Falco, Leipzig – 16 August 2013

My friends will know that the last few months brought me many ups and downs. In some cases too many for a lifetime. I think only last month I made the missus a list of my best moments of the last three moments. Only two restaurants made the list of around 30 personal emotional highlights. One restaurant in Weimar, I shall get back to that one later – and our new favourite dining place on this earth – Falco. Having been here only once before, expectations were sky high. Peter Maria Schnurr is the essence of a rock´n´roll chef and what this blog is all about. Enjoy life NOW. Keep on dreaming. Keep a light in your heart and in your  life. Peter just wanna see you smile.

This time at Falco we were spoiled with a stunning menu, outstanding service a funny and entertaining Peter Maria Schnurr and had such a GREAT evening with much needed laugther and extravagance on all levels.

Let me set the scene. We had just had 1 week of holiday, meaning – our beautiful boys spend 1 week with their grandma and grandpa. Leaving us a week to endulge in time. Lots of much needed time. However, it was great to be back in Leipzig to pick them up and to see that they actually missed us. However, this last evening was to be spend without them.

The Boys were back in town.

The Boys were back in town.

Or more precisely we were back in town to pick them up. We enjoyed the day with a walk around Leipzig and a trip to the huge Völkerschlachtdenkmal.

Impressive with lots of steps inside to be conquered.

Impressive with lots of steps inside to be conquered.

Back to Falco…

And the stunning view from Falco over Leipzig.

And the stunning view from Falco over Leipzig.

Inside the restaurant we were greeted as old friends by maitre Oliver Kraft, and sommelier Christian Wilhelm. Together with the rest of the staff they are as good as it gets. And make sure all dishes are explained, questions are being answered and chit chat delivered in a balanced and nice way. And on a pleasant down-to-earth way that we prefer. Rock´n´roll.

Its been a while since the dinner took place and some details has slipped my mind since. Some plates were very very hard to shoot, since the glazing of some newly purchased and very exclusive plates did not work well with my camera.

But I shall give you some highlights.

The ever so light and passionate kitchen of Peter Maria Schnurr

The ever so light and passionate kitchen of Peter Maria Schnurr

The menu for the missus was prepared and printed with focus on the gluten issue etc.

Great bread....

Great bread….

One of the best looking and tasting amuses EVER

One of the best looking and tasting amuses EVER !

Amuse

Amuse 2

Amuse 2

Amuse 3

Astrid had this without the lardon, and let me just say, the lardon carried the dish.

Amuse 3 - a masterpiece

Amuse 4 – a masterpiece

All four amuses outstanding, the little funny looking thing here above, was tuna with a GREAT combination of tastes. Explosion of simplicity and good taste. 10p for the amuses

And then the sun went down and the moon came up.

And then the sun went down and the moon came up.

Corréze veal, tartare and sweetbread

Corréze veal, tartare and sweetbread

Great presentation, simplicity and respect for the tastes with no disturbing elements but also no kick factor. 9p

A beauty for the missus

A beauty for the missus

A little bit of everything – Miso coconut hummus, H2O melon, truffels and what do I know. Great 10p

Crab !!!

Crab !!!

No, no crab, but crab. GREAT dish. 10p

Walking mountain Trout

Walking mountain Trout

I do not like the plate. And it was almost impossible to shoot. The white glazing that looks likes a sauce disturbs the picture. They were very proud of these one of a kind plates. But – what they should be proud of was the delicate trout and the stunning dish. I think it was the best dish the missus has had this year. She was VERY impressed. 10p

Leipzig by night...

Leipzig by night…

Porc

Porc

I can say many things about this dish. But if the missus might have had her dream of a dish. Well so did I. Best meat ever. Reminded me of the first time I had lamb at Lameloise. It melted on your tongue. It was stunning and worth a trip to Leipzig alone. I love you Peter Maria Schnurr or whoever did this. 10p is an understatement. You had to be there to understand.

A few other dishes hit the table during the dinner, but I am not happy with the photos. The quality of the dishes were equal to what is shown here anyway. Off to the sweets.

