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.

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Marbella Club Hotel (Restaurant Club de Playa), Marbella – September 3, 2012

I really had been looking forward to re-visiting this place. Ever since our last visit a year ago I have corresponded a bit with the great waiter – Francisco Javier Doncel – in Spanish !!!  – Unfortunately he had other duties this day – it would have been great to see him again – hasta luego Javier, see you hopefully next time.

We were spoiled with a clear blue sky and 26 degrees celcius.

A few shots from the restaurant and surroundings.

The location, as good as it gets

The beach below

Our table, front row tickets you may say…

Now the 5 star hotel looks like a hotel, where I could survive a few days without a problem, and I can only wish that I will one day be able to afford a stay here. Beside a gastronomic restaurant inside, the attration is the beach club, which has a buffet second to none. Everything is so fresh with an eye for detail and with a great presentation. Beside the cold buffet you have a barbeque where fish of all kinds and meat are prepared to your liking.

Great olives and roasted almonds and a bottle of Rueda…while the boys took a swim

Oscar where he likes to be the most

Emil preferred the slighly smaller version

Back to the other reason for our visit. The incredible lunch that was waiting for us. I greeted the chef, who at least seemed to remember me, and he was on his toes as soon as I – por favour – asked for a plate of Pata Negra and some grilled lenguados for the boys.

A proud chef

At your service…

Freshly cut pata negra.

What to choose…

The quality is really outstanding. I dont even know where to start, – only by saying that I only tried a fraction of it. The artichokes amazing, as the lobster and langoustines. The chef asked me if he could propose a little plate of something for us – I did not understand what he meant, but I was pretty confident we were gonna like it. And man did we like it. We loved it. Simply the most perfectly cooked langoustines of a kind. Grilled around 1 minute only, just enough to leave the colour – but still ever so moist and tender. Best plate I have had in a long long time. All you need is actully good produce and a chef who knows his techniques.

If that doesn´t make you happy…

Oscar loving his sole, not so much the spinach..

Round two from the buffet

This time I actually also tried the paella, which was very nice. I did not manage any grilled fish or meat – my belly was full. The kids had been looking forward to the desserts. As Oscar had informed us…Im going to have my favourite dessert again. Strawberries, raspberries and whipped cream. As it turned out the strawberries were the only flaw of the day, being a bit boring, tired…but the raspberries…have never tasted sweeter or better.

Oscar was a happy chappy

Emil opted for chocolate…

I do think that Emil had three rounds of desserts (!) These two, and two pieces more….

A look at the beach and the Jetty, and it was time to ask for the bill. After 4 hours in Paradise.

End of season, quiet beach

The bar is extended onto the jetty.

Conclusion:

Our visit this time was even better foodwise than last time. We were graced with the visit to our table by Uncle Rudi, previous director and co-founder of the hotel. He was celebrating the birthday of his wife at the table next to us and he came over to congratulate us on our choice of restaurant and me of my beautiful wife. What a nice person and gentleman he was. I bet he had a story or two to tell. Next time maybe Uncle Rudi.

The service is impecable, the settings pure holiday feeling with a classic luxury touch. I thank you again Torben for showing me this spot in the first place.

I shall re-post the great shot I took of our dear friend Javier last year

We missed Javier this time as I mentioned, but if money allows it Javier, please be sure to find us back next year.

My rating for this visit: Food 8p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 1 extra happiness point for a day in Paradise – Total Score 19p (20)

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 8 August 2012

“I got a dollar in my pocket
There ain’t a cloud up above
I got a picture in a locket
That says baby I love you
Well if you didn’t look then boys
Then fellas don’t go lookin’ now
Well here she comes a-walkin’
All that heaven will allow”

Bruce Springsteen 1987

I always think of a good fairytale when I see this building…

Having a nice round anniversary to celebrate choosing our favourite restaurant as the scene was not a hard one. And having the in-laws visiting, the babysitter situation was under control and a overnight stay at the beautiful Schloss Berg was too big a temptation to say no to.

You know my affection for Schloss Berg and for the cooking of Christian Bau. The whole place embrace you, from the arrival, check-in, and later pre-dinner cocktail and amuses – you are at all time at ease and can´t help but feeling special and mighty privileged.

