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



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…


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.


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…


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.



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

Red beet

Red beet

Amazing shrimps

Amazing shrimps



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.


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.


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.


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


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


– 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


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…


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.


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….

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

Restaurant Rosin, Wulfen, Germany – December 2011

“Simplicity works for me, it gets me running hard and sharp and true
I focus on the basic stuff, and pretty soon I´m coming up on you
So much clutter clouds our way, fundamentals win the day”.

Bob Seeger

Having a business dinner to attend, the road to travel was somewhat longer than normal. But ever since Frank Rosin threw us out in the third round of Topfgeldjäger it was our plan to come back and haunt him one fine day. Frank Rosin has just been awarded his second michelin star and holds 18 Gault Millau points. He has already celebrated 20 years with the Rosin restaurant situated in the corner of the Ruhr district, close to his home town.

Frank Rosin is known as the “sledge-hammer” in the show, being very critical, and only accept the best. When we participated in the show, we off course did not share all his criticism towards our dishes, but understood some of his arguments. We still feel that we had deserved a draw in the third round, and this is probably going to haunt us forever.

So I had hopes up high for finding some good points, issues to improve in his performance this evening.

“Frankie” was in the building…and a visible host throughout the evening, both at our table, but more notably on some local VIP clients. I think that the local pride “FC Schalke 04″ provides Frank with many bookings via their players and staff.

Frankie”  is a true rocknroll chef. He enjoys the limelight, and you can see he is used to being “on”. I must admit I like this style very much. Its laid back, with a lot of confidence.

The sign above the entrance...

Restaurant Rosin used to be an old fashion “Kneipe”, with a rather dark ambience. It certainly was not that anymore…

Part of the 40 seated, two-parted dining room

On the second floor of the building an appartment has been converted into a “Vinothek” with a small kitchen in front. It can be booked for parties from 6-20, and we started the evening with a lovely glass of Gosset Champagne up here.

This seemed like the perfect place to be on a cold winter night...

As you can see on the picture above, the ambience, is light, stylish, romantic, the lightning excellent, not for photos shooting (!) but for a quiet evening. I loved it, also the table setting. It does not need to be any better in my book.

First of was a good selection of bread and a nice selection of different kinds of butter…


3 Amuses – “Schmackofatz” were in our case followed by two starters, two mains and cheese.

"Small harvest of sweetcorn, avocado and popcorn of porc skin

Fennel and carrot

Acorda with venus mussel and heart of duck...

All the amuses was nice, not out of this world bit generally set the tone for the menu that was to follow and gave us an idea of the style of Frank Rosin and his team. 8p

First chosen starter was the the especially recommended as “not to miss” marinated tuna

Marinated Tuna with Brillat Svarin and Imperial Caviar

This dish took us all by surprice. Having expected a more tender tuna, it almost had the texture of a piece of veal, or cooked piece of tuna. As if the moist had been taken out of the tuna. Maybe this was done on purpose. It was a great dish with a generous portion of imperial caviar. But the jury is out on whether the dish/fish was really supposed to have THIS firm texture. Comments are welcome… 7.5p

Piece of Chocolate from Coffee Frois Gras

This dish truly played with our sences. By now you get a good feeling of the style of Frank Rosin, and why I choose to start this review with the lyrics from Simplicity. I shall get back to this in my conclusion. This dish was certainly carried by the left side, the generous chocolate/coffee/frois gras brick. Ever as delicate. The dish would have been more standardly placed as a dessert, so sweet was the general impression, however who am I to judge why you cannot have a sweet dish early in the menu. 8.5p

Piece of Breast and Rilette from the Gressingham duck

Again the presentation was something one could (almost) re-produce on a good day, which in my book is fantastic. Being a hobby chef this is what you want…true inspiration for your daily cooking. May I add that this dish, this duck was the best duck I have ever had in my life. Maybe my mother had cooked an equally good one once in a while in her long life, but in a restaurant…it was such a great relief to find this piece of breast cooked to perfection, not red, not rosa, but slowly cooked, and still moist even though it was well done on a  duck cooking scale. Simply loved it. The sauce the rest of the dish. Heaven. 10p

Oxe Cheek with Pumpkin and Ginger, Vacuum-fruits and Spekulatius Bread

This dish suffered mostly I think from coming just after the duck. It did not stand a chance against it, and was no compare. The cheek cooked to perfection, but the dish being a bit “on the easy side” for a two star establishment – even if the components probably was not. But furthermore I dislike the style of the bread. Having had it both in desserts and mains over the years I have never liked. The dish well, I shall be generous and give it 7p

Say cheese...

