Best dishes of 2012 – “The Directors Cut”

Many good meals were had, many extraordinary dishes were consumed in restaurants in Luxembourg and surroundings. If you are  a returning reader you will know that my overall favourite restaurant is Schloss Berg, and Clairefontaine is my local favourite. But the best meal in Luxembourg I actually had on on the last day of May at Bouquet Garni where Mark Wright joined us before his first ever show in Luxembourg. Thank you Thierry Duhr for an outstanding meal – it was an evening where it all came together taste wise. But unfortunately no photos were taken 😦

But I thank you dear friends who made all those meals worthwhile – for what is outstanding food without the right dining partner….so thank you dear friends – Astrid, Torben, Gijs, Jerome, Serge, Richard, Pascal, Johan, Jörgen, and the changing members of the G8 group – also for the fun. Also BIG thanks also goes to the Fox Force Four – Kjetil, Frode and Uffe. See you in Beaune..

Wine wise I have had to scale down in the restaurants – but that have only given room for many new discoveries. On private basis, the joint venture with Le Caviste has spoiled me with so many new good wines I cannot start to count them, but only feel priviledged – to have tasted them,  AND to be able to sell some of those to many new customers who I am sure will enjoy them just as much as we have.

But here I shall present you with some of my best shots of some of those dishes that made 2012 a VERY gastronomic year for me.

Here you go…

Marbella Club Hotel

10. Marbella Club Hotel

The Chef, ever so kindly suggested these beauties to us – in Spanish. Not sure what they were…except a kind of Langoustines. But they were cooked to perfection. The dinner was enjoyed with the missus and the boys.

De Leuf, Maastricht

9. De Leuf, Maastricht

I have to mention this one. NOT a fan of oysters…but this amuse was served in a Gin/Tonic version. Best oyster ever, and made promise for a GREAT evening that food wise kept the level. The dinner was enjoyed with best friend Jerome. Love you.

8. Lameloise, Chagny

8. Lameloise, Chagny

I just love the arrangement of this dish. You can do few things wrong when serving lamb to me. And lamb at Lameloise is like a perfect marriage. It doesnt get any better. Eris Pras like Monsieur Lameloise before him knows his way around classic dishes. Even with a twist. I was happy to visit lameloise a few times last year, but this specific dish was enjoyed with the missus and the boys.

7. Schloss Berg

7. Schloss Berg

A surprice dish, – well in a surprice menu all dishes are a surprice, but this one was an extra “throw in” by my favourite chef Christian Bau. Different textures of artichoke. And within the menu on that certain evening it sure made us feel happy. Dinner was enjoyed with the missus. It was our 10 years anniversary dinner, and we could not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world on this evening,

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

This might seem like a simple dish or presentation. But I loved this dish so much, On the last evening of our stay, I ordered it twice. Read the story on my post from that evening if you want to know the details. It was the final evening of a succesful wine trip to Rhone with new friend and business partner Gijs. The dish…Pears in red wine, nuts, beans, fois gras, artichokes. It all came together like few dishes in this world. And on a beautiful evening, knowing that one of the Chefs was the prettiest chef on this planet. Well I almost cried. Dinner was spent of course with Gijs. Thanks for your friendship and giving me the opportunity to promote and sell the wines of Le Caviste.

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

A slightly different presentation of a GREAT dish of Christian Bau. The combination of the fois gras with the sea algae…..I tell you if you havent tried it – well you havent lived. One of my favourite dishes ever. This evening was spent with good friend and gastronomic expert Pascal. Looking forward to more of those evenings my friend.

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

Another dish from De Leuf, and another fois gras dish. This dish brought tears to the eyes of my fellow diner – best friend Jerome, who was litterally moved by this dish. So was I. And….The fois gras was combined with a piece of sole. GREAT combo.

3. Lameloise, Chagny

3. Lameloise, Chagny

Cold and warm Langoustine. The cold on a an apple “thing”. The warm wrapped with crispy rice. I was lucky to have this dish on two occasions. With the FFF and with the missus on our summer holiday. Simply Stunning. This presntation was from the dinner with the missus.