The missus, 10 years burning down the road….

So, expectations high, but with absolutely no worries about them not being met

Bastian, – familiar faces and recognition always appreciated – served us a great pre-dinner Tanqueray 10.

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The Gates of Heaven, not believing in any kind of afterlife, Im happy to find these doors right here – just around the corner…

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A rose for my friend Sony.

Wines were chosen, two half bottles – actually three but the third – a Condrieu was not living up to the expectations, and most likely also not to the expectations of the sommelier – the GREAT GREAT Daniel Kiowski, because it was taken from the final bill. Great judgement.

A great drop.

Best wine of the evening. Smooth, elegant.

So….all set – hold on to your hats folks, the usual “army” of amuses are just about to hit you….

Round 1…that falafel to the right…yummi.

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Round two, the tartare cornet, this time with salmon.

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Round three…crab, salmon and eel.

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Round 4 – Greetings from Italy…Tomato ice, textures of green olive and buffalo mozzarella.

Funny little thing, very fresh. I loved the return of the exploding olives.

Round  5 – Tuna, Caviar and radish. Light as heaven, tasty and elegant

So,……thats it – the amuses. All absolutely amazing and tasteful. All with a purpose and all greatly presented by the skilled staff. This is what you want.

But, you also get an idea about the fact that you have to bring the big tummy, if you settle for the big menu to follow the amount of amuses you get here. We did settle for less this time around. But even a smaller menu does the trick and here is what followed.

Japanese Ocean

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Blue Lobster

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Different textures of Artochoke from Brittany

which came with a little crispy salad

Simply lovely…

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Deer from Eiffel

Off all these dishes I think one can easily say, they were all wonderful, the cooking of fish or meat always perfect. But the vegetarian dish, the artichokes which was in fact a “throw in” surprice by Bau was outstanding.

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey…

Structures of Peach “Melba” with raspberries and Champagne

Lots of things going on here. So you take a rapsberry, and it turns out it has been done moleculary and is indeed restructured. Or the peach stone – is in fact a nougat creme. Mind you this is a pre-dessert. Look at the details. That plate must take an hour to prepare. I would like to know how fast actually…20 min ? Have to ask next time.

Multivitamin – tropical fruits in different textures

Ending the menu here with a very refreshing and indeed light plate.

Final round…

I for my part ended the meal with a lovely Poire William from Alsace, generously poured by Yildiz Bau, who despite a virus was as charming and entertaining as always.

Conclusion:

I don´t think I have to tell you how much we love and adore this place. This night was no exception. Bastian, Steffi, Daniel, Yildiz, – the other service staff and all those guys behind the kitchen door made sure we had a memorable evening and a worthy 10 years anniversary. If one should have any regret, its only that money does not allow us to eat here more often. But its probably a good thing. My weight would sky rocket given the chance. Mind you the above was the small menu (!) – with the artichokes being an extra surprice dish. But that menu comes at 128 eur pp – and simply have to be the best gastronomic offer you will find almost anywhere. Be sure to book ahead in good time.

Thank you Yildiz and Christian – we will be back to celebrate our 20 years anniversary – and hopefully before that 😉

And as for you “Mrs. Bo” – Thanks for being such a big part of my life. I love you dearly, and thank you for mostly being a good sport when I have my mood swings. Rock on Astrid.

My rating for this visit:

I know Bau does not like to be rated by amateurs like me (or anyone for that matter…) But let me just say we had a perfect evening with no flaws whatsoever. You should be very proud of your team, food and restaurant – and I bet you are. Top Score my friend. A league of your own – or at least of a very few.

So – at this point – our bed was calling us – a bed that would fit a king and a queen.

Goodnight…

Rain and storm and dark skies
Well now they don’t mean a thing
If you got a girl that loves you
And who wants to wear your ring”

Bruce Springsteen 1987

Fischers Fritz, Berlin – 30 May 2012

“When morning comes and I’ll leave Berlin
My mind is turning
My heart is yearning
For you and Berlin”

Wizz Jones – 1973

*

Just where you wanted to be on this day…

To choose a good meal in Berlin is a tough one. The capitol holds many top notch restaurants – and my choice for today Fischers Fritz and the chef  Christian Lohse holds on to two michelin stars for I think 5 years now. The restaurant, the ambience, the high level service, the food is as classic as it can be. Its situated in the 5 star hotel Regent which due to its former owner Four Seasons gave us flash backs of “better days” (money wise) – because lots of details and decor was like copied from George V. in Paris. Pure class.