A game of petanque maybe ?

A game of petanque maybe ?

Eatable of course. Including the “sand”.

What followed this time around at Falco was simply the funniest but also great and good working desserts we have ever had. The Petanque above was just a small warm up.

Jamaica with Jamaica rhytms...

Jamaica with Jamaica rhytms…

I got to taste this as well and my own set of mp3 player etc. A friend of Peter – Matthias Tanzmann had created/chosen the funky music to go with the next two couple of desserts for the missus. It was not rock´n´roll…but wauw, what a great way of being innovative, and surprice your guests. We loved it. The rhum, mango and coconut did the rest.

Round two of that Coconut Groove

Round two of that Coconut Groove

Applause, 10p for the two.

My dessert, with a rubbish photo was the only flaw of the evening. I did not care too much about it, was happy to have tried Astrid´s 🙂 Inside my dessert was as I have seen before baby sweet corn. I do not get or like that lol.

Anyway, last off was another stunner

Hehehe....

Hehehe….

A refreshing, tonic creation to finish of a great menu. Funny thing is – they cannot get the Sweppes Tonic cans in Leipzig so they had to go for a Fanta cans.  We salute you for this dish and promise to ship some tonic cans this week – deal ? Great finish 10p

I think a few more sweets hit the table, but we were too full to bother and maybe even rerejected lol.

My conclusion and rating for this visit.

I shall make this one short and simple. Peter Maria Schnurr, Oliver Kraft, Christian Wilhem, Kathleen and all the staff provides all we want in a restaurant. It is just so unbelieveable good and surpricing. This time around we felt like old friends coming back. It was like hitting harbour after a deadly storm. We felt warm and cozy and were spoiled with attention and outstanding food. There is no way that this evening was not one of the best we have ever had in a restaurant. It was out of this world. We thank you from the botttom of our hearts for making this one a night to remember.

So what you expect folks. . TOP score on all levels. 20/20 Points.

I shall finish with some shots from after service. Last time I got to write on a tile in the kitchen. This time we had an upgrade and were allowed to write in the entrance hall. On the wall. We wrote in Danish. We love you Peter Maria Schnurr…..rock on.

Peter and the missus !

Peter and the missus !

After dinner talk....

After dinner talk….

My tile from last year..

My tile from last year..

Big smiles...

Big smiles…

I shall finish this overdue review with a little reflection.

You guys out there. Including the whole staff at Falco. Keep on dreaming. Open up your heart. Keep a light burning. Then everything will turn out well.

To all at Falco, we love you.

To Astrid, I love you and thank you for the many outstanding moments we shared so far. I hope for many more to come.

To my boys, it was great to have a week without you, it is even better to have you back. You light up our lives.

Now give this song your attention for the next 5 min or so. This ones for you loved ones…

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The Pickled Piglet, Birmingham, – 21 June 2013

The food day on this trip was also the day after a day full of Bruce Springsteen music, first in the small venue where Gazza where the starter and gave many Bruce songs his touch, and the main dish –  at the Ricoh Stadium where Bruce rocked the house – and the sweet dessert – where a crowd of 300 peeps enjoyed Mark Wright shacking his legs and singing the songs of Elvis and Bruce into the wee wee hours. Thank you Steve “Gazza”, Bruce Springsteen and Mark Wright for making it a day to remember.

So the game was up for The Pickled Piglet and later Turners to fill this day with food to remember.

The Pickled Piglet has only been open for a good 3 months and is already rising in the tripadvisor charts and elsewhere. It is situated just below the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where a channel and few other pubs and bars would make this little area something to focus on – on the next meetings in the City Planning Commision. Really – this area could be made into somthing quite special – “hell a little touch-up and a little paint”. Birmingham Mail recently made a review giving the restaurant a good 4 stars.

The period building hosting "The Pickled Piglet".

The period building hosting “The Pickled Piglet”.

