Falco, Leipzig – 16 August 2013

My friends will know that the last few months brought me many ups and downs. In some cases too many for a lifetime. I think only last month I made the missus a list of my best moments of the last three moments. Only two restaurants made the list of around 30 personal emotional highlights. One restaurant in Weimar, I shall get back to that one later – and our new favourite dining place on this earth – Falco. Having been here only once before, expectations were sky high. Peter Maria Schnurr is the essence of a rock´n´roll chef and what this blog is all about. Enjoy life NOW. Keep on dreaming. Keep a light in your heart and in your  life. Peter just wanna see you smile.

This time at Falco we were spoiled with a stunning menu, outstanding service a funny and entertaining Peter Maria Schnurr and had such a GREAT evening with much needed laugther and extravagance on all levels.

Let me set the scene. We had just had 1 week of holiday, meaning – our beautiful boys spend 1 week with their grandma and grandpa. Leaving us a week to endulge in time. Lots of much needed time. However, it was great to be back in Leipzig to pick them up and to see that they actually missed us. However, this last evening was to be spend without them.

The Boys were back in town.

The Boys were back in town.

Or more precisely we were back in town to pick them up. We enjoyed the day with a walk around Leipzig and a trip to the huge Völkerschlachtdenkmal.

Impressive with lots of steps inside to be conquered.

Impressive with lots of steps inside to be conquered.

Back to Falco…

And the stunning view from Falco over Leipzig.

And the stunning view from Falco over Leipzig.

Inside the restaurant we were greeted as old friends by maitre Oliver Kraft, and sommelier Christian Wilhelm. Together with the rest of the staff they are as good as it gets. And make sure all dishes are explained, questions are being answered and chit chat delivered in a balanced and nice way. And on a pleasant down-to-earth way that we prefer. Rock´n´roll.

Its been a while since the dinner took place and some details has slipped my mind since. Some plates were very very hard to shoot, since the glazing of some newly purchased and very exclusive plates did not work well with my camera.

But I shall give you some highlights.

The ever so light and passionate kitchen of Peter Maria Schnurr

The ever so light and passionate kitchen of Peter Maria Schnurr

The menu for the missus was prepared and printed with focus on the gluten issue etc.

Great bread....

Great bread….

One of the best looking and tasting amuses EVER

One of the best looking and tasting amuses EVER !

Amuse

Amuse 2

Amuse 2

Amuse 3

Astrid had this without the lardon, and let me just say, the lardon carried the dish.

Amuse 3 - a masterpiece

Amuse 4 – a masterpiece

All four amuses outstanding, the little funny looking thing here above, was tuna with a GREAT combination of tastes. Explosion of simplicity and good taste. 10p for the amuses

And then the sun went down and the moon came up.

And then the sun went down and the moon came up.

Corréze veal, tartare and sweetbread

Corréze veal, tartare and sweetbread

Great presentation, simplicity and respect for the tastes with no disturbing elements but also no kick factor. 9p

A beauty for the missus

A beauty for the missus

A little bit of everything – Miso coconut hummus, H2O melon, truffels and what do I know. Great 10p

Crab !!!

Crab !!!

No, no crab, but crab. GREAT dish. 10p

Walking mountain Trout

Walking mountain Trout

I do not like the plate. And it was almost impossible to shoot. The white glazing that looks likes a sauce disturbs the picture. They were very proud of these one of a kind plates. But – what they should be proud of was the delicate trout and the stunning dish. I think it was the best dish the missus has had this year. She was VERY impressed. 10p

Leipzig by night...

Leipzig by night…

Porc

Porc

I can say many things about this dish. But if the missus might have had her dream of a dish. Well so did I. Best meat ever. Reminded me of the first time I had lamb at Lameloise. It melted on your tongue. It was stunning and worth a trip to Leipzig alone. I love you Peter Maria Schnurr or whoever did this. 10p is an understatement. You had to be there to understand.

A few other dishes hit the table during the dinner, but I am not happy with the photos. The quality of the dishes were equal to what is shown here anyway. Off to the sweets.

A game of petanque maybe ?

A game of petanque maybe ?

Eatable of course. Including the “sand”.

What followed this time around at Falco was simply the funniest but also great and good working desserts we have ever had. The Petanque above was just a small warm up.

Jamaica with Jamaica rhytms...

Jamaica with Jamaica rhytms…

I got to taste this as well and my own set of mp3 player etc. A friend of Peter – Matthias Tanzmann had created/chosen the funky music to go with the next two couple of desserts for the missus. It was not rock´n´roll…but wauw, what a great way of being innovative, and surprice your guests. We loved it. The rhum, mango and coconut did the rest.