A great selection of cheese, even though they all seemed a bit crammed on the too small tray when presented. Nevertheless, the waiter took the order of the different cheeses for two persons and left to prepare the selection outside our viewing distance. And what came back was in my opinion the perfect way to present a cheese plate. 9.5p

No dessert was ordered, but wtill we got another “schmackofatz” – Frozen Chocolate with Cranberry and Vanilla and then a tasting platter with 3 different servings of pre-desserts. I dont think the presentation of this tasting platter was very lucky, where all guests around the table dig into the same portions. I am not difficult in that respect, but we all found it a bit silly and not up to par of the rest. 6p

My conclusion:

Dear “Frankie”, I wish I could slam you just a bit….but in the end we all found that this was a perfect dinner with some high points and some minor flaws. I understood most of your intentions, appreciated the simple style of the servings. Sometimes as a gastronaut/consumer/diner you are presented plates that have so many details your palete can  simply not digest. This was far from it. This was simple, honest presentations without too much of a fuzz. As I said, something to be inspired by or even re-produce (in some fashion)….

We were warmly welcomed by both the maitre Jochen Bauer and the sommelier Mrs. Spiess, greatly entertained by the young waiter and waitress, always had good wine and water in our glasses. The sommelier Mrs. Spiess did a good job in suggesting us great bottles according to our wishes. The style of Mrs. Spiess comes over as very confident and very quiet. She was voted best sommelier in Germany -but we had to wait until the last bottle to actually hear a lot of comments from her side on the chosen bottle. I do like when this has a higher focus and LOVE to discuss and hear opinions from the sommelier. But maybe she was just afraid of these Great fat Danes….but if I had one point of criticism it would be the missing interaction with the sommelier – but on the other hand I never really doubted her qualifications.

What we all agreed on was the fact that the dinner was easier to digest and actually preferable in compare to the extravaganca we had all experienced at lets say Vendome….and thats a great “Hats off”  to Frank Rosin and his team.

My rating for this visit.

Well I thought about deducting a point up-front from “Frankie” – just to pay him back from the “Topfgeldjäger Situation” but I guess it would be too personal – so fair and square…

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

Grain Nobles, Steinsel, Luxembourg – 25th November 2011

An evening with the boys…

I first met Fernand Klêe in the early nineties, since then he has established himself as one of the leading figures in the Luxembourgish wine scene. As a sommelier, conferencier, wine lover, or just a fantastic guy to spend a few hours with. He is truly entertaining, warm-hearted and witty.

So when my friend Richard asked me if I wanted to join his mostly Norwegian gang on a “Friday Night Christmas Celebration” in the hands of Fernand – with food provided by Cookconcept, there was 3 things I knew right away. Yes, I would, 2) I would be first to arrive 5 min before the set time 7 pm, and Lorenzo was gonna be the last to arrive.

So, being early when you are in the hands of Fernand Klêe is not a problem. First wine was a…..I forgot – or wait was it the Bruno Colin ?. Second up a Domaine Leflaive, third a Marsanne/Viognier thing and then the Champagne…..and this was before the first half of the rest of the boys arrived.

After great amuses, oysters, spicy chili/choriandre soup, buffalo Mozzarella, Salmon etc. – and the arrival of  Lorenzo and a few others around 8.30. pm  (Italians are from a different planet – and thus have longer travelling time. Capiche ?) – the evening could (finally) commence…

The GREAT GREAT Fernand Klêe

A GREAT Blanc de blancs

First dish of the evening was this wonderful fois gras.

Terine of Fois Gras

The cinnamon on the apples just there, not too much, the brioche, classic. One of the best dishes of the evening. Sam – your terine is truly great. It was accompanied by…

On the rich side - which I love....

A classic great marriage...

What followed was an army of good whites, look at the producers below….all outstanding in their own respect. With the below whites we also had the following two dishes….