Inside you will find a pretty light dining room on the first floor with original floors and a bar. Behind the bar smiling Chrissy with her spouse Mark taking care of the cooking.

On Monday evenings they are full, and one can understand why, an offer of dry aged beef with sides at 10 punds seems like an offer too good to refuse.

IMG_5671

Great light room

Chrissy serving the Sauvignon Blanc.

Chrissy serving the Sauvignon Blanc.

I loved the menu, first small tapas like plates to choose from – priced at 4-6 pounds per plate, and a large selection of starters and mains where some of the tapas variations could be found in larger versions it seemed. All this can be found on their homepage  also a description of the breed of pig they use etc.  http://www.thepickledpiglet.co.uk/

So having a dinner planned, we opted for a selection of the smaller tapas – tasting plates. The wine list is kept small and simple, but we were happy with our selected NZ Sauvignon Blanc. I think the bottles on offer ranges from 15-25 pounds and the wines list has a majority of new world wines.

So, with a good review, a perfect host, a great room – we were ready to see if they could live up to our expectations. Here is what we got.

1-2-3

1-2-3

Smoked Mackerel Pate, loved it. great crackers too, Crab and Celariac and Apple Pancakes – wonderful. Among the best of the day. The pancakes being done in the style of a tortilla almost. This was indeed the only complaint in the review of the newspaper, but we loved them, and understood they had adjusted the dish after the review. Third in this selection was Sweet peppers and Rosemary Cheese. Great cheese, but for me the peppers was a bit too watery and not sweet enough.  Nevertheless a great first selection of tapas.

4-5-6

4-5-6

Scallops, Apples and Smoked Bacon. This bacon and apples were done like my mom used to do them, and she would call it “Äblefläsk”. The bacon being a good partner always to the delicate scallop. The scallops were – in fact – damn – cooked a little too long. I am talking a little. But those 10-20 seconds that make them go from just right to just a little chewy. However, there may be a cultural cooking difference here, because at Simpsons last year and Turner later on today, I had the excact same experience and complaint.  And in compare to Simpsons and Turners, these scallops were halfed – making the “over-cooking” more understandable. Besides at Simpsons in 2011 I remember the scallops being a “signature dish”  and that just underlined/exposed the error in my eyes.

Second off, Spiced Lamb and Olive Meat Balls. Now this was probably the best dish. Try them. Soft, smooth, spicy with a lovely dip. Best meatballs ever.

Third one here was the Saffron and honey belly porc. Single complaint here was there were too few. No not really 😉 Great portion size, but I could eat that dish and nothing else the whole day. Every day. Again way up there.

7-8

7-8

Crispy Shredded Porc and Pickles…GREAT taste, great texture, but with the low fat meat used – it seemed a bit dry. All it need to make it perfect would be a small greek yoghurt dip, even a tzatziki without the garlic, maybe mint…;-) Just saying.

The bread selection was great but – the only real flaw of the day -being a little bit “tired” and thus not up to par with the rest of the meal.

Conclusion:

It is always nice when something exceeds your expectations, I had a few, my dining partner – good friend Jörgen had let planning of the whole trip in my hands had no prejudgements whatsoever. But – we were both impressed by the freshness of the produce and cooking. The simple dishes were tastefull and well crafted. Minor flaws did certainly not ruin our dining experience. And often when I do this, look for good things or bad things in food, I tend to forget what it is all about. It is like with a good Bruce concert. There will be ups and downs – favourite parts – more dull parts – but what matters is the feeling you go home with. We left with smiles on our faces, and wish both Chrissy and Mark the best of luck and success with their little piglet. I loved the way you were interested in hearing what we had to say about the food. An the way you both seems like genuine nice people. From the moment we walked in we felt at home. The food is not re-inventing any wheels, but it is well crafted and Mark can surely cook. If you are a tourist in Birmingham, or if you live here – be sure to check this little piglet out…It is worth it.