As classic as it gets…

This one´s for Sony…

So – the kind waiter showed us to our table and questioned whether the gluten-issue was correct and confirming that it would be no problem to handle. A second waiter emerged only to put the same question – if the gluten allergy was correctly noted. Nice to know we were in good hands from the beginning.

The menu has a business lunch with three courses at 45 eur I think. A bargain. A larger menu to choose from – 4-6 courses and off course a la carte dishes. It is a fish restaurant with the weight and focus on just that. Astrid chose the business lunch and I chose a la carte, my choices hitting two of the signature dishes of the chef as it turned out.

A LARGE wine list – well a book – was presented by Andrew Connor, the new “kiwi” sommelier having started only a few days before in Berlin. What a friendly and service minded person he was. I wish you the best of luck in your new hometown my friend.

Our bread basket selection – one normal – one gluten-free

Again, great to see that everything was taken care of – no room for mis-haps here.

A little greeting from the kitchen Salmon or Salmon trout – damn I forgot.

Secound round of amuses…

All great, the asparagus creme to the left stunning. Amuses 8p

Anguille Fumee et Fois Gras

Simply stunning. The thin layer of smoked eel below the fois gras added so much to the dish. peppery caramelized sugar on top the balance. Wauw. Purety. Class – 10p

Carpaccio of Trout Salmon….

Not too much of a fuss here…simple presentation great taste. 8p

Homard au Piment et coriandre – A lobster extravaganza…

A little side dish to my lobster – to balance the oil of the main dish I think…

As described on the menu, roasted with salt, chili and choriandre – and served with lots of oil, making it a very “southern” dish – and not classic at all. I loved it – a generous whole lobster, which was however a LARGE sample of its kind and almost too big. 8.5p

Cod …

The arrangement of this dish was changed and the couscous replaced with the suggestion of the waiter, rice with herbs. Again not a presentation out of this world but the cod cooked perfectly and the rice with great taste. 8p

A little something to clear the palate…

Funny little thing – something you would never put together yourself I guess, but it worked.

Sweets for my sweet….

Creme Brulee

So my favourite classic dessert on the menu at a two star establishment…the choice was easy. Even though that fun came at 20 eur – which might seemlike  a healthy price for a creme brulee. Well it was perfect thats all I can say. No playing around here with lemon or berries, chocolate or nuts. Just pure pleasure. Made me very happy. 10p

Rhubarb…

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

Ooops…

– and in fact it was the misssus who first mentioned this to me. One can say you got to have balls to present a rhubarb like that. But great dish 9p

Conclusion:

What a nice lunch it was. The staff on their toes at all times. The signed menu delivered to the room, the waiter making sure the following day it was as I wanted it to be. The meal was very different from the two-star dining we experience we had the night before in Falco in Leipzig – but it was not far from it. It was just more classic, but I think that is excactly what they want to be and for us it was great to have just that on this day.

What stood out for me was the classic ambience, the service – food wise the fois gras was out of this world.

We thank you for making our stay in Berlin even more memorable, we felt in good hands at all time, the gluten issue profesionally handled and we would want to be back next week for sure – if only we could.

As for the Bruce show in the evening. Well it was one of my best stadium shows ever. Like Fischers Fritz, Bruce has probably never been better. He blew us away, the mix of songs, the warmth of Bruce, even the sound this time around.

Just like Bruce – Fischers Fritz has to deliver at all times – any time. No space for flaws here. So off course there were none. Congratulations – To Bruce and to Fischers Fritz…

“When morning comes and I’ll leave Berlin
I’ll know for certain I am a free man
When I leave Berlin”

On top of his game – at almost 63 ! 28 songs and a 3 hour show. No break. Try that Justin or Madonna or Gaga – My rating for the concert 20p (20)

*

My rating for this visit: Food 8.5p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), total score for this visit  18.5p (20)

Falco, Leipzig, Germany – 29 May 2012

“Coming home, I’m coming home
Let me show you who I am
Let me show you I’m your man
I would give anything just to see you again”

Falco 1986

*

“Coming home” – to the hometown of the missus – it had been too many years – we finally managed to fit the gastronomic pride of the “new” part of Germany into our schedule. The restaurant is situated on the 27th floor of the old Westin Hotel which of course provides the guests breathtaking views of the city.