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

Fois Gras again…no wonder I´m fat….but….This one…perfect fois gras on smoked eel, with caramel on top. I tell you. You dont get much more classic kitchen than in this GREAT restaurant. I have no doubt, I would rather haeve the menu at some other restaurants mentioned in this post – but – the cooking here is great.  And it does not always need to be innovative to please your palete. This lunch was enjoyed with the missus, prior to a Bruce Springsteen show. And what a show it was…

IMG_1464-002

1. Falco, Leipzig

Peter Maria Schnurr…..We had such a wonderful evening “in your hands”. This dish was raw scallops with rhubarb and apple. It just worked. Like the whole evening did. Like Christian Bau, you are a true magician. There is only one regret. That Leipzig is 600 km away. I chose this dish, because, just like the one in Gigondas…it is a dish were simple ingredients can make an explosion in your mouth, and play with your senses. It gets almost sexual. You were great fun too Peter 😉

Conclusion:

Looking back at all those dishes, I know – the result – the list . would be diffferent even just now. And some dishes…like the chocolate dessert at De Leuf, the Poulard de Bresse at Clairefontaine, the Banana Split at Schloss Berg…well I could have chosen many other dishes. But one thing is sure. These dishes were all outstanding. And they each give me memories of the taste, the ambience and the people with whom I enjoyed them.

And I need to add….I did not get a chance to visit my good friend, and one of the best kitchens in Europe this year. Jan, Sölleröd Kro. Im sure you would have had a dish in here if…

Thank you dear friends…I love you all. And thanks for taking the time. Rock on.

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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)

A different take at Restaurant Clairefontaine – Take 3, Luxembourg – 22 September 2012

1 year after our first cooking class at Restaurant Clairefontaine, Arnaud and William again opened their doors and there “Little box of secrets” for us.

This time around we were 7 students and the menu apart from the requested beef was a secret to all of us.

What was on the working and dining menu today was:

Amuse – Tartare of Tuna with a wasabi/soya dressing
Starter – Lobster carpaccio with redish
Main – Filet of Beef with pepper sauce and a potato mash
Dessert – Creme Brullee

So a very classic menu, – again with a lot of focus on our chances of re-producing most of it at home without too much of a fuss.

After a small briefing and a cup of coffee for those in need of that, it was cooking time,

Cutting the tuna, scallots, choriander…

voila…at the end finished of with olive oil with a touch of lemon, salt and pepper

Cherry tomatoes with a twist…

Finishing the dish…

The finished result…

The “wasabi” sauce was made of wasabi paste, soya sauce and a touch of homemade mayonaice to make it smoother in both taste and texture. A great amuse that you can make in 5-10 min.

Next up – the lobster.

A view to a kill….

Anyone up for a 69 ?

Now at this point we close the cameras and have a moment of silence. 9 lobsters were used – and killed in that process. Yes, Susanne – I shall spare you the details.

Busy hands…

Dirty work…

What followed next was the slizing of a monster redish, and explanation about how to do the lobster reduction to enhance the flavour of the dish, crushed dry rosemary as well as the crushed dried orange skin added the “genious” factor to the dish. The cleaned lobster cut into carpaccio style slices, the salad bowl on top done with a thai tempura flour.

Great little extras for an outstanding dish

Mind your fingers…

Put aside to rest for a while…

This ones for you Susanne

Making a salad “bowl”..

So three-4 steps of arranging the dish

Step 1 – arranging the sliced and boiled redish over the lobster…

Gijs adding the classic vinegar/honey/oil dressing

Adding the crunched dried Rosemary and Orange – with a touch of chives…

The salad bowl on top – inside the salad a claw of the lobster….

