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

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 14th December 2012

“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town”

So Christmas came early this year, both the snow as well as the invite to join two of my best friends for a pre-Christmas lunch at our beloved Schloss Berg. Jörgen had not been here since he celebrated his 50th birthday here a good 4 years ago. And of course the development of Christian Bau has only just begun it seems.

Expectations were sky high and the dull cold weather and the boring Riesling we had in the neighbouring hotel, did not spoil our moods.

The beautiful Schloss Berg

The beautiful Schloss Berg

Schloss Berg had decided to open the doors for Friday lunches during the month of December this year and with a Duck theme to fit the season we were ready to meet Santa. It was good to see Daniel Kiowski – the best sommelier I have ever met, and I met a few – and Steffi, the prettiest waitress in Germany – among others familiar faces.

The two elderly gentlemen awaiting the amuses…

Good friend Jörgen...

Good friend Jörgen…

IMG_3836

and good friend Torben.

What then follows is among the best range of amuses you will ever find in any restaurant. I dare you. I double dare you….”Kulinarische Einstimmungen” for sure.

Tartare...

Tartare…

A classic by now, this time with a creme of smoked eel in the cornet.

Red beet

Red beet

Amazing shrimps

Amazing shrimps

Crab...

Crab…

Green stuff...

Green stuff…

I loved the grilled avocado – this amuse was amazing (if not  overly winterly !)…

The fois gras creme with parmesan...

The fois gras creme with parmesan…

Also a classic with bits of truffels – LOVE IT.

The bread....

The bread….

The crust and quality of this bread is so good…..and also the Foccacia (not on the picture) – one can say that the bread alone is worth a visit….

So, having enjoyed all this – a first moment of being happy and impressed occured. Jörgen with his usual dry humour claimed that until now he had nothing to complain about. It is really amazing, both the number of amuses but also each single one of them are justified and still not taking the focus off the menu. And what I like is that some of these amuses you will be happy to find again on your next visit, and some have been replaced.

So – the menu as such was ready to begin….

Fois Gras from Alsace

Fois Gras from Alsace

The fois gras being matched with raw langoustines, green apple and smoked almonds. A great dish. As good as it gets.

Duck "Bouillon"

Duck “Bouillon”

With a chinese touch, the “Dim Sum” lovely the bouillon of course very tasty and powerful with a hint of asian spices I think.

Black Halibut

Black Halibut

Great dish, nothing to complain about here. The sheer quality of the oyster on top…the citrus and the cauliflower.

Duck Supreme "Mieral"

Duck Supreme “Mieral”

I guess you can tell by looking at the picture that everything on this plate was cooked to perfection.  Top of the pops.

Time for sweets….not that we were hungry at this point…but also not overly full. The lightness of the dishes makes you cope “with all this food”.

Chocolate and Banana

Chocolate and Banana

One of my all time favourites from the kitchen. Their updated Banana split is so so good.

IMG_3874

Sweets two…

This little crunchy thing was a bit like your breakfast serial….Jörgen was really impressed by now. And just when he thought the dinner and the amusement was over, this little devil made him smile just one more time.

Sweets three..

Sweets three..

Sweets four...

Sweets four…

And it was over and out for these fat Danes.

Conclusion:

As you can tell, I was as always, and we were as always, mighty impressed. And it is hard not to be, The wines that Daniel found for us, included a GREAT crispy 2011 Silvaner from Rheinhessen, a 1999 Riesling Auslese from Saar, A 2009 Meursault from Louis Jadot, A 1998 Chateau de Fieuzal, and a Beerenauslese from 2006. His confidence, his style, his calmness. Daniel I love you.

And Christian Bau, once again – we thank you and your team for the outstanding level of the dishes, service and ambience. Nothing is left to coincidence, and nothing can be done better. Duck not being my favourite product, I must say that still you managed to impress me and us. And Jörgen has already asked when we are going back.

Rock on Christian Bau – wishing you and your dear ones and all the team at Schloss Berg a wonderful Christmas, see you in 2013

My rating for this as all other Schloss Berg visit. As good as it gets, like a Christmas evening – top of the pops.

And if you are not in the Christmas mood, then check Bruce out on the link below….

La Mirabelle, Luxembourg – 30 October 2012

Astrid and Oscar on the road, and Emil off from school, left room for a all male lunch. Gijs joined us – and was happy to hear that I had one of his favourite spots in town on my mind.