Round two of that Coconut Groove

Round two of that Coconut Groove

Applause, 10p for the two.

My dessert, with a rubbish photo was the only flaw of the evening. I did not care too much about it, was happy to have tried Astrid´s 🙂 Inside my dessert was as I have seen before baby sweet corn. I do not get or like that lol.

Anyway, last off was another stunner

Hehehe....

Hehehe….

A refreshing, tonic creation to finish of a great menu. Funny thing is – they cannot get the Sweppes Tonic cans in Leipzig so they had to go for a Fanta cans.  We salute you for this dish and promise to ship some tonic cans this week – deal ? Great finish 10p

I think a few more sweets hit the table, but we were too full to bother and maybe even rerejected lol.

My conclusion and rating for this visit.

I shall make this one short and simple. Peter Maria Schnurr, Oliver Kraft, Christian Wilhem, Kathleen and all the staff provides all we want in a restaurant. It is just so unbelieveable good and surpricing. This time around we felt like old friends coming back. It was like hitting harbour after a deadly storm. We felt warm and cozy and were spoiled with attention and outstanding food. There is no way that this evening was not one of the best we have ever had in a restaurant. It was out of this world. We thank you from the botttom of our hearts for making this one a night to remember.

So what you expect folks. . TOP score on all levels. 20/20 Points.

I shall finish with some shots from after service. Last time I got to write on a tile in the kitchen. This time we had an upgrade and were allowed to write in the entrance hall. On the wall. We wrote in Danish. We love you Peter Maria Schnurr…..rock on.

Peter and the missus !

Peter and the missus !

After dinner talk....

After dinner talk….

My tile from last year..

My tile from last year..

Big smiles...

Big smiles…

I shall finish this overdue review with a little reflection.

You guys out there. Including the whole staff at Falco. Keep on dreaming. Open up your heart. Keep a light burning. Then everything will turn out well.

To all at Falco, we love you.

To Astrid, I love you and thank you for the many outstanding moments we shared so far. I hope for many more to come.

To my boys, it was great to have a week without you, it is even better to have you back. You light up our lives.

Now give this song your attention for the next 5 min or so. This ones for you loved ones…

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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.

.

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

.

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…

.

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

Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg – 31 july 2012

“School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces”
Alice Cooper 1972

Even though the termometer reads 19 degrees, its high summer at this point and the boys have started their summer vacation. So I decided to continue the tradition I started last year. Going with them to my favourite terrasse in town for a boys lunch , even though – to our disappointment the dining was going to commence inside this year. Not a surprice since the weather is really tricky this year. Nevertheless, the sun came out and people arriving an hour later were blessed with both sun and al fresco dining.

Big boys….they really are growing so fast.

We were joined by Angel, the big boy of Chef Arnaud and host Edwige. A big boy himself now at 12. Nice to have some grown up chat at the table. Thanks for your company Angel.

I forgot my camera, so I apologize to you readers and to Arnaud if the photos are not quite up to par. Two rounds of (very nice) amuses – which were both tried and almost liked by the boys 😉 –  were followed by my starter:

Variations of tomato

A summer dish, typical for the style of Arnaud, and it was very nice if not out of this world. The crunchy bisquit was a great combo to the delicate tomatoes. A decent starter where the southern or even Italian  influences were clear with pesto and mozzarella etc. 7.5p

Cheeks of veal, macaroni stuffed with tender small pieces of veal shoulder or leg. Can one call that rilette of veal ?

Great dish, the meat so tender, the reduction VERY tasteful, the different preparations of carrot fitting. Really up there among the top for such a simple dish 8.5p

The menu was followed by the usual sweets and 90 min had gone, the boys, mostly due to Angel, had behaved fantastic, even though I forgot the entertainment in the car.

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Emil and Oscar both had veal on basmati rice with vegetables and as soon as the green leaf on top was removed they loved it…

“Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes”
Alice Cooper 1972

Well we had class today. And so did the menu and wines. The wines today were chosen – and served blind as I like it – 2 white chardonnays were followed by a beautiful red. To get such a great taste from a simple appellation. Well chosen dear Julien

Nice drop.

Conclusion:

I hope dear boys we can re-do this traditon every year for many years to come. It was good practicing for the upcoming lunch at Lameloise. And you did well, if not perfect. The food was in good Clairefontaine style. I do think that meat cooking is one of Arnauds strongest sides and the veal today was no exception.

