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)

Advertisements

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.

IMG_4701 IMG_4700-001IMG_4702-001

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.

The Pickled Piglet, Birmingham, – 21 June 2013

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

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

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

The period building hosting "The Pickled Piglet".

The period building hosting “The Pickled Piglet”.

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

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

IMG_5671

Great light room

Chrissy serving the Sauvignon Blanc.

Chrissy serving the Sauvignon Blanc.

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

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

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

1-2-3

1-2-3

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

4-5-6

4-5-6

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

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

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

7-8

7-8

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

The Chagny Situation, Bourgogne, 25th-28th April 2013

The Fox Force Four was back in Beaune, back at the beautiful Hotel de Remparts in the center of the city. Good to see the old friends, good to be back in Beaune. We were spoiled with 26 degrees celcius and sunshine, allowing us to spend a wonderful evening at the terrasse of a little place I found last year. Nothing fancy – but decent food. Uffe and I ordered 2 starters and waited a good 90 min for the Norwegians to arrive.

We had 5 tastings planned for the coming days, among those three new smaller wineries – with amazing wines as we would discover.

As it turned out the tastings were very successful, meaning there was a slight logistic problem, which good friends Pernille and Patrick solved by letting the Northern friends have a few square meters of their garage for a while.

Here are some impressions from the trip

Athos, D´Artagnan and Porthos at the cellars of Michel Caillot.

Athos, D´Artagnan and Porthos at the cellars of Michel Caillot.

Aramis at the vineyards of Michel Caillot

Aramis at the vineyards of Michel Caillot

"Brigitte Bardot" at our service...

“Brigitte Bardot” at our service…

Between two tastings we went back to the hotel and opened a bottle of red – well Julie (almost) did. Julie was besides being very pretty, also a sweet and service minded receptionist, – bus as we learned, – soon to go back to her real line of business, – a travel agent. So, the day we left it was also her last day at work 😦

Kjetil entertaining a group of very kind American and Canadian tourists.

Kjetil entertaining a group of very kind American and Canadian tourists.

As always the last evening we had our last dinner at Lameloise. I love Lameloise. I will never get tired of dining here. Its like coming home. The familiar faces of the staff and the warm welcome by Frederic Lamy.

Home sweet home...

Home sweet home…

We had hoped to find the nice Chicago couple we met at Cave Madeleine the evening before, because we understood they were set to dine here. I suspect an audible error – and they might have been dining at close by Levernois, I guess for an American – the twang – those can easily be mistaken – Levernois – Lameloise – but food wise – there is no compare. And we were in for the better part of that comparison. Still I hope you had a great stay and dinner dear Mary and Frank.

The top moment of the entire trip occured when Hubert, the sommelier asked us whether we had made our wine choices (from the great wine list).

I answered him, we will like the same as last year. A big smile was his reply, and he elaborated – I was hoping for that.  Now that meant we gave him free hands too arrange some bottles to be tasted blind, and within a certain total price limit. He said, I have been thinking about it all day, which wines to choose etc. Now that is – beside the effort of checking or remembering – an outstanding level of service – and you are bound to feel special, and so we did.

Here are some shots from the menu

Champagne...

Champagne…

A little fois gras lollipop

A little fois gras lollipop

Second round of amuses

Third round of amuses

Scallops and crab - still not started the menu.

Scallops and crab – still not started the menu.

IMG_5498

Fois Gras with oxe-tail

Second best dish of the evening, what a dish.

Saint-Pierre

Saint-Pierre

Lobster

Lobster

The last piece of the best bread in the world.

The last piece of the best bread in the world.

As mentioned in my prior posts about Lameloise. This bread is to die for.

Langoustine

Langoustine

Lamb

Lamb

Lameloise & Lamb – a perfect marriage. Always. Best dish of the evening.

At this point a personal issue arised – known by  insiders as “The Chagny Situation” – the cheese would be my last dish of the evening. No sweets for me tonight – which is probably good for my hips – but cheese at Lameloise, is also always perfect selection and perfect maturity.

Kjetil making his selection.

Kjetil choosing his selection.

What a drop, best wine of the evening. I almost had it, guessing Bonnes Mares.

What a drop, best wine of the evening. I almost had it, guessing Bonnes Mares.

So, dear Frederic Lamy and all your exceptional staff. There were absolutly no flaws this evening. Everything was perfect and as always, I hope to be back rather sooner than later. Please extend our thank you to the whole team. Eric Pras, thank you for a great meal. As good as it gets.