– and the dishes

The salmon excellent, – the soup with the loup de mer on the very spicy side. I loved the dish but I do not think it fitted the wines or visa-versa. The only wine to almost match it was the beforementioned Marsanne/Viognier.

As for the whites they were all fantastic, most notably the Puligny Montrachet 1.cru from Domaine Leflaive, what a nose, what a tour de la force….

We left the whites and Fernand now like a true wizzard – as if by magic – presented a young 2009 Echezeaux from Richard Maniere.

My favourite wine of the evening. It was only to clear the palate Fernand claimed – before the Bordeaux’s that would follow, but what a wine. Bourgogne 2009 is all I want in a wine, lovely sun, fruits, subtle tannins.

A true classic, Tertre Roteboeuf is a favourite among many wine critics, and I can see why. Second best wine of the evening – together with the Domaine Leflaive.

Now to all these reds we were served (twice) a wonderful rack of lamb with rösti and a mushroom ragout. The lamb was fantastic, the rösti right on the spot, the mushrooms lacked a bit salt and pepper and just slightly overcooked for my taste. My camera was absent during that dish and the cheese that followed. But trust me it was great.

The  biggest name of the evening was up next. The magnum bottle of the 1985 Chateau Ausone. One of the best wines in France….

This almost brought back memories to the early nineties where my good friend Jan Pedersen had a wine cellar to die for. I had the honour to prepare a dinner to go with his great wines on several occasions and the 1986 Ausone was a highligt of that period. Now 20 years later, the 1985 was still vibrant, still powerful…but deep down in my heart I must admit that it was no way near what I prefer in wine. I simply just prefer them younger. But what a privelege to try this kind of wine, and see how it matures and stays fresh and drinkable.

The cheese platter was accompied by a “lighter” 1995 Musigny.

How can you not like such a wine. Even though 1995 has proven a difficult year, these great drops – Grand Cru’s  – shows that with the right soft- and hardware you can still make good wine.

There was a few other wines, which were not shot – the fnal glass I got halfway out the door – a 2009 Chambolle Musigny (I think) from Henri Perrot-Minot in Morey Saint Denis. I shall give you a few impressions of the happy faces that was all around. Lorenzo is not in the pictures, he was busy dancing and remembering his disc-jockey days – some 20 years ago.


To have such a vast number of great bottles in one evening could be considered too much for what one can digest, but actually it was not a problem. I woke up the next morning with a smile on my lips and no sight of hang-over. I thank you – Norwegian friends and Richard for letting me participate in this great event. I thank you Fernand Klêe for selecting the wines – your wit and knowledge is amazing. I shall just just mention that Fernand Klêe sells a large selection of outstanding wines and cognacs as well as a lot of accesoires and art from the shop in Steinsel. Do check it out. Especially here in December they have a large selection of Christmas gifts as well as tastings, starting 10th December up till Christmas. I know I will go for sure…..

“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun,
The near and the dear ones, the old and the young”

John Lennon


Der Butt, Warnemünde/Rostock – 16 August 2011

Der Butt is situated in the wonderful Yachthafenresidenz Hohe Düne – which I have written about previously

Der Butt is still proudly holding on to its 1 star Michelin Rating, and chef Tillmann Hahn continue to improve. Apart from the restaurant he is also involved to some extent in the other restaurants inside the resort. Tillmann Hahn has been with the resort since 2008 – and was chosen to cook for a German G8 summit, a few years back so he is probably good enough to cook for me. The restaurant holds only 26 places so booking is essential.

The resort offers a little bit of everything. I shall just hightligt the following reasons that we keep coming back.

  • A splendid view of the Baltic Sea, and Der Strom – you can just drift away on your balcony and wish the stay will never end.
  • Great rooms
  • A full-time children care – possible from 10 am to 7 pm, with each day having a special theme. The kids LOVE it.
  • A GREAT bar, with all you could wish for – a huge selection of cocktails, champagne, whisky, gin etc. etc. etc.
  • A good selection of children friendly restaurants
  • An amazing breakfast buffet, with a-la-carte chef preparing omelettes etc.
  • Der Butt, one of the best restaurants in the region, and for sure worth a visit
  • Top-service from all staff within the resort
  • Warnemünde with shops and beach just a stone-throw away

Hey, did I get carried away ?. Well we love it there. We had read on-line that the service was not as good as it used to be. We experienced nothing like that. Not a fraction.