Jörgen, I thank you for your friendship and both as a friend and dining partner I treasure your opinion. Being in Birmingham I should of course leave you with a Jeff Lynne song – my scores first…

My rating for this visit: Food 7p (10), service 4p (5), ambience 4p (5), Total Score  15p (20)

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 8 August 2012

“I got a dollar in my pocket
There ain’t a cloud up above
I got a picture in a locket
That says baby I love you
Well if you didn’t look then boys
Then fellas don’t go lookin’ now
Well here she comes a-walkin’
All that heaven will allow”

Bruce Springsteen 1987

I always think of a good fairytale when I see this building…

Having a nice round anniversary to celebrate choosing our favourite restaurant as the scene was not a hard one. And having the in-laws visiting, the babysitter situation was under control and a overnight stay at the beautiful Schloss Berg was too big a temptation to say no to.

You know my affection for Schloss Berg and for the cooking of Christian Bau. The whole place embrace you, from the arrival, check-in, and later pre-dinner cocktail and amuses – you are at all time at ease and can´t help but feeling special and mighty privileged.

The missus, 10 years burning down the road….

So, expectations high, but with absolutely no worries about them not being met

Bastian, – familiar faces and recognition always appreciated – served us a great pre-dinner Tanqueray 10.

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The Gates of Heaven, not believing in any kind of afterlife, Im happy to find these doors right here – just around the corner…

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A rose for my friend Sony.

Wines were chosen, two half bottles – actually three but the third – a Condrieu was not living up to the expectations, and most likely also not to the expectations of the sommelier – the GREAT GREAT Daniel Kiowski, because it was taken from the final bill. Great judgement.

A great drop.

Best wine of the evening. Smooth, elegant.

So….all set – hold on to your hats folks, the usual “army” of amuses are just about to hit you….

Round 1…that falafel to the right…yummi.

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Round two, the tartare cornet, this time with salmon.

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Round three…crab, salmon and eel.

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Round 4 – Greetings from Italy…Tomato ice, textures of green olive and buffalo mozzarella.

Funny little thing, very fresh. I loved the return of the exploding olives.

Round  5 – Tuna, Caviar and radish. Light as heaven, tasty and elegant

So,……thats it – the amuses. All absolutely amazing and tasteful. All with a purpose and all greatly presented by the skilled staff. This is what you want.

But, you also get an idea about the fact that you have to bring the big tummy, if you settle for the big menu to follow the amount of amuses you get here. We did settle for less this time around. But even a smaller menu does the trick and here is what followed.

Japanese Ocean

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Blue Lobster

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Different textures of Artochoke from Brittany

which came with a little crispy salad

Simply lovely…

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Deer from Eiffel

Off all these dishes I think one can easily say, they were all wonderful, the cooking of fish or meat always perfect. But the vegetarian dish, the artichokes which was in fact a “throw in” surprice by Bau was outstanding.

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey…

Structures of Peach “Melba” with raspberries and Champagne

Lots of things going on here. So you take a rapsberry, and it turns out it has been done moleculary and is indeed restructured. Or the peach stone – is in fact a nougat creme. Mind you this is a pre-dessert. Look at the details. That plate must take an hour to prepare. I would like to know how fast actually…20 min ? Have to ask next time.

Multivitamin – tropical fruits in different textures

Ending the menu here with a very refreshing and indeed light plate.

Final round…

I for my part ended the meal with a lovely Poire William from Alsace, generously poured by Yildiz Bau, who despite a virus was as charming and entertaining as always.

Conclusion:

I don´t think I have to tell you how much we love and adore this place. This night was no exception. Bastian, Steffi, Daniel, Yildiz, – the other service staff and all those guys behind the kitchen door made sure we had a memorable evening and a worthy 10 years anniversary. If one should have any regret, its only that money does not allow us to eat here more often. But its probably a good thing. My weight would sky rocket given the chance. Mind you the above was the small menu (!) – with the artichokes being an extra surprice dish. But that menu comes at 128 eur pp – and simply have to be the best gastronomic offer you will find almost anywhere. Be sure to book ahead in good time.