Emil and I early as always, left time for me to decide on the wine – and settled for a Condrieu – my new favourite white. The wine list is good and often you can find a wine sold at a bargain compared to other restaurants in town. Right now they had for example top Bordeaux´s – for example Clos de Marquis from 1990 to I think 100 eur. As I understood it – from now until December this special list of old Bordeaux vintages is available,

La Mirabelle offers a menu for lunch at around 45 eur I think, and many tempting starters and main courses a la carte. The room, still not my favourite – but I do like the bar and and the wall of wines behind it. The people greet you ever so friendly – off course the greetings Gijs got when he arrived 20 min later made me feel not so VIP anymore. He was.

That is what put you in the mood for good food

This is what greets you when you enter the restaurant. A beautiful arrangement – and very appropropriate to the season.

First off was a the “usual” rillette from duck and this time a mouse/paté of salmon..

Great stuff

Both were great, and with the bread provided – this is all you need for an amuse in a restaurant like this 6p

But like my first visit this year they did not leave it at that – and like last time another round was served

Not so great stuff…..

And like on that mentioned visit, the second round was also this time a set back. The soup of  – was it courgette ? – being boring and the one to the right too creamy and not up to par with the rest of the level in La Mirabelle. It does not ruin a nice lunch, I just find it silly to serve something that brings the level down instead of inspires you to crave for the next dish.

My choice of starter

Fois Gras with bread and mirabelle compot

Great dish, nothing to complain about here. The bread being baked so the individual pieces stuck together. The Fois Gras deliscious. 7p

Veal Rossini

Great veal, great reduction, great potato gratin, 7.5p – If there is anything to “complain” about – it would be that taking a look at other dishes around in the restaurant, reveals that the same vegetables are used on many different dishes. I think this was also an argument I made in January. But they are cooked well, and I guess it brings the “Brasserie” level up front in stead of the gastronomy, and maybe that is excactly what they are aiming at. But an honest dish with not much of a fuss.

The waiters are really attentive, and especially the young female one….yeah yeah….thats how I am – but especially she did a good job in being flexible and understanding in regard to setting up a dish for Emil, who opted for Turbot with mashed potatoes.

Emil was also convinced into some chocolate for dessert.

A happy chappy…

Yes, as you can see he was very happy with that. Now every single day since Tuesday, he has asked me – Daddy – when can we go back to the restaurant with the chocolate cake ? So I guess the score on this one must be a clear 10p – it was in Emil´s book for sure. You can wipe your mouth now Emil.

My conclusion:

La Mirabelle is still very popular, lot of business suits here – its still among the bests of its kind in Luxembourg. And price wise you are a step down in compare to the michelin starred restaurants in town. With most dishes they deliver honest food, with no complications. It is the Brasserie style food  “Department” – but for sure it is the high end within those in Luxembourg.

Service is good and almost flawless. We were offered a digestive – which is never wrong in my book. It is children friendly and flexible in that respect.

As for wine list, I do think they in compare to other restaurants in that league has many good drops for you to choose from, and thats including wines from the whole world. On top of that they seem able to put out gems every now and then with a certain subject – or simply older vintages.

I hope to be back soon – and so does Emil.

Food 7p (10), service 4p (5), ambience 3.5p (5), 1 Bonus point for the wine list – and chocolate cake dessert. Total Score  15.5p (20)

Hotel and Restaurant Les Florets, Gigondas, France – July 2012

Where the stars do not mean anything – or as my friend said – This has to be the best two star hotel in the world.

Hotel Les Florets

First let me set the scene.

The hotel is situated in the Southern Rhone, beneath the rocky mountains that surrounds Gigondas. You have the smell of Provence litterally in the air.

A Smell of lavender is in the air – and the colours – amazing.

The main building of the hotel, most rooms overlooking the terrasse of the outside part of the restaurant as well as the beautiful valley.

If this does not make you happy ? I wanted to stay here forever – had my family been with me.

The hotel has been in the same family for 3 generations and Thierry and Dominique Bernard are indeed the perfect hosts – greeting you warmly with a smile and hand shake every morning – and most of the staff is also smiling and on their toes to give you the best possible stay.