But…this time its about Der Butt and Tillmann Hahn and his team,

The missus at the Kamin Bar, Der Butt in the back-ground

Ray Tschörner, the tall smiling waiter had already spotted me a day or two before and we had a small chat. Im a sucker for recoqnition. It always work on me. Upon reserving we had noted the gluten-free issue as well as the vegetarian status of the missus.

So when entering it was a releave to see a speical basket of bread prepared for her. Why do I keep mentioning this. Because you have no idea how stressy and irritating it is when this issue is not handled correctly. Apart from the emotional stress – the health is at risk. So thank you all you chefs out there who does in fact realise this and adjust accordingly.

4 different thematic menus are offered, a classic, a meditteran, an exotique and a vegetarian menu. You are free to cross choose from all 4 menus, and the price of menu varies then from 65-115 eur depending on how many dishes you order.

Small selection of tasters...

The new Sommelier, Sven Mähnert, made a good impression, and was very service-minded and attentive throughout the evening. We opted for a Pouilly Fuisse for Astrid, and also the wine menu for me – I felt like trying something different than just Chardonnay.

3 kinds of extra virgin olive oil, 5 kinds of salt

This was an improvement to previous visits where we were offered to choose from 20 different kinds of salt to go with the bread and wonderful oils. This was much better and not as time consuming, – and how much salt do you need to try. Great selection, the olive oils delicate, all of them.

2. amuse

Wonderful, the lightness of being. Hahn cooks ever so light. And we like that.

3. amuse for me

- and for the missus.

Again, wonderful, again respecting her non-meat eating status. We felt this was going to be a wonderful evening.

Fois Gras

A highlight for me, wonderful dish, pretty and so delicate and tasty. 10p

The dish of the missus...Tartare of Langoustine with avocado and mild chili granitê

Lots of details, Astrid could have wished for a bit more chili in the granitê – but I guess we like it more spicy than your average customer. 8p

The best wine of the evening I found was this one….

Chenin Blanc from South Africa

Primeur de Provence, 3 kinds of veal...

Actually it was one of the starters on the 4 menus, but I decided to throw it in as small something in between the dishes. The kitchen decided it would be boring for the missus to watch me eat, they had prepared a little something for her too…(nice touch).

Brook trout on beans and "Satureikraut"

Both great little dishes, I love the presentations. And you have no doubt in your mind that the kitchen works with best of produce available. 8.5p

Grilled Yellowtail-Kingfish with mango salsa and choriander

I loved this dish, the missus found the fish a bit on the dry side. 8.5p

Poached Turbot for the missus...

- lamb for me...

Both dishes very strong. The presentation of the lamb was maybe not the best, but the tenderness and the taste made up for that. SIMPLY GREAT. 9p

Chocolate Grand Cru with full-ripe cherries

Great stuff again 8.5p

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for honey...


If you are ever in the resort, dont miss out on Der Butt. Its good. Its not outstanding or re-inventing the wheel. But its sometimes classic, its sometimes a bit innovative, but most of all its a kitchen that treats the products with respect with good presentations and the service match all that. The wine list is a bit on the expensive side like in most 5 star resorts, but the selection is good and leave you many choices from overseas etc in the lower end as well. Should you feel like drinking Chateau Margaux or Ornellaia, well then there is choices there as well.

At the end of the meal, Tillmann came to our table and we had a good long talk. We were happy to tell him that this was the strongest achievement of his kitchen we had experienced so far. And that the food throughout the resort had also improved from last time. There was no apparent flaws in the other restaurants as last time, except maybe for lack of salt and pepper on the dishes….Würzen fellows…würzen. But that off course was not the issue in Der Butt.

Thank you Ray and Sven for taking so good care of us, on our last evening at Hohe Düne. We for sure hope to be back next year. So do the boys. Thank you Tillmann Hahn for great food and for your inspiration.

I shall leave you with a few shots from the resort…and with my rating of Der Butt below.

Room with a view..


My rating for this visit: Food 9p (10), Ambience 4p (5) and service 5 (5)  Total score 18p (20)