Chez Marie – Beaune – September 2015

I was invited to come down and see the harvest of Louis Max in Mercurey and brought Jörgen who kindly enough offered to drive and on top of that invited me for dinner at my favourite restaurant, but thats another story.

The topic of this post being the newly found Bed & Breakfast of Marie and Yves in central Beaune. They offer 2 different double rooms and two larger appartements which comes with small kitchen etc. The biggest one havng living room – 2 seperate bed rooms and the the smaller one 1 bed room and room in living room for a fold-out bed. The appartements are priced at 110-135 eur depending on season and occupancy. The double rooms somewhat cheaper. The units – “gites” are situated just a 500 meter walk from dead center of Beaune.

Here is some shots to give you an idea, – its simple but with a touch of homely feel and clean and with an eye for small details. I loved the fact that the free internet code – was written on a piece of paper sticking out of a book on the side-board – with the title….Chez Marie 🙂 Nice.

The courtyard

The courtyard…

More courtyard - deco

More courtyard – deco

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Large bathroom

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Large bedroom – with high ceilings and stone wall

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Kitchen and dining area

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-and a second small bedroom upstairs

When checking out the next morning we found out that a huge breakfast was actually included in the price, consisting of fresh croissants and baguette, which I by the way saw Marie pick up on her bicycle 15 min before 🙂 – homemade yoghurt, homemade musli, freshly pressed orange juice, homemade marmelades etc…sparkling water was added with a smile,

Chez Marie comes highly recommended. We shall be back for sure. The warmth and hospitality of our hosts is what you want when you stay outside your own home.

Marie and Yves

Marie and Yves…

I shall leave you with a huge THANKS for making our stay memorable and with some shots from the 2015 harvest in Bourgogne.

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Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg – 15th April 2014

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

Classic menu, my favourite colours anyway

Classic menu, my favourite colours anyway

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

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

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

Round 1

Round 1

Round 2 -

Round 2 –

and last but not least

and last but not least

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

King Crab / Green Asparagus

King Crab / Green Asparagus

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

Carpaccio and Tartare of Wagyu with Caviar

Carpaccio and Tartare of Wagyu with Caviar

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

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

 

Salmon

Salmon

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

Didier making sure you have a good time

Didier making sure you have a good time

Lamb

Lamb

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

Dessert :-)

Dessert 🙂

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

Best wine I have had this year

Best wine I have had this year

You were right Julien, it was an excellent choice 🙂

Conclusion:

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

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

The best dishes of 2013 – “The Directors cut”

Again in 2013 many good meals were had, many extraordinary dishes were consumed in restaurants in Luxembourg and Europe.

I think my favourite meal this year I had at Falco in Leipzig, the most romantic eve I experienced in Anna Amalia in Weimar. The most surpricing and low budget lunches but with great food was also consumed in the Pickled Piglet in Birmingham and Le Fromagerie Marylebone, London. It was nice to be back at Le Cinq but especially the amuses let me down a bit.

There was less dining out in Luxembourg, especially the drop in quality in some old favourite places made me sad. I do think that Restaurant Clairefontaine and Bouquet Garni are among the best in the country. And my favourite Italian Il Riccio never let us down. I enjoyed some easygoing and Luxembourgish inspired menu at Brasserie Aubergine.

Private great cooking classes were held at Clairefontaine and in a small German town where I found new friends and an amazing group of people that were all with an amazing cooking level. And who knew how to have fun.

I shall present you with some of my best shots of some of those dishes that made 2013 a VERY gastronomic year for me.

Here you go…

10. Gaumenschmaus, Potsdam, Germany

10. Gaumenschmaus, Potsdam, Germany

Simply the best Flammkuchen I ever had. The missus had an equally good salad. GREAT quality for little money. Potsdam was such a nice city, especially the Dutch Quarter.

9. The Pickled Piglet, Birmingham, England

9. The Pickled Piglet, Birmingham, England

Went here with good friend Jörgen, to catch a Bruce show, spiced up with performances by good friend and great singer Gazza, who dedicated a song to me – The Ghost of Tom Joad and after the Bruce show Mark Wright performed his Elvis show. What a day. Lunch was had at the Pickled Piglet, and the army of GREAT tasting tapas dishes amazed us. They outshone the meal the next day at one star rated Turner´s by many miles. I think we had a range of nine Tapas and especially the lamb meatballs blew us away.

8. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

8. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

A burger as good as it gets. I think it stayed on the menu for quite a while. It was damn good. Kobe style beef, with panfried frois gras. Respect Arnaud.

7. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

7. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

And while we are here, why not stay. I must say I think my favourite meal this year at Clairefontaine was my birthday menu. I thank you for that dear Arnaud and Edwige. This dish is of course one of Arnaud´s classics. His bio egg on truffles and risotto his way.

6. Lameloise, Chagny, France

6. Lameloise, Chagny, France

I have said it before and I shall say it again. Lamb at Lameloise is a marriage made in heaven. Happy to be back always. The service, the room, the food, the wine, – pure class. The crust on this lamb, the roasted garlic. Oh my God.

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany

And just as Lamb is never wrong at Lameloise – Tuna is never wrong at Schloss Berg. In fact nothing is ever wrong there lol. The staff, especially Mrs. Bau and sommelier Daniel Kiowski make sure you are spoiled while Christian Bau and his brigade in the back does their magic.

4. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

4. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

Without compare the evening at Falco was the best dining experience the missus and I had in 2013. The fun, the interaction, the sometimes crazy and surpricing ideas that was presented to us. This porc, was the best meat I have had in 2013 for sure and maybe in my life. It was outstanding. Thanks, Peter, Christian, Oliver and all the staff that made this evening stand out.

3. Le Cinq, Paris

3. Le Cinq, Paris

Even though the menu as such let us a down a bit, it was good to be back, and to be here with good friends Jerome and Dragana. It was definetely a treat to be invited here, thanks Drag. But the amuses was not up to par, and the menu swayed a bit up and down. This starter, variations of octopussy was the best octopussy I have ever had in my life, and I have no problems in saying that THAT dish and watching the ballet that Le Cinq is was worth the admission alone.

2. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

2. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

So lets repeat what I said about Falco. That evening blew us away. This dish was the best fish we had all year. The somehow unlucky glazing of the plate made it hard to shoot – but trust me the Omble Chevalier wth wasabi, curry apple was to die for.

1. Greenhouse, Mayfair, London

1. Greenhouse, Mayfair, London

The Greenhouse was awarded their second michelin star for the 2014 edition of the guide. And that holds out. From the minute we entered the room we felt special and in good hands. Many of the dishes were amazing. This little something was mainly cornish crab and mint jelly, cauliflower, apple (granny smith). I do believe it was more or less a signature dish of the talented French chef Arnaud Bignon. So if you go there – try it out and say hi from FWRR. Sometimes it is the little things that counts. I never wanted this dish to end.

So, I again thank you dear friends who made all those meals worthwhile and possible in 2013, I missed dinners with some old friends I hope we will be able to catch up in 2014 – for what is outstanding food without the right dining partners….so thank you dear missus Astrid and dear dining friends, Torben, Jerome & Dragana, Serge, Johan & Tracy and Jörgen and of course Oscar and Emil who again made room for some very proud parents.

I shall leave you with some shots of the boys fine dining.

Emil at the Greenhouse after a long London day.

Emil at the Greenhouse after a long London day.

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Oscar having a Burger at Clairefontaine – 1-2 and 3 🙂

I am the Walrus...

I am the Walrus…

Knive and fork is a Man´s Job

Knive and fork is a Man´s Job

Chocolate cake is never wrong :-)

Chocolate cake is never wrong 🙂

And finally Emil looking not so impressed. He finished the plate :-) at wonderful Hotel les Florets in Gigondas

And finally Emil looking not so impressed. He finished the plate 🙂 at wonderful Hotel les Florets in Gigondas.

Turner´s, Birmingham – 21 June 2013

Being invited to a trip to see a Bruce show in Coventry and spice it up with some gastro adventures by good friend Jörgen, and leaving me in charge of all the details and bookings. It was easy for me to pick Hyatt, Birmingham,  love this hotel, love Birmingham – and the lunch we had before this visit at Pickled Piglet put our hopes up high for this evening. The last time I chose Simpson´s restaurant where I was mostly impressed by the friendly staff and the decent dishes – but where there were also obvious flaws. So, up to something new – well for me – Turner´s also hold 1 star Michelin. I have had this review sitting around, but having visited The Greenhouse in London I thought it would be fun to compare.

Turners - view from the High Street.

Turners – view from the High Street.