Thank you Yildiz and Christian – we will be back to celebrate our 20 years anniversary – and hopefully before that 😉

And as for you “Mrs. Bo” – Thanks for being such a big part of my life. I love you dearly, and thank you for mostly being a good sport when I have my mood swings. Rock on Astrid.

My rating for this visit:

I know Bau does not like to be rated by amateurs like me (or anyone for that matter…) But let me just say we had a perfect evening with no flaws whatsoever. You should be very proud of your team, food and restaurant – and I bet you are. Top Score my friend. A league of your own – or at least of a very few.

So – at this point – our bed was calling us – a bed that would fit a king and a queen.

Goodnight…

Rain and storm and dark skies
Well now they don’t mean a thing
If you got a girl that loves you
And who wants to wear your ring”

Bruce Springsteen 1987

Mark Wright – Live in Luxembourg 9 June 2012

So – celebrating our 10th Anniversary, the upcoming birthday of the missus and life in general, I had booked Mark Wright to come and play for us. Old and new friends were invited and around 40 people gathered in our garden on a sunny day – if not hot.

The idea was the food wine was offered and that our friends would chip in to pay for the performance of Mark Wright and hopefully that would leave a little something for donating money to Dan Harrison, who was the reason I originally met Mark at a memorable evening in 2011 in Birmingham, where the online Bruce Springsteen fan community had put together a fund raising evening for Dan´s treatment in Graz, Austria. Please do take a moment to read the story of Dan here helpdan.com

Back to our party here are some shots of happy people – our friends.

Mark warming up in our living room – with an Astrid favourite “Two Faces”….I wept.

Torben preparing the BBQ. He did a GREAT job. Thanks Torben – again.

Jesus, Marianne and Jörg….

Music to hold hands to…

– or dance to.

Mark did two sets. The first one he performed Springsteen classics among some of our obscure Springsteen requests. The River, Thunder Road, I wish I were blind, 57 Channels and nothin´on, Paradise, The fuse, Born to run, Reno, One step up, Tougher than the rest, Tunnel of love, Red headed woman, Fire . Because the night…the list goes on. I cried – as Mark stated it – to every second song. But it was very emotional to have a lifelong list of your best friends sitting there listening to the music that have meant so much to you over the years – in your own backyard.  And Mark´s voice, performance and storytelling was just as good as I had hoped it would be. A hilarious moment in the video below occured at 0.10 when Torben cannot seem to hide his excitement over Denmark´s goal in the opening match of their group in the European Football Championships…..check it out.

The second set of Mark was changed from a pure Elvis set – to a set including classics from the 60´s up through the 90´s. It started by my request with Here comes the sun – included Vienna, Comfortably numb, Rocket Man, Streets of Philadelphia, In the Ghetto, Suspicious minds, Ring of fire, Not fade away, Blowin´in the wind etc. – and it ended with a mindblowing version of our wedding song – If I should fall behind. All in all Mark performed close to 40 songs, I am happy to have captured most of those songs on video, and the rest deep deep deep in my heart. The missus and I was so happy that most of our friends took the effort and time to spend the day with us. This day ranked emotionally way up there with our wedding. And since many new friends have come along since 2002 – it meant even more sharing all those beautiful song on this day.

We managed to pay Mark and to be able to send a little something to Kev Harrison, for the upcoming treatment of Dan. We wish him all the luck in the world.

Mark will be back next year in July if we find a way – we will simply have to.

So – thank you Astrid for all those years and love, thank you dear friends for being such a prominent part of our lives, thank you Mark for making this day a day  we will never forget.

Speaking of forgetting…..We forgot to sell some wine, but luckily a few orders have come in afterwards – we thank you for those and hope for your ongoing support in that respect as well 😉

I shall end this little private review with Mark´s perfect version of one of my favourite ligther Bruce songs…

My rating for this day. As good as they come.