I would not say it is 5 star level service, but I have definetely never ever had better service in any 4 star hotel. Example – at our first lunch shortly after arriving – we asked Thierry how far a drive – to a certain city where our first tasting was gonna take place – would be. He quickly went away to check – only to arrive 2 min after with a colour printed route guidance from the internet. Perfect.

The hotel offer different categories of rooms, incl. family rooms. Wifi, flatscreen television, indoor and outdoor dining as well as an outdoor swimming pool during the main season.

So if the Hotel les Florets is the best two star in the world, this young chef taking a break before service has to be one of the prettiest chefs in the world.

The view from the table where our first lunch was gonna take place minutes after our arrival.

I shall just give you a few more romantic evening shots from the hotel before coming back to our lunch and dinners here….

Evening shot from our table towards the valley. End of day, end of service.

– and the hotel in a romantic light before bed-time. One really did not feel like leaving this at all.

*

Restaurant les Florets

Well, I think you by some of the photos will have an idea of the settings under which the food was to be enjoyed. Let me just say, those settings does not come any better. Truly stunning views and the smell in the air automatically gives you high expectations. I think those expectations were best met and exceeded during our first lunch. However, the evening light, the sun setting, the last warm breeze of the day hitting your face, the happy faces everywhere, the laughter in the air – all that also made both our dinners outstanding experiences as well. The restaurant offers different menus as well as a la carte, and you will end up paying 32-45 eur for a 3 course meal.

Again . if one would not feel happy with this view from the ding table – well….

– or with this view.

– and witth such a pretty waitress – the meal could commence….

I will show you some of the best dishes we had throught our 3 meals here.

Beans, pear, artichokes, hazelnuts, fois gras….

My first dish here….and what a dish. It was a pure 10 in my book. The combination of the pear and fois gras, the perfect vinegar dressing. It was the best dish we had throughout the stay. 10p10p – 10p. It was not the only good one – but it was so good that on the last evening I ordered it again. And since my friend ordered a different dish – and ended up being jealous about my choice – well I did something I have never done before. I called Thierry and told him I had a problem with the dish. Something he probably could not believe since my plate was empty. But I explained to him, that I loved this so much, that I simply had to have it once more and therefore he should halt the main dish for a bit and kindly provide both of us with another round of this beauty. It was just the perfect dish and it had everything that fitted this place and region. I can just underline – I would order it again today if I could.

Lamb and eggplant

Great dish too. Probably the second best. 8p

Rhubart with rillette of smkoed mackrel

Simple but again, fitting and good. I guess by now you have an idea of the kitchen 8p

Duck breast on lentilles

The duck breast – well I do prefer old fashioned slowly cooked – “like our mothers did” – duck – but it was also a very “true to concept” dish and the meat cooked perfect rosé – like most chefs would these days. 6.5p

Filet mignon of porc, on – arh… I do not know the English word – corn of a kind, with Apricots.

Unfortunately, the filet was slighly overcooked.The smaller pieces being close to dry. The Apricots – the black olives and thus the whole balance of the taste was incredible and saved the dish. 7p

Say cheese

Perfect selection, perfect ripeness. A bit more “air” between the cheeses would have made a nicer presentation I think 8.5p

The pretty young girl from the kitchen came over and said goodnight and I could not help it – my fingers slipped

– but I hope she will be happy with the result.

Conclusion:

Let me say it very very clearly. If you are going to the area of Gigondas. This is the place you wanna be. If you are staying only one night in France (and like me cannot afford George V. and Paris anymore) – This is where you wanna be. If you are looking for the perfect balance between hotel, service, food and surroundings – Hotel and Restaurant les Florets should be your choice.

As it turns out – Thierry and Dominique are expecting a visit soon from the hotel inspectors – that off couser send thoughts to Fawlty Towers. But let me assure you, the family Bernard is prepared. And it would be the biggest crime on earth if they do not get the third star. Lets hope they will keep the price level when it happens.

As for the room I have two minor complaints. My bed was 5 centimer too short. And I missed a minibar.

But – the food – the smiling staff, the views – the nice wine list. All you could wish for. Let me congratulate Thierry and Dominique also especially on the male waiter, that throughout our stay was smiling and helpful. A perfect waiter. Any restaurant or hotel would be lucky to have a guy like him. The only complaint about the restaurant would be the chairs. Romantic looking but not really comfortably. But i actually forgot that during the dinner because of all the rest.