As most times we were today given the seperate salon, which allows the boys to fool around a bit. Didier was his usual charming self, playing with the boys. The staff on their toes and nothing really to complain about. Was the food out of this world ? No. but it didnt need to be. After all it was just “family guy” establishing a little bit of summer tradition and – “an education” for two aspiring gourmets. And they tried both amuses today, and the first one even without any kind of pressure. Well done my boys. You make it all worthwhile. Restaurant Clairefontaine is still holding on strong to its position as the best (terrasse!) dining in town – and among the best anyway. Thanks for having us.

My rating for this visit;

Food 8p (10) service 5p (5) ambience 5p (5),  Total Score  18p (20)

My favourite restaurants 2011 !

And the FWRR awards 2011  goes to….

The below list is most likely also my all-time favourite list. But I will update the list next year and see if there are movements. Most of the restaurants on the list all gave me some memorable lunches or dinners in 2011. Some are still so present in my memory from earlier vistis that I cannot disregard them. So if I had 10 restaurants to re-visit on this planet, this would be my choices today.

1. Schloss Berg, Nennig. Bau continue to improve his cooking to perfection. I like everything about this place, the ambience, the service – the food and wines top notch.

1 - Schloss Berg - The Champion

2. Sölleröd Kro, Copenhagen Now had this pearl been in France it would be a 3 star michelin – but as it is – its in Denmark and thus “only” have 1. Jan Restorff is the best maitre in the world.

2 -Sölleröd Kro - runner up

3. Lameloise, Chagny Frederic Lamy and his team in the service makes sure the perfect food from the kitchen is delivered and presentated to perfection.

3 - Lameloise

4. Le Cinq, Paris. Not visited this year, but I cannot and will not leave it out of my list. Its simply too good. Maybe in 2012. One can always dream. 2 star michelin rating. No food photo – but a photo I never get tired of. Oscar and the missus meeting Bruce Springsteen, just outside Le Cinq.

4. Le Cinq - well actually Bruce Springsteen meets Oscar...

5. Restaurant Babette, Vordingborg – Henrik and Brian in the front and Vivi and her team in the kitchen make sure your dining experience is close to perfect. Being in rural Denmark, 1 hour from Copenhagen i.e. it has no michelin star rating but I am sure it would have at least 1 in France.

5 -Restaurant Babette

A shared 5th place go to

5. Der Butt, Warnemünde. 1 Star michelin rating. Tillman Hahn in the kitchen and all is well in the world. The dinner we had here last summer was outstanding, and even better than the years before.

5 -Der Butt

7. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg. When Arnaud Magnier is good, he is really good. He is for sure the best chef in Luxembourg, and he often surprices you with combinations or presentations you would never dream of – but afterwards you will. Take a look at the the Cordon Bleu Revisited below and you will know what I mean. 1 star michelin rating.

7 - Restaurant Clairefontaine

8. Restaurant Rosin, Wulfen. Visiting Frank Rosin in his newly awarded 2 star michelin restaurant was something else than expected. Very down to earth cooking. Beautiful settings, and a wine list among the best I have seen in Germany.

8 - Restaurant Rosin

9. Bouquet Garni, Luxembourg. Thierry Duhr is among the best chefs in Luxembourg, and this adress is probably the most romantic gastronomic restaurant with its stone walls, and open fire in the evening. 1 star michelin rating.

9 - Bouquet Garni

10. Hotel Marbella Club, Marbella. For sure worth a visit. Javier Doncel, or the other waiters will treat you as a king, And you will be stunned by the quality of the food and surroundings. No michelin rating.

10 - Marbella Club Hotel, The Beach Club Restaurant

Enough gastronomy….

I shall finish the list of with some Brasserie style restaurants – but they all managed to impress me – some of them once some of them repeatedly..

1. Bullerei, Hamburg. Tim Mälzer and or his team, produces simple food, but with an outstanding price/quality, super friendly staff and an ambience I simply fell for. A surprice on the list, but the evening I spend there was really something. No michelin rating.

        1 – Bullerei – perfect beef

2. L´annexe, Luxembourg. Award winning in two categories, Jerome with J.P., Sebastien and Christophe in the front and “Miche” and his team in the kitchen provide you with super Brasserie food and you always feel welcome no matter how crowded the place is. And believe me, it can get very crowded. No michelin rating.

                       2 – L´Annexe

3. Ill Riccio, Luxembourg. Tano and Tina holds this restaurant in firm hands. Luca is slowly taking over the responsibilities, and he is everything you could wish for in a host. Its a TINY restaurant with a large menu, good wine list. The kitchen is very flexible and will cook just about anything you ask for. Easily my favourite Italian restaurant. No michelin rating.