Fischers Fritz, Berlin – 30 May 2012

“When morning comes and I’ll leave Berlin
My mind is turning
My heart is yearning
For you and Berlin”

Wizz Jones – 1973

*

Just where you wanted to be on this day…

To choose a good meal in Berlin is a tough one. The capitol holds many top notch restaurants – and my choice for today Fischers Fritz and the chef  Christian Lohse holds on to two michelin stars for I think 5 years now. The restaurant, the ambience, the high level service, the food is as classic as it can be. Its situated in the 5 star hotel Regent which due to its former owner Four Seasons gave us flash backs of “better days” (money wise) – because lots of details and decor was like copied from George V. in Paris. Pure class.

As classic as it gets…

This one´s for Sony…

So – the kind waiter showed us to our table and questioned whether the gluten-issue was correct and confirming that it would be no problem to handle. A second waiter emerged only to put the same question – if the gluten allergy was correctly noted. Nice to know we were in good hands from the beginning.

The menu has a business lunch with three courses at 45 eur I think. A bargain. A larger menu to choose from – 4-6 courses and off course a la carte dishes. It is a fish restaurant with the weight and focus on just that. Astrid chose the business lunch and I chose a la carte, my choices hitting two of the signature dishes of the chef as it turned out.

A LARGE wine list – well a book – was presented by Andrew Connor, the new “kiwi” sommelier having started only a few days before in Berlin. What a friendly and service minded person he was. I wish you the best of luck in your new hometown my friend.

Our bread basket selection – one normal – one gluten-free

Again, great to see that everything was taken care of – no room for mis-haps here.

A little greeting from the kitchen Salmon or Salmon trout – damn I forgot.

Secound round of amuses…

All great, the asparagus creme to the left stunning. Amuses 8p

Anguille Fumee et Fois Gras

Simply stunning. The thin layer of smoked eel below the fois gras added so much to the dish. peppery caramelized sugar on top the balance. Wauw. Purety. Class – 10p

Carpaccio of Trout Salmon….

Not too much of a fuss here…simple presentation great taste. 8p

Homard au Piment et coriandre – A lobster extravaganza…

A little side dish to my lobster – to balance the oil of the main dish I think…

As described on the menu, roasted with salt, chili and choriandre – and served with lots of oil, making it a very “southern” dish – and not classic at all. I loved it – a generous whole lobster, which was however a LARGE sample of its kind and almost too big. 8.5p

Cod …

The arrangement of this dish was changed and the couscous replaced with the suggestion of the waiter, rice with herbs. Again not a presentation out of this world but the cod cooked perfectly and the rice with great taste. 8p

A little something to clear the palate…

Funny little thing – something you would never put together yourself I guess, but it worked.

Sweets for my sweet….

Creme Brulee

So my favourite classic dessert on the menu at a two star establishment…the choice was easy. Even though that fun came at 20 eur – which might seemlike  a healthy price for a creme brulee. Well it was perfect thats all I can say. No playing around here with lemon or berries, chocolate or nuts. Just pure pleasure. Made me very happy. 10p

Rhubarb…

A great dessert, but a daring presentation you might think. If you dont know what I mean – well let me point it out

Ooops…

– and in fact it was the misssus who first mentioned this to me. One can say you got to have balls to present a rhubarb like that. But great dish 9p

Conclusion:

What a nice lunch it was. The staff on their toes at all times. The signed menu delivered to the room, the waiter making sure the following day it was as I wanted it to be. The meal was very different from the two-star dining we experience we had the night before in Falco in Leipzig – but it was not far from it. It was just more classic, but I think that is excactly what they want to be and for us it was great to have just that on this day.

What stood out for me was the classic ambience, the service – food wise the fois gras was out of this world.

We thank you for making our stay in Berlin even more memorable, we felt in good hands at all time, the gluten issue profesionally handled and we would want to be back next week for sure – if only we could.

As for the Bruce show in the evening. Well it was one of my best stadium shows ever. Like Fischers Fritz, Bruce has probably never been better. He blew us away, the mix of songs, the warmth of Bruce, even the sound this time around.