I salute you my friend. Even if I forgot your name

So, to round it up – I surely hope to be back next year. Thanks for making the stay memorable. Thanks Gijs for showing me this place and inviting me on your trip – well you said at one point – this is OUR trip – but hell – you planned it and was in charge of most of the stuff. And you did most of that stuff pretty damn good. I salute you too- YUP 😉 –  and before my rating of the restaurant below that will include a happiness point –  I shall leave you with a goodnight shot.

Last man standing – well sitting –      Gijs Akkerman

My rating for this restaurant visit:

Food 7.5p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 5p (5), Happiness point (1) Total Score  18p (20)

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)

Restaurant La Mirabelle, Luxembourg – 9 February 2012

Restaurant La Mirabelle is the top brand of the group of restaurants in Luxembourg that call themselves – Espaces Saveurs. These days they celebrate the 20th anniversary of La Mirabelle – but actually the collaboration between Olivier Fellmann and Dominique Colaianni started already in 1987 in Cave Gourmandes. So actually the two of them celebrate their “Silver Wedding” this year. Together with some investors they have build up a small imperium of restaurants that includes Come Prima, Goethe Stuff and Sapori among others.

Today I was invited as a “member of the press” -the new press so to speak. Newspapers are slowly but surely dying at this age in time. Unfortunately. I wonder what our kids, or grandchildren will thin kwhen we tell them about the time when you went to the shop every morning to pay for “old” news. The fastness of our world is not always a good thing I reckon.

Nevertheless, here I was, proud to be invited – and happy that La Mirabelle has recognized this change of the tide – by the way as the first restaurant in Luxembourg I know of.

So it was a big table – 13 people – fixed menu – in one of the small rooms upstairs – which I most certainly prefer to the semi-modern styling of the the main restaurant.

And here it was the table – om the table to greet us the usual sundried tomato “mash” – and the rilette with freshly roasted ciabatta. Great stuff. All you need. No need for any other amuses in such a restaurant in my opinion

Sundried tomatoes with bread

Terrine of fois gras

Lovely presentation, the gelantine to the right was done of – I think pomegranate – anyway, I think it was a great mix- the pomegranate with  the added orange balancing out the fatness of the dish. Served with a glass of sweet Chenin Blanc from Loire, but still with enough acidity to make the wine lighter and thus not as irritating sweet as many Sauternes. 8p

The wine for the dish to follow

My kinda wine...

Really a crowd pleaser, not even too sunny or too much wood. Just a good balanced Chardonnay. Not the depth or minerality of a lets say Chassagne Montrachet – but it does not need to have that in my opinion. I would order this wine – or buy a box given the chance.

Second dish…

Scallops with vegetables julienne, and a small coconut inspired sauce on the side.

Scallops has to be cooked perfectly to be interesting. It is very weasy to cook them to much, and too little I find them too fishy for my taste. These were cooked just as they should be. The plate with the running green stripe from side to side a beauty. I love Asian cooking. But I adore French cooking with Asian touches. The coconut would probably offend most French gastronomes…but I thought it was just right. Not to dominant, just a good companion to the still crisp vegetables. 8p

Filet of veal

Great looking dish, great jus, great creme of the root of persille, stunning millefeuille of vegetables, celaric, carrots…I think was in 10 or 12 different vegetables – slowly cooked, but wauw…what a result. With a touch of sea-salt on the top. That part of the dish was the highlight of the day for me and deserves an extra 0.5 point. Meat perfectly cooked. Great dish – really. 8.5p

With the veal we has a light female style of Bourgogne

Your average good Chambolle Musigny 2006

This wine did not blow me away as such, but off course Pinot Noir is a perfect companion to veal – and I think the raspberry in the wine goes well with fois gras, and as you can see from the picture the filet was done Rossini Style. Maybe a touch of raspberry within the dish would have brough that more out in the wine. But then again it might  have taken away the focus away from the lovely “millefeiuille”. Guess you can´t have it all.

Most appropriate - dessert based on mirabelle

Especially the caramel stribe behind the “cake” and the nutty ice cream made this dish work in my book. It had softness, crispness, sweetnes…and was actually a very light and nice finish to a great menu. 6.5p What followed was some sweets and coffee.