So this wraps up a great trip – well almost – because the following morning we had a last tasting at Mischief and Mayhem in Aloxe Corton where good friends – wonderful Fiona and warm Michael Bragg had prepared a brunch to go with their exceptional wines.

What more do you need a Sunday morning.

What more do you need a Sunday morning.

So, this was it – I shall leave you with a picture to fit the situation, Athos checking out…

The Three Musketeers..

The Three Musketeers..

Thanks for your friendship guys…see u around.

Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg – 12th February 2013

A business lunch is never wrong, when one is invited and the venue is Clairefontaine. My good friend Sam wanted to discuss a future family highlight and I was happy to offer my advice and connections and hopefully we will also provide the wines to the upcoming festive occasion.

Impressive building, impressive weather.

Impressive building, impressive weather.

Sam has not been in Clairefontaine for quite a while but it was clear he felt at ease and enjoyed every minute there. From the warm greetings from the staff till the moment we left a good 2 hours later with full bellies and happy smiles.

Getting ready for service...

Getting ready for service…

Here is some impressions of the a la carte dining we did.

Amuse 1

Amuse 1

Amuse 2....

Amuse 2….

As I have stated many times before…the amuses at Clairefontaine are mostly very solid, and there is always an idea and a taste behind what you are offered. I especially today liked the fois gras thing with the crispy orange slice.

Scallops with truffles..

Scallops with truffles..

Or as it is described on the menu – Le carpaccio et le tartare de Saint Jacques Normandes mariés au céleri et à la truffe Mélanosporum, une vinaigrette d’échalotes confites plusieurs heures. This is one of the signature dishes of Arnaud and always return everyy now and then on the menu in basically the same presentation. I asked Sam to be the judge today. And for him it was a total balance and explosion of good taste. So he rated it a clear 10p. If I should say something negative about the dish 😉 – it would be the 4 leaves of salad, which I think did not fit in the whole picture. But man I do like the dish. 8.5p in my book.

I convinced Sam to try the waguy burger, which I had on my last occasion.

Hamburger Kobe style, with fois gras and a great reduction.

Hamburger Kobe style, with fois gras and a great reduction.

Like last time the potato chips are more potatos than chips, but I must admit I like them like that. Again Sam was over the moon with the dish, and gives it a 9p

Wake me up for this one..

Wake me up for this one…..

My choice today was lamb. I know Arnaud does a GREAT job when ever lamb is on the menu. Today it was one of my favourites…Lamb in different presentations. On the menu the description is again a bit more detailed I guess – L’agneau de lait en 4 versions, une déclinaison autour des légumes oubliés, un jus court infusé au thym frais et à l’ail doux. Loved it. 9p

So…full of taste and impressions…we felt no need to order dessert….but…..temptation is a devil – and so the offering of the market menu – a take on pinacolada, my favourite and not very masculine cocktail – well it had to be tried.

If you like Pinacolada...

If you like Pinacolada…

Just like with the Banana split you get at Schloss Berg, this is all one need in a dessert. I love these takes on classic dishes or tastes. And this was my best dish of the day – even on a day where the competition was tough. 10p.

Conclusion:

We decided to end the lunch at my dining table, opening two nice bottles…yeah I know Gijs, – but I got carried away 😉 And Sam loved them both as he did todays lunch. It is always nice when you decide on a restaurant for a friend, that it lives up to expectations – or even surpass these. Today we could have been in no better place in Luxembourg. Thank you all for the great service and inspiring food. One of my best meals here ever. Sam, thanks for lunch and your friendship.

My rating for this visit: Food 9p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), Total Score  19p (20)

“If you like Pina Coladas, and get caught in the rain.
If you’re not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
I’m the love you’ve looked for, write to me, and escape.”

Lameloise, Chagny, France – 12 May 2012

.
“Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed, haven’t much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy”
Phil Lynnot 1976
.
.
Fox Force Four had ther annual dinner at Lameloise as the grand finale of the annual trip to Bourgogne. Expectations were sky high for the day, that included market in Beaune, wonderful visits to a cellar in Gevrey Chambertin and to new found friends Michael and Michael at Mischief and Mayhem in Aloxe Corton – and the visit to Josephine and Martin Prieur at Domaine Jaques Prieur. We arrived at Jaques Prieur at 18.00 in time for pre-dinner tasting and tour of their grand estate. Here is some shots from that fantastic experience.
.