And inside looking out.

And inside looking out.

I liked the room, but unfortunately, given the choice I chose the corner table, only to discover later it was half the size of a normal table. My mistake I guess.

Richard Turner is in the kitchen, and the small restaurant (main room holds less than 16 people I would say) – and I am not sure there is any other rooms. It is a funny little wooden barack, I think I remembered the carpet a little worn, and what Jörgen spotted right away was the dust on the liquor shelves behind us. Note to staff. With all the spots on, it does look nicer when the dust is gone.

Well, we are common people, and that should not spoil our dinner.

Tasting menu was ordered and here it goes…

A little fish burger

A little fish burger

Nice, if not very posh presentation. And taste was ok, but not overwhelming – we were starting to wonder.

Tomato consomme

Tomato consomme

Very fresh, very nice amuse – that I nearly spilled.

Amuses – 6p

Our bread selection

Our bread selection

Nice quality bread. Funny thing, after saying no to the second bread I think, no further bread was offered during the whole menu.

Organic (bio) egg yolk

Organic (bio) egg yolk

This was the first dish to hit the michelin level we had expected. 7.5p

Frog legs...

Frog legs…

Not a fan of frog legs, but this was a funny little variation with the tempura 7p

Salmon

Salmon

Slowly cooked at low temperature, this confit of salmon was close to perfect, and again a rather rustique presentation 7.5p

Scallop

Scallop

The worst dish of the evening, the scallop slightly overcooked, the truffle cream totally overpowering everything else on the plate. The onion ring on top I liked. 1p for the onion ring.

Fois Gras

Fois Gras

So after the worst dish, the scallop, we had this little pearler, mango, ananas to go with the delicate pan fried fois gras. Great dish, way up there where you start to smile and remember how happy food can make you. We shook our heads by the up and down in the dishes, but this was definetely a winner. 8.5p

Turbot

Turbot

I do believe it was Turbot, and I do believe it was very nice. Perfectly cooked, nothing here was out of balance. 7.5p

Veal

Veal

Same level as the fish, nothing more nothing less. 7.5p

Say cheese.

Say cheese.

The selection from a larger tray was done outside of our view, but it was all goat cheeses and they were all bloody nice. At this point I always forget to shoot the pictures, thus the half eaten plate. But very nice selection 8p

Pre-dessert

Pre-dessert

This little thing was just brilliant. Delicate, fluffy, berry. We both loved it 9p

The grand finale...

The grand finale…

Another go at a tiramisu – again, high level, great finish 8p

Sweets for my sweet - well for Jörgen actually :-).

Sweets for my sweet – well for Jörgen actually :-).

Conclusion:

The service – the three people – I think – consisted of an eager very friendly maitre/sommelier (?),  a young waitress, who only started to smile after my small mishap where I shook so hard to my dish that it almost fell over. At least it broke the ice. The last waiter looked misplaced – kind of your local bouncer. Now there was nothing really wrong with these people. They were VERY friendly. But they were not very professional. The knowledge, or at least the knowledge that was transported to us when serving the wines was very very poor. Or very very general. And the wines inside the wine menu that we chose did not leave us impressed at all. Actually the female waiter was the best I thought.

The food  – there were some highlights, some of accepted quality and some of below par quality. It was a large menu. We did get a lot of impressions to take with us home. But in compare to the dishes in my post before in London. They did not quite hit that level. But the biggest difference for me was the way the whole evening went down, impressions, table, room, wine selection, wine presentation, dishes presentation, all those things that makes a perfect restaurant. And Turners tonight was a nice little restaurant where we would have had a blast had we expected less. It was just that it has just been rewarded readers choice in Birmingham 2013/2014 – and holds 1 michelin star. Well tonight it might hold that star, but just barely in my humble opinion. And in compare to Greenhouse. Well as I said there really is no compare.

When that it said. A nice evening was spend, and I feel that on any given night Richard Turner might give you some great dishes. I wish he had more professional staff.  Because maybe then he will feel the the whole thing rise to a higher level. But – we had a few words with the friendly maitre, and he was a nice chap. He just did not have the heart in the thing. And that makes the difference.

We left with mixed emotions, happy that the end of the meal was stronger than the shaky start, it is always better than the other way around.

My rating for this visit: Food 7p (10), service 3p (5), ambience 3.5p (5), 13.5p (20)

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…

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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.

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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….