Now this dish might seem a bit complex for amateurs like us… with the homemade little extra seasonings, the killing of the lobster, the tempura salad bowl, the wonderful lobster reduction etc. etc. But I think that even if one cut some corners here and there -it can be reproduced at home. And it for sure was a dish to die for. Or to kill for. In this case the lobsters left the world for a good reason. Susanne, I am sure they went straight to lobster heaven. I know we did. The blanched cruncy redish mixed with the texture of the lobster and the tempura on top….Arnaud and William. I loved this dish so much.

Next up was the slowly cooked beef. After preparing the whole filet of prime Luxembourgish caddle, it was quickly sealed and put into a vacum to cook at 48 degrees in slightly over and hour. Finished off at high heat. Peppersauce was done with a pre-produced reduction, and man what a sauce it was. The mash consisting of potatoes, butter, butter, butter and chives.

Heres a few shots of that preparation

First cleaned, then strapped up, then cut into 250 gram pieces…

Sealed off and with butter, herbs and garlic into the “solarium”….

Pepper and scallots braised off, cognac added and after a small fire, the pre-produced reduction was added. Man what a sauce….

The mash…

arranged in a genorous way….

and table 1 was ready to go…

To say I love this dish would be the understatement of the year. Perfectly cooked prime beef. The worlds best sauce, and a simple mash. What more do you need ?

To finish of a classic menu, you off course need a creme brulee. I shall not bother you with all the details of that one. Just say that from the two variations we made – one with burned sugar and one where rhum was added and lit to make a more fun presentation – I prepared the classic bunselbrenner version…but the flamy one of course makes a nicer picture

Arnaud showing how to prepare my favourite dessert..

Creme

– Brulee

So – looking back at now 3 sessions and a good 11-12 dishes…which ones stands out. I am actually not sure. I know for sure that the 4 dishes we had today all ranks up there with my overall favourite classic dishes in the world. But then there was off course also those pork cheeks, that fois gras, – that cod – etc. etc. etc. too praise. But most of all, what I appreciate the most in these cooking sessions – and I think I speak for the whole group is the little things we learn. Extra salt, extra butter, the small tricks – that all improve a dish in so many ways. So Arnaud and William – we especially thank you for that. We also again thank you bot for your precious time, what a wonderful way to spend “A day in the life”.

We also thank Julien, who always amazes with his choice of wines. Today it was absolutely on top. Each wine a perfect match enhancing our FANTASTIC dishes…

Session 4 already seem to far away.

Smiling faces all around…yours truly smiling only behind the camera.

Mark Wright – Live in Luxembourg 9 June 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus, Marianne and Jörg….

Music to hold hands to…

– or dance to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caveau des Arches, Beaune – 26 January 2012

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“Morning has broken, like the first morning, blackbird has spoken like the first bird”

Cat Stevens

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What a morning it was. Foggy. The (missing) colours amazing. Like taken from a French Noir movie. The second day in Beaune was ahead of us. An early walk around the impressing Chateau Gilly was to be followed by a wine tasting in Gevrey-Chambertin in the cellars of Dupont-Tisserandot followed by lunch in the Caveau de Arches, a favourite of Gijs. Here´s some shots to get you in the mood.

Like taken from a fairytale, or a movie – the gardens of Chateau Gilly

Monsier Dupont-Tisserandot with my friend.

Hush….Mr. Akkerman at work.

So warming uo to the lunch.. – let me just add, that watching Gijs doing his job, taken notes, writing tasting comments, recording with his brain all the impressions of the wines and cellars we tasted and saw. Learning about the style, working methods, placement of their parcels…etc. etc. etc. Well there is only one word for that. Magic. It was pure magic to be able to follow you around Gijs. Thanks for inviting me and being part of this experience with you.

Well back to the food. “After a hard morning´s work….” – we arrived at Caveau des Arches around 12.00 and were shown to our table in the beautiful cellar. Actually the restaurant consists of two long tubes of cellars. Beautiful. The wine list is amazing. Simply amazing.

We opted for starters and mains…with a bottle of ordinary white followed by a top red.