“View to a kill”….

The name of the restaurant pays homage to the family of falcons that are nesting on the top of the building every year.

The mother falcon watching her two “babies” that were nesting below where a cage had been build by the staff.

Peter Maria Schnurr holds 2 michelin stars and his style of cooking is not far from the one we know and adore of Christian Bau in Schloss Berg. Its light and modern – sometimes daring combinations and always pretty as it get presentations. Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by the bar keeper of the bar that runs into the restaurant. A glass of Ruinart Blanc des blancs and the  stunning view of Leipzig. I had spotted the “Bible” – entitled Cuisine Passion Legere – on display at the entrance and requested to have a signed copy ready at the end of the meal. The funny thing is, that the cooking is one of the lightest you will find, and the book for sure is one of the heaviest. A monster of a book. I am so looking forward to endulge further into it in the coming months.

First amuse was served with the champagne at the bar.

Round one goes to Falco ..

Beautiful arranged, and the gluten-allergy and vegetarian status of the missus being respected from the first moment always give us a certain amount of confidence 9p

Christian Wilhelm best sommelier of Berlin 2010 showed us our corner table with the same stunning view of Leipzig. He was throughout the evening a perfect host, so was his two female colleagues. Service do not get much better than this.

Bread

Bread at Falco is not your standard basket, but these two on display here. It was combined with two other tastings. However, there was no gluten-free variety but the missus was fairly warned to watch out.

Second amuse…and

Third and last greeting from the kitchen…

Those two rounds of amuses was stunning and especially the last one, with the caviar of salmon trout – to die for. 10p

We had opted for the small menu, which will set you back 144 eur – the larger version comes at 179 eur.

Raw Scallops with rhubarb with a green ice cream of Granny Smith, olives and basil

Loved it. Best scallops in my life I think – or at least way up there with the best. Loved the presentation too. 10p

Lobster with basil, choriandre, mint and apple.

The colour of the green creme AMAZING. 9p

Salmon trout – Omble Chevalier

Great dish, great taste of the fish, slowly cooked, and the presentation again with an eye for detail, both for the eye and mouth 9.5p

A small – clear the palate thing.

I think it was red berries ice – on a coco bisquit. Great plate too.

“Schwarzes Eichel” porc on a paella creme (!)

My choice – Iberico porc – slowly cooked at low temperature I think (which is not my favourite style) – the paella creme on top tasted like paella…great combo. But the weakest dish of the evening 8p

Iceland Kabeljau

This dish was re-aaranged to fit the gluten-free aspect. A large piece of cod – but cooked to perfection – and a great dish but also not as sharp as the starters 8.5p

Luise Volkert proudly presenting the cheeses…

I asked Luise to present the tray as if we would have some, but we opted no up front. Great job. And a great selection and beautiful counter it was. 10p

Pre-dessert….

Strawberry botox

Again a presentation that brought memories from Bau´s kitchen. Great dessert 9p

Another after dessert was served – but the picture I got from that is not good, – instead the crusty lollies will be the last food shot of this evening.

My boy lollipop…

Lovely as the meal and evening.

Conclusion:

I am so happy, and so is the missus – that we finally managed to eat at Falco. It does not get much better than this. The staff, the kitchen, the service level, the views, the ambience. Everything was in balance – and the easy-going ways of the service is just what we like. At the end of the meal Peter Maria Schnurr came to our table and we chatted a good 15 min about the meal and life as such. He proudly showed me what he had written for us.

A happy chef. He has every reason to be just that.

He also invited me to the kitchen to sign a tile on the wall, an honour not many people had been offered, and my signature – Das Bo – with a small thank you – is right there in the midst of these wizzards or just another brick in the wall among “other famous” people. I thank you Peter Maria for that honour, for the time with you – and ALL your staff for a tremendous evening. Be sure to find os back next time we are in town. I shall add a bonus point – because everything on this evening was in balance. And to the pretty brunette waitress that cared so good for us throughout the evening…I am sorry I forgot your name dear.