Here is two shots of the hosts of the day…

Dominique Colaianni

Olivier Fellmann

My conclusion:

As I said, being recognized as a member of the press, was something else for me. I know it is the ways of the world and there is nothing that can stop that. Still somebody need to be the first and Luxembourg is normally not that innovative to say the least. So I thank you Mr. Fellmann and Mr. Colaianni for that. The menu today was a step up in compare to the menu I had last month here. But then – it was a set menu for a set number of people. But it was good. It was not perfectly matched with the cold weather outside, I mean this menu I could repeat in the summer without a problem. But it was dishes that all looked and tasted nice, all were justified and all had great ingredients or good produce treated correctly and with a great result.

I much prefer the rooms on this floor to the large modern room down-stairs – but that is off course a matter of taste.

On another note I got to talk to Olivier Fellmann about Come Prima. And I was so happy to learn that they offer gluten-free pasta dishes. Come Prima we actually gave up when the gluten allergy of the missus was diagnozed. So – Come Prima – see you very soon….. Great news. Actually it always a pleasure to talk to professionals – about their experiences with the business, with wines, with ratings etc. etc. That makes it all worthwhile.

As for my rating today -service – well we had great service – but it was a closed table in a closed room. But I have judged it as I would have done it in the restaurant.

Thanks for having us.

My rating for this visit:

Food  8p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 4p (5), Total Score  16.5p (20)

“Just one of the guys” – Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 21 October 2011

Hey, Eddie, can you lend me a few bucks
And tonight can you get us a ride
Gotta make it through the tunnel
Got a meeting with a man on the other side

Bruce Springsteen – Meeting across the river

*

Some of my friends had never tried Schloss Berg before, which is why this lunch was arranged. Christian Bau had agreed to open the restaurant just for us. I think it was a perfect way to do it, because this way 8 “loud” gentlemen had no worries in regard to disturbing other guests with our laughter or dirty jokes.

Since I have just made a review from Schloss Berg – see 18th December -I shall just recap that it was a perfect lunch. One guests was not so impresssed by one dish, one maybe had reservations about another, but in the end we got outstanding food, and perfect wines to match. Daniel engaged again in storytelling and opinions on the wines chosen. And I promised the guys to put of a little something so we can always remember this very special afternoon we spend “across the river on the other side…”.

Here it goes…

Tasters…

So of all these…I think the white truffles/chestnuts creme stood out. What a feast for your nose and palette.

And the menu could start….

Fois Gras - Bau style...

I love this. Having had it before here in more or less the same presentation, I think actually that Bau had been TOO generous with the amount of Fois Gras today – it was ALMOST more than one could handle. Off course only almost.

Scallop with Pumpkin - what a beautiful dish !

Fish, Langoustine and shrimps....

Some of the “audience” wondered why the presentation was done like that. I mean, we amateur chefs all learn daily from television or books etc. that a real gastronomic dish is naturally centered in the middle, and you avoid the ring around the plate. So what does Bau do ? He avoids the middle and place everything in the ring. Maybe he just wanted to remind us all that there are no rules in good food.

Nebraska beef

Some discussion here, one of the guys was not too impressed with the meat. I think it was just about lovely. But I do prefer the presentation from 18th December – where I forgot to take a picture – sorry. But the standing slimmer pieces worked better than this.

Re-take on a classic - Banana split !

Simply loved it…..The desserts here NEVER lets you down. Explosions of taste in your mouth.

Sweets...

Non-alcoholic (!!!) 😦 Mojito shots...great colour.

So….thank you guys for joining me, I think we had a blast. And again I thank the wonderful staff on the floor and in the kitchen for having us, and for performing at such high level always. We especially thank you for opening the doors at a time where the restaurant is normally closed.

Happy faces and full bellies....

I cant wait to be back in Spring. I wish you a all at Schloss Berg a Happy New Year.

If you have the time, take a moment to read this wonderful post by a good friend. he visited Schloss Berg for the first time, and he puts it in top 5 of the world. And he has tried many along the way….

http://michelinstarfinedinings.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/victor%E2%80%99s-gourmet-restaurant-schloss-berg-perl-nennig-german-cooking-precision-oriental-inspiration/

Hey Eddie, this guy, he’s the real thing
So if you want to come along
You gotta promise you won’t say anything
‘Cause this guy don’t dance
And the word’s been passed this is our last chance

Bruce Springsteen – Meeting across the river