Just like Bruce – Fischers Fritz has to deliver at all times – any time. No space for flaws here. So off course there were none. Congratulations – To Bruce and to Fischers Fritz…

“When morning comes and I’ll leave Berlin
I’ll know for certain I am a free man
When I leave Berlin”

On top of his game – at almost 63 ! 28 songs and a 3 hour show. No break. Try that Justin or Madonna or Gaga – My rating for the concert 20p (20)

*

My rating for this visit: Food 8.5p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), total score for this visit  18.5p (20)

My favourite restaurants 2011 !

And the FWRR awards 2011  goes to….

The below list is most likely also my all-time favourite list. But I will update the list next year and see if there are movements. Most of the restaurants on the list all gave me some memorable lunches or dinners in 2011. Some are still so present in my memory from earlier vistis that I cannot disregard them. So if I had 10 restaurants to re-visit on this planet, this would be my choices today.

1. Schloss Berg, Nennig. Bau continue to improve his cooking to perfection. I like everything about this place, the ambience, the service – the food and wines top notch.

1 - Schloss Berg - The Champion

2. Sölleröd Kro, Copenhagen Now had this pearl been in France it would be a 3 star michelin – but as it is – its in Denmark and thus “only” have 1. Jan Restorff is the best maitre in the world.

2 -Sölleröd Kro - runner up

3. Lameloise, Chagny Frederic Lamy and his team in the service makes sure the perfect food from the kitchen is delivered and presentated to perfection.

3 - Lameloise

4. Le Cinq, Paris. Not visited this year, but I cannot and will not leave it out of my list. Its simply too good. Maybe in 2012. One can always dream. 2 star michelin rating. No food photo – but a photo I never get tired of. Oscar and the missus meeting Bruce Springsteen, just outside Le Cinq.

4. Le Cinq - well actually Bruce Springsteen meets Oscar...

5. Restaurant Babette, Vordingborg – Henrik and Brian in the front and Vivi and her team in the kitchen make sure your dining experience is close to perfect. Being in rural Denmark, 1 hour from Copenhagen i.e. it has no michelin star rating but I am sure it would have at least 1 in France.

5 -Restaurant Babette

A shared 5th place go to

5. Der Butt, Warnemünde. 1 Star michelin rating. Tillman Hahn in the kitchen and all is well in the world. The dinner we had here last summer was outstanding, and even better than the years before.

5 -Der Butt

7. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg. When Arnaud Magnier is good, he is really good. He is for sure the best chef in Luxembourg, and he often surprices you with combinations or presentations you would never dream of – but afterwards you will. Take a look at the the Cordon Bleu Revisited below and you will know what I mean. 1 star michelin rating.

7 - Restaurant Clairefontaine

8. Restaurant Rosin, Wulfen. Visiting Frank Rosin in his newly awarded 2 star michelin restaurant was something else than expected. Very down to earth cooking. Beautiful settings, and a wine list among the best I have seen in Germany.

8 - Restaurant Rosin

9. Bouquet Garni, Luxembourg. Thierry Duhr is among the best chefs in Luxembourg, and this adress is probably the most romantic gastronomic restaurant with its stone walls, and open fire in the evening. 1 star michelin rating.

9 - Bouquet Garni

10. Hotel Marbella Club, Marbella. For sure worth a visit. Javier Doncel, or the other waiters will treat you as a king, And you will be stunned by the quality of the food and surroundings. No michelin rating.

10 - Marbella Club Hotel, The Beach Club Restaurant

Enough gastronomy….

I shall finish the list of with some Brasserie style restaurants – but they all managed to impress me – some of them once some of them repeatedly..

1. Bullerei, Hamburg. Tim Mälzer and or his team, produces simple food, but with an outstanding price/quality, super friendly staff and an ambience I simply fell for. A surprice on the list, but the evening I spend there was really something. No michelin rating.

        1 – Bullerei – perfect beef

2. L´annexe, Luxembourg. Award winning in two categories, Jerome with J.P., Sebastien and Christophe in the front and “Miche” and his team in the kitchen provide you with super Brasserie food and you always feel welcome no matter how crowded the place is. And believe me, it can get very crowded. No michelin rating.