My rating for this visit: Food 9p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), plus the added bonus point – total score for this visit  20p (20)

Lameloise, Chagny, France – 12 May 2012

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“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
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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.
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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)

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“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
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Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg – 20 January 2012

“Home
Home again
I like to be here
When I can…..”

Time – 1973 – Mason, Wright, Waters and Gilmour

Dining with fellow idealist – “Culinary Suicide” – always means that you have to sharpen your sences and be prepared for good discussions about Luxembourg, The World, Books, Movies – and most importantly Food and Wines. We do not always share the same taste in restaurants or wines, but we do share the passion. Clairefontaine was where we had our first lunch together and it is always good to be “home”.  The smiles and warm greetings of all the staff gets to me everytime. The room makes you feel welcome, warm and well – kinda home. Especially on a cold winter day.

I got to choose the white, with the excact order from CS to find something nice. A Batard Montrachet 2003 did the trick. It was followed by his choice for red Domaine Peyre Rose – Clos des Cistes 2003

This one is for S. Lloyd...

First small taster...

See this is what I mean. This is what I complain about with tasters/amuse elsewhere. Why cant they all be like this and the following. This one was filled with a Choriza mash with langoustine in one third of it. Absolutely lovely taste.

Second round...

Just as lovely, I was busy choosing the wine and did not pay enough attention to the presentation…sorry Didier…. but I am sure it was a shellfish of some kind with a lovely foam to the right and to the left – a piece of deer…Bambi on a mash with a nice reduction and heavy on cinnamon. 6p

The starter was a winter classic of Arnaud´s. Risotto – Arnaud Style – which basically means that its done on Basmati rice – because he prefers that specific perfumed taste in rice – and finished of with whipped creme. In this version you are treated to a truffle explosion – with a smoked bio egg in the middle. It all becomes a delicate and roboust dish which I would LOVE to eat everyday for brunch. Can we arrange that Arnaud ?

Risotto Arnaud Style...all you will ever need.

For me, this is one of my all time favourites and especially the excact cooking of the egg yolk was incredible and the smell and generous portion of truffles to die for. 8.5p

CS opted for the lobster..

Homard Breton röti a beurre....

Now I would have loved this dish. I am sure I will take it the next time. CS found the preparation a bit on the heavy side, he prefers a lighter kitchen these days. I would give it 10 just for the presentation. Actually I think it was presented under a a smoked filled glass lid.

Monkfish slowly cooked in beurre noisette...

My choice, Monkfish (Lotte) with variations of carrot. My first impression was that the fish was too dry…but the Monk fish can have that texture, and cutting the pieces open told me it was cooked just about perfect. A typical Arnaud presentation, generous with 2 pieces, actually 1 would be enough for “little” me. If I have one complain of the dish it would be that the little cup on top of the picture – apart from the wonderful foamy creme-  also had pieces of monk fish in it. I found that overkill, and I would have left those pieces out. 7p

No room for dessert, “Time” had run out….

Sweets...love the posh presentation

My conclusion:

I hate to waste time with food that is not up to par. And therefore Clairefontaine is always a good choice. When Arnaud is good he is among the best. Today there was nothing new under the sun. It was as expected a great meal with generous portions and good wine. Best service in Luxembourg, Great selection of bread repeatedly served througout the meal, good wine list, I love Julien´s (the young sommelier) gentle style . I had barely sat down before he asked me if he could bring a glass of white wine (as usual) as aperitive. No fuss. It can be very easy to please me you know. What I also like about Clairefontaine is the fact that the amuses is almost always done with an idea or at least with great taste. And since this has been a subject in some of my last reviews, I will compliment Arnaud and his team for having meaningfull amuses. Good to see you all again, wishing you a Happy 2012, I guess I will be back a few times. Thanks to CS for your friendship. It is always quality time dining with you.

“When I come home
Cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones
Beside the fire”

Time – 1973 – Mason, Wright, Waters and Gilmour

My rating for this visit:

Food 7.5p (10) service 5p (5) ambience 5p (5), Total Score  17.5p (20)