An old friend of mine…

Having visited the cellars of Remoissenet last year, where I enjoyed their whole range of wines – courtesy of Bernard Repolt – I managed to surprice Gijs with this one. What a taste. For an ordinary Bourgogne this was certainly very very nice and at 24 eur overwhelming. It was also a great companion to the classic starter

Oeufs en meurette

Having had this on many of my visits to Bourgogne it remains one of my favourite of the local cuisine. And this presentation was this kitchen´s version of the classic one. Often you find the roasted bread in the rich sauce, but here it remained on top, letting it keep its crispness. The sauce, the bacon, the poached egg – wonderful. Again not be compared with a 3 star restaurant dish – but in fact all you could wish for. 7.5p

We both stumbled over this one. Funny when a wine-list have hundreds of numbers and you both let your eyes rest on the one.

Thank you Mr. Rousseau for this one,

220g Fillet of beef with sauce epoisse

Gijs had the same dish but with a 400g entrecote replacing the fillet. Both pieces of meat cooked to perfection and with great quality Charolais, Both dishes served with no vegetables but with roasted potatos as a side dish. I simply LOVED the sauce. I spoke with the chef after and were lucky to get the receipe. This one I have to learn to make. I found the potatos a bit too soft and not crisp or tasteful enough. 7.5p

No more room for dessert  – this was just a small lunch. Afternoon programme meant that more tastings were ahead of us. No loosing weight on this trip, but I guess I knew that up front.

My conclusion:

I loved the two dishes we had so much that my upcoming trip to Bourgogne HAS to include this restaurant. And I am going to order the excact same two dishes. May seem a long time away. But I cant wait to be back. Good service, good bread, smiling staff, great wine list, great food. Thanks for introducing me to this one Gijs. I loved it and shall be back. Again, if you are a tourist in Beaune, dont fall for one of the many toruist traps. Book here – and then book Cave Madeleine and you have booked a trip to paradise. You dont even need to spend hundreds on the wine. Take the white we had and the food we had – you will for sure feel that you got value for each and every single penny you spend. Did we have an amuse – Gijs ? Actually I have no idea, but I did not miss one if we didn´t.

My rating for this visit:

Food 7.5p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 5p (5), Total Score  17p (20)

Cave Madeleine, Beaune – 25 January 2012

The essence of comfort food

Gijs 2012

What can I say – Beaune is my idea of heaven.

Beaune for me please...

I don´t need long beaches, shopping malls, posh restaurants and the hype of a big city. Beaune does just about the trick for me. Anywhere you look the city breathes WINE. In the shops, in the local food, the butcher, the baker, the bars, the people on the street. It is all about wine.

So going there with new friend and wine lover Gijs was a gift from heaven – or from Bacchus. Since I am the senior in this friendship as regard to dining (and in age) – I got to choose some most of our dining choices on this trip. And I had no doubts in my mind about the first one on my list. Because the last few times I had missed out on this recommendation from Jan in Denmark. His favourite place – Cave Madeleine.  And man – does Jan know his places.

Table was booked and we arrived around 7 pm full of hope and anticipation. The thing with Cave Madeleine is that they serve regional food without too much of a fuss, with no wine list, but a wall full of all the Bourgogne wines you could wish for – some bottles impossible to find elsewhere – and most of them with do I dare to say – a modest pricing policy. Therefore it is also favourite restaurant among locals- on this evening most of the large community table was occupied by a famous Meursault wine maker with his group of American clients.

I think there is around 6 tables for 2, plus the large community table. So a good 24 people can eat here – many were rejected after we arrived. Booking is essential. I felt sorry for the young Australian couple that did not get a table this evening.

The community table with "The Wall" in the back-ground.

The madam of the house did the service the first hour or so on her own, and was later joined by her husband. It is laid back service with a smile. We were shown to our table, but actually preferred another one, and got that. No problem. Besides the both English and French speaking hosts there is 3 persons in the kitchen. And they were just about to spoil us with what turned out to be – as Gijs put it –  “the essence of comfort food”.

Chablis Grand Cru 2008 from Raveneau

Gijs had no doubts that this was the one. Raveneau being one of the two top producers in Chablis.

