left to look at a shoe-shop across the street while the others was on the toilet. Emil chose a different toilet, and came out first and thought we all left. I rushed back feeling like the worst daddy in the world, as Astrid and Oscar just emerged from the other exit. It can easily go wrong.

Back at the hotel – freshening up, playing games, and our last supper at Les Floret for this time.

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Conclusion:

Like last time Thierry and Dominique and all the staff made sure we could concentrate on us and relaxe, endulge in the quietness and romance of the place and – just enjoy the good food and the great weather and the stunning views.

The kitchen even went the extra mile and cooked me the dish I had fallen in love wiht the year before, even though it was not on the menu. The chef came to the table, and I explained it to him in my poor poor French. And it was just as good 🙂

Just as we were all happy with Potsdam the week before, I think we were all quite happy here, focus was on relaxing and the good food, and that is of course more my idea of fun 🙂 So I thank you dear Astrid, Oscar and Emil – for coming with me on this long ride to the Southern Rhone and coping with all that food and romance.

I wish I could be back this year. Hotel and Restaurant Les Florets comes with my highest recommendation.

So with that wish I shall leave you with an oldie but goodie – One Summer Dream, written by Jeff Lynne a good 38 years ago.

Rock on dear Thierry and Dominique.

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg – 15th April 2014

My longest absence from Clairefontaine I think, since I discovered it way back when Restaurant Speltz went sour in what must be like 10-15 years ago – finally ended due to good friend Jörgen who invited us for dinner as a delayed birthday present. Klaus Erfort and Il Riccio was also on my wishing list, but it was Clairefontaine that go the “the honours” 🙂

Classic menu, my favourite colours anyway

Classic menu, my favourite colours anyway

Nice to see that most of the staff in the service and kitchen were still the same, and even the “ususal” warm welcome and lots of kisses.

We ordered a la carte – I got to choose the wines and opted for a white Saint Joseph and a red Nuits-Saint-Georges 1. Cru from Prieur Roch.

The amuses comes in two rounds, first a single one followed by a double.

Round 1

Round 1

Round 2 -

Round 2 –

and last but not least

and last but not least

All three tasters up to the usual nice standard of amuses in Claire fontaine. Nothing to complain about here but tasters that set the tone for the evening 8p

King Crab / Green Asparagus

King Crab / Green Asparagus

Or as it described in the menu – “Le meilleur du King crabe posé sur une royale d’asperges vertes Françaises, gelée de crustacés, copeaux d’asperges et tuile de tapioca au caramel de homard”. The best looking dish of the evening, and the choice of Jörgen and the missus. 9p

Carpaccio and Tartare of Wagyu with Caviar

Carpaccio and Tartare of Wagyu with Caviar

My choice – “Le carpaccio et le tartare de bœuf Wagyu de la ferme Nuestro Buey,
asperges blanches de Malines et rapée de vieux parmesan Reggiano,
une tuile de pain avec caviar Osciètre”.

I love wagyu. I do think the quality of the meat is more exposed when raw, but I do prefer the texture of the Wagyu when a nice cut of the famous meat gets the right treatmen in the pan 🙂 But delicate it was, and the presentation typical for Arnaud´s kitchen. 8.5p

 

Salmon

Salmon

Astrid´s choice for main dish was actually another starter “Le cœur d’un saumon d’Ecosse Label Rouge cuit par le froid, un tartare en tempura, une crème prise de poireaux et caviar citron”. Didier always in a good mood, did rightfully point out when ordering that this would be a cold main dish and another cold dish for Astrid. But nevertheless the salmon was ordered – and the quality of Salmon dishes at Clairefontaine is ALWAYS good. 8p

Didier making sure you have a good time

Didier making sure you have a good time

Lamb

Lamb

As it turned out – “L’agneau fermier Label Rouge du Bourbonnais en déclinaison, couscous de choux fleur et brocolis au cumin, navarin aux petits légumes et harissa verte” – was the only lamb on my plates this Easter. And I´m happy it was this lamb. Three different cuts of lamb, all great in their own way. Arnaud – I think it will be lamb next time we make a cooking class 🙂 It was great as always. 9p

Dessert :-)

Dessert 🙂

The selection just what you need and a nice way to say goodbye to our lovely bottle of red. Great cheeses 9p

Best wine I have had this year

Best wine I have had this year

You were right Julien, it was an excellent choice 🙂

Conclusion:

9 months of absence – there are only few words needed to describe the feeling of being back. It was great. Thanks for the invitation Jörgen. I treasure your friendship, wit and knowledge. It´s always great to share food and wine experiences with you, not only because you mostly pay 🙂 – but also because we share the same passion for god stuff, and react to stuff that are trying to be more than they are, like the one experience we had in Birmingham. But at Clairefontaine, well things are still as good as they get in Luxembourg. To all the staff at Clairefontaine, we salute you.

My rating for this visit : Service 5p (5), Ambience 5p (5), Food 8.5 – Total Score  18.5p (20)