The beautiful production building for some of the greatest wines of the area…

Martin Prieur and Frode discussing important issues…

From the moment we entered the estate – Martin was a warm and welcoming host….Welcome my friends – he started…. you want to start with a beer ? – I have to say I was impressed by his warmth and hospitality. Equal hospitality and smile in her eyes – we found in Josephine, who gladly showed us the estate, explained about the history of the family and told some funny anecdotes. We love you Josephine and Martin and hope to see you again next year. Please say hi to Mom from us. What a lady she is.

Kjetil with our beatiful host Josephine…

Part of the liquid gold in the cellars of Jacques Prieur…

And here a seldom shot of the 4 Musketeers…Frode, yours truly, Kjetil and Uffe.

Time rushed away and dinner at Lameloise could commence. Due to the late arrival – aperitives were served at the table and not in the bar to the disappointment of Kjetil. Soon after arrival we were warmly greeted by Frederic Lamy, who manages to always impress me with his elegance. There were familiar faces among the staff and sommeliers and we felt confident that a great meal was ahead. The only flaw in the service occured at this point – we had to wait a long time for the water, the first wine and the bread to be served.

The menu was ordered and this is how it went.

First round of amuses…

Almost as good as they get. On all my (many) previous visits to Lameloise, I think the first amuse has always been a salmon creme with green olives preceeding the first “tray” – but not today, – maybe due to the late arrival – or maybe things have changed – however, this tray was wonderful and ranging from good to top notch tastings. 9p

Mackerel…

A dish that showes excactly where the kitchen of Lameloise is these days. The lightness of being. Classic and beautiful. 10p

Homard Bleu & Tourteau

You never go wrong with Lobster at Lameloise. Loved it. It was served on two plates – the second plate coming here…

– le tourteau – Rock Crab

Loved it – loved it – loved it. The texture of the lobster, the crispness of the crab. The celaric and fennel in the dish. 10p

Saint Pierre & Couteaux XXL

The dish was served as you can see with white and green asparagus and wauw…the taste of the white asparagus on the left – under the green ones – was amazing. The dish was enhanced with a sauce – a warm fluffy mayonaise with mustard. Great dish 9.5p

Petit pois and morilles…

I love peas, I love fresh morilles. This dish furthermore had sot l´y laisse – and was served wit a glass lit. The aromas that was set free when lifting the top was amazing. 9.5p

Agneau de lait from Pauillac…

Lamb and Lameloise goes hand in hand. First time I was here around 20 years ago I remember I had lamb like I had never had it before. It melted on your tongue. The lamb chop. It was so tender. That dish from back then stayed in my memory for many years – THIS dish was in each and any way its match. Best dish of the evening. The crispy taste of roasted garlic. Wonderful. A small pot was served next to the main dish with other parts of the lamb and potatoes. 10p

Say cheese…

Lameloise still have a GREAT selection of cheese and you should always make sure to make room for a few. I forgot. Nevertheless – top notch cheese selection. 10p

Pre-dessert…

A coffee inspired thing…did not do the trick for me. It was fresh and nice…but I am not a coffee man.

Followed as always by another tray of

Pre-dessert 2….

and

Dessert

Chocolate for me….my fellow diners had other desserts. The dessert within the menu is always chosen a la carte up front at Lameloise. This one was nice but the weakest dish of the day, and I was runnin out of steam. 8p

After-dessert…

Yup, the sweets finalized a sweet dinner.

Conclusion:

It is always good to be back at Lameloise. That is what I wrote after my last visit. So no need to change that. I could also write I cannot wait to be back – Like last time there was the minor issue with the water. The interaction we had with the sommelier this year was outstanding- He really got into our idea about how we wanted the wines on that evening. Thank you for that dear friend. It was very entertaining and educational, and man there was some nice drops there. I was especially impressed by this one –

Great menu, great service, great bread – really great – Kjetil I am sure you dig the bread the most….The amount of amuses and sweets amazing and the the quality of those stunning. One does not need to even start to talk about the perfection of the ccoking of the fish or the meat. Its perfect. Thats all there is.

So, musketeers– thanks for almost behaving and for being part of my life in such a prominent way. I love you all.

And to Lameloise and the whole staff – thanks for having us, be sure to find me back soon and the Fox Force Four back in Spring 2013

And to Frederic Lamy –I shall bring Oscar and Emil next time – lets see if they have improved their dining preferences – for your information – Oscar´s favourite dish is Schnitzel these days – which off course is a step up from pizza you may argue.

My rating for this visit: Food 9.5p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5), total score for this visit  19p (20)

.
“That jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song
The nights are getting warmer, it won’t be long
Won’t be long till summer comes
Now that the boys are here again
Phil Lynnot 1976
.

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)