                       2 – L´Annexe

3. Ill Riccio, Luxembourg. Tano and Tina holds this restaurant in firm hands. Luca is slowly taking over the responsibilities, and he is everything you could wish for in a host. Its a TINY restaurant with a large menu, good wine list. The kitchen is very flexible and will cook just about anything you ask for. Easily my favourite Italian restaurant. No michelin rating.

3 - Ill Riccio

I am thankful forall the good friends that shared the moments with me along the way in 2011. Rock on….

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 18 December 2011

“Now the hardness of this world, slowly grinds your dreams away
Making a fool´s joke out of the promises we make

And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades of grey
We lose ourselves in work to do and bills to pay”.

Blood Brothers – Bruce Springsteen

*

Schloss Berg with Christian Bau and his team is our local pride, situated “just across the river on the other side…” – you will know by now that this restaurant is my favourite one. We were invited by best friend Jerome to share a wonderful December Sunday afternoon. The daily routines and stresss has left little space for nursing our friendship with Jerome lately, so a quiet place with the best food and wines in the world seemed like a good spot to be to catch up.

Jerome with the missus and Jochen Hünd in front of Schloss Berg

We always get warmly greeted by all the staff, but Jerome seemed to take some of the focus, since this was his second or third visit within the last months. He loves this place, and I am happy to have introduced him here. We settled for the medium menu, and many good wines landed on our table. I am more and more impressed by the sommelier Daniel Kiowski. He is everything you want in a sommelier. He is dedicated and passionate, relaxed and still with a lot of style. He engages in each and every single wine he serves. The first question he will always ask you whenever a “blind” wine is served is…”Do you like the wine?”. I hope he never leaves Schloss Berg. He is a true gem.

What did we drink this day….I forgot.  But we started with a local Riesling 2004 (?) , and further on a California Chardonnay which was outstanding. A Chassagne-Montrachet 1. cru from Paul Pillot was followed by this pearler..

Lovely - vibrant.Thanks Jerome.

The usual army of amuses came heres a few of those…

Excellent, loved the melon

The duck liver flan with truffles and a foam of parmesan is back on the menu, and its absolutely stunning, but very difficult to get a picture to show – so you just have to imagine the most perfect delicate duck liver flan, topped with truffles amd then a light foam, – the foam is all you see when the dish is presented, so you have to dig in….but no picture this time.

The menu started then with the Asian inspired “sushi” dish…

Hamachi - Bau Style

A scallop never tasted better than this...

Fantastic, simply fantasticly cooked scallop.

Turbot....

Best dish of the day in my book. Perfect turbot, decoration and balance wise this dish just was to die for. Could I have one more please ?

What followed was the Nebraska Beef, 3 standing slim slices with a piece of slowly cooked rib-eye on the side and this was a presentation and taste worth a whole page alone. But I forgot to take a picture…so you will have to go there yourself and check it out 😉

You get a picture of the table deco instead

A rose (for the Nebraska Beef)

Pre-dessert...

The dish was perfect, nuts and apple in different textures….

Dessert

A walk through the forest in the fall…..with a fat truffle on the left…chocolate truffle in this case, but what a taste.

Then came the sweets and the coffee. And what was left was big smile around the table.

My conclusion for this visit:

Its fairly easy, and I shall make it short. So let me just state. This is as good as it gets in my book. Thanks Mrs. Bau, Daniel, Jochen, Jovana, Bastian and all the others on the floor for taking so excellent care of us. And BIG Thanks to Christian Bau, Tristan Brandt,  , Michael Mikolajczak and the rest of the kitchen staff for continue to produce small miracle both on the plates and in our palettes.

Thank you Jerome for your friendship, always…

“But the stars are burning bright, like some mystery uncovered
I´ll keep moving in the dark with you in my heart, my blood brother”

Blood Brothers – Bruce Springsteen

*

My rating for this visit:

Food 10p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), Total Score  20p (20)