Chambolle.Musigny !. cru 2008 from Philippe Pacalet

Having had the village version once at Söllerod Kro – being an extra bottle Jan told us we just HAD TO taste, I was happy to find Philippe Pacalet in the wall. It had to be that one. Gijs loved it. Which releaved me. I admire Gijs knowledge about wine and ability to describe them so detailed as he can. I will never reach his level. But I am learning. In that respect Gijs I am very much your junior.

As for the food….The menu – the dishes are presented on a black board behind the counter….Hard choice, because many of the dishes spoke to us. We settled for this…

Terrine of veal...

Absolutely wonderful terrine, crisp salad, great produce, truly homemade. One of the best I have ever had. It lacked a bit pepper for my taste. But the taste of the terrine…stunning. You had to be there…6p

Lamb...

Simply one of the best lamb dishes I have ever had. The simplicity of the arrangement makes it off course difficult to compare a dish like this with a more detailed presentation from a michelin starred establishment. But does it need to be ? In this case no. Wonderful tastefull meat, tender, great reduction, great mash (as good as mine) – crispy vegetables. If I had a last menu to order before heading off this planet…this dish would be in there…I asked if the chef was married (forgot I was lol), and intererested…the chef came smiling out. I guess he hoped for a long-legged blond Danish girl. I know I had hoped for a female chef. We both laughed and congratulated him on this dish. Truly the dish of the day, …of the trip. 9p

After this Gijs was on a roll and offered this pearler….

Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 2008 Jaques-Frederic Mugnier

As good as it gets. A perfect companion to the shared plate of cheese that finalized our dinner.

The cheese plate was a little let down in compare to the dishes above. But the 3 choises, consisted of 1 aged stunning compté  and 2 average ones. Cheese 4p

My conclusion:

It is easy to make simple and good food. You need good produce, a chef who knows what he is doing and cooks with passion. This is most certainly the case at Cave Madelaine. Combine this with a cosy room, perfect hosts and a wine concept others could learn from – well what do you get ? You get a perfect restaurant. Now people sometimes complain about my point system, how can you compare a brasserie – or your local sushi bar to 3 star michelin restaurant within the same scale? Well maybe you can – maybe you can´t. But let tell you this. If all my restaurants reviews were of brasseries, this one would get a 19.5p rating. No doubt. It was simply as good as a restaurant at this level can get, minus the minor flaw with the cheeses. Great bread, great service, funny but cosy ambience. Wines and food to die for – or with. I know Gijs loved it so much he swore NEVER to visit Beaune again without making sure that he could eat at Cave Madeleine. I felt proud and happy to have chosen this one.

Having had a disappointing lunch at La Ciboulette for lunch its easy to see where a restaurant and thus tourists can go wrong. Choosing a restaurant in a town that is so full of them is not easy. And the two meals we had on this first day learned us that man does it matter. Thank you Jan for directing us to Cave Madeleine. I remembered the two young Australian tourists that was rejected earlier that night. and truly hope they did not end up at La Ciboulette. But thats another story I guess.

I shall be back again for sure – hopefully with you Gijs. Here´s to our new friendship. Cheers – Big Ears….

My rating for this visit:

I shall add one happiness point for the wine concept and the general vibe of that GREAT evening we spend.

Food 7p (10) service 4p (5) ambience 5p (5), Happiness point 1p : Total Score  17p (20)

La Mirabelle, Luxembourg – 6 January 2012

La Mirabelle is situated on a busy street, but with parking just across the road. I have not been here since the mid nineties, and a lot has changed. The restaurant has always been known to serve (almost) gastronomic food. Today the concept is a little changed. I would rate this as a high level Brasserie, but not real gastronomic. Only just below that. Its a favourite of my new friend Gijs, and thus was a natural choice for our lunch.

The decor is modern. It didnt really hit my wauw spot…but I have seen a lot worse. And I cannot put a finger on what it was. Maybe it was just not my style. I like the fact that they had wooden floor and not tiles. I hate tiles, and you will find that in around 90% of all restaurants in Luxembourg . The large counter in the middle of the room with a wall of wines worked the best in my opinion. On the other floors there is possibility to have a private room for larger parties.

The center of La Mirabelle

One of the private rooms upstairs -more classic

We were greeted by the staff and the menu was presented on a board. The waiter described each single dish, which is nice (and time consuming) – and then left us for a few min in order to decide.

The menu. starters, fish and meat...

We opted both for the veau as a starter at 19 eur. Wine list was brought, and that was a big surprice. Fairly priced – in Luxembourg that means 2-3 times engros price, but that is still better than the average of 4-5 times. And furthermore there was some really nice choices. I especially studied the Bourgogne section. Wonderful wine list. One of the best I have seen in Luxembourg. We opted for a Meursault and a Charmes Chambertin from Dupont-Tisserandot, which brought back good memories of many a visit to his cellar in Gevrey-Chambertin.

Tomato and Rilette and nice bread

Lovely, great. I would just leave it at that. Why waste time, money and energy to produce some wanna-be amuses when this is actually good enough. Well, La Mirabelle did not. They served the following amuse….

Vegetables on a cheese creme and a small pumpkin soup

I generally think that a restaurant should only serve these amuses if they have something interesting to present or some easy going stuff, like roasted almonds, the rillette and dried tomato thing from before was excellent. The pumpkin soup was actually very nice, if not overly sexy. But the vegetables thing was truly boring and rater tasteless. Now had it been left out, I would have had less to critisize. Sometimes less is more. 4p

Galette - filled with veal...

Great dish, best of the day. Great presentation. The Jus de Veau, perfect, the salad dressing and egg, great as topping on those wonderful, gallettes. Inside the galette there was veal, fois gras, apparently sweet-bread. It all came together as a very tasteful and delicate dish. 8.5p

Rib-eye...

Great tender meat,-  and a beautifully arranged potato. Baked in the oven with creme and bouillion –  and the long slices then arranged as a rose. I loved it. Presented as – “with a pepper-sauce”, it was nowhere near that. If it had not been for the 5 green pepper corns I would not have known. It was not bad. just not up to par with the rest of the dish. The biggest complaint about the dish was however that the vegetables – which on my plate was arranged on a nice creme of artichoke  – were an exact copy of the vegetables on the dish of my friend. For at restaurant at this level and a price of 30 eur – well I think its not good enough. Again, I f I had not had those vegetables on my plate I would not have missed them, and now their repetition was a subject of irritation. As I said sometimes less is more. So I will have to adjust for that in my judgement of the dish. 6p

Poulet....

Actually two servings – the upper left corner being the breast, wonderfully cooked, moist as it should be. And in the bottom right a gateau, cake consisting of confit de poulet (I think) and a mash. The vegetables as you see, even the order they were same and excact copy of mine. But here they were more justifed in my opinion. Anyway, Gijs liked it. 7p

No rooms for dessert.

My conclusion:

I think I expected gastronomy and I got brasserie food. But I got brasserie food at a very good level. I think the produce used was impecable. Very nice meat, very good salads, bread etc. And the price level with 20 eur for starters aand 30 eur for mains are as it is in Luxembourg. Not cheap but standard. It would not be my choice for a romantic evening, I know other places that are more my style, but for a business dinner or just another night out, I would definetely consider coming back. As I said, the wine list was outstanding. The service and attention from the staff was good if not out of this world. The waiter suggested a bottle when we had chosen our menu. I like that. Even if we opted for our own choice. So even with the minor flaws I experienced in mind I think La Mirabelle is understandable a popular restaurant and I think on most lunches or Friday evenings it is advisable to book ahead. Thanks for the fun Gijs. Looking forward to developing our friendship. You are officially my youngest friend by the way.

My rating for this visit:

Food 6.5p (10), service 4p (5), ambience 3.5p (5), 1 Bonus point for the GREAT wine list. Total Score  15p (20)