3 - Ill Riccio

I am thankful forall the good friends that shared the moments with me along the way in 2011. Rock on….

Gut Lärchenhof, Düsseldorf, – 18 June 2011

I got to choose this one – going together with good friend Jerome and his friend Jean-Jaques to the highly acclaimed Roger Waters performance of The Wall in Düsseldorf in the evening – we needed a good lunch to fill our tummys and free our minds. By coincidence, the menu had the same colours as most of the stage and scenery art work later had at the show. Red, black and white. The Chef Bernd Stollenwerk holds 1 michelin star and 18p Gault Millau.

The menu

The great building and a touch of blue sky on a rainy day

Located at a golf club, the beautiful building contains the club house, golf shop, and the restaurant – divided by some plants and boxes – in a brasserie and the 1 michelin starred part we opted for. Two lunch menues comes at 65 eur and 115 eur. The a la carte menu is very limited, but I am sure you can choose from the two menues.  The wine list is among the biggest I have ever seen outside France and apart from a huge number of German and French wines, it has the biggest selection of Italian and Spanish wine I have ever seen. All in all there is around 3000 numbers (!) , and having a sommelier dining with us, made the choosing  a tough job. As it turned out I chose the first and third wine, Jerome the second and 4th wine.

Jerome doing what he does best, choosing a wine.

The sommelier quickly understood that there were professionals at play, and participated in both presenting all the wines blind, and in the discussion at the table. He was a truly passionate person, with a great knowledge – (and French speaking to the delight of my two companions). His second in command – a young waiter also very friendly, correct and easy-going.

The beautiful – (open ceiling up to the roof ) – room with the view to tee-off and a putting green, fountain etc. was somewhat disturbed by the horrible carpet and the descision to incorporate both Brasserie and Gastronomic restaurant in one room.

Outdoor terrasse for warmer days...almost on the green.

We ordered the small menu and the following wines…while sharing a chilled Budjweiser – the original European one.

A nice drop - 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Pfalz.

Jerome guessed this one, stating a young Sauvignon Blanc from outside France. A bit too rich to be French according to him. I loved it.

The amuse - tasteful

I will rather have something small and interesting than two or three rounds of nothing. This was acceptable, small – but especially the wasabi ice very nice. 6p

Tartare of Beef with a crispy pepper roll and raspberry.

Best dish of the day. Only complaint was that the pepper roll tasted of sugar and not pepper. The raspberry/raspberry vinegar being the PERFECT companion to the delicate meat. But since the pepper roll did not really bring any spicyness to the dish, the dish lacked pepper or a kick. But still we were all very impressed. Beautiful presentation too. 8.5p.

Second wine - a 2006 Riesingfrom Schäfer-Fröhlich, Nahe

The sommelier chose this one according to the instructions of Jerome who wanted a dry Riesling with some age, but still with an edge and some minerality. And Jerome was happy. It was excactly what he wanted.

This is how Jerome looks when he likes a wine...

Dorade from Brittany, with a Aioli Ravioli and an eggplant creme.

The highligt of the dish being the ravioli (mentioned as a raviolo on the menu, maybe there is something I am not aware of ?). The fish perfectly cooked and the sauce a tad boring. 7p

My choice for red....what a drop.

Jerome guessing party right partly wrong. Nevertheless he guessed a great Bordeaux, – and it was a great Italian on Bordeaux grapes. I have a long story with this wine, by now it had topped and was starting too lose the tannins and fruit. But what a full-bodied, smooth and delicate wine it was.

Slowly cooked breast of veal with leek and "Pfifferlinge".

The weakest dish of the day. The meat having being cooked I think for 48 hours at whatever. No taste whatsoever, and the meat not as delicate tender as you could have imagined and hoped for. As you will know by now I am not always a big fan of slowly cooked meat  – but especially this cut is normally born to be cooked that way. But something went wrong. Maybe the temperature was too low ? My best guess. 5p

The dessert from the menu was swapped to a cheese plate without a fuss...

Great, great selection of cheese, really, selected by the waiter, – all tasty and wonderful. 2 different kinds of bread was offered, 1 serial and 1 with added dried abricots etc. 9.5p

Conclusion:

We all agreed what made the menu and the visit worthwhile – there was no doubt. The starter and the cheese. The top service. Very friendly and very correct. At all times we had water, wine etc. Wines were discussed, opinions presented etc. Throughout the meal a selection of bread was offered repeatedly. We did experience a little too long waiting period after the main dish.

Flaws, few in the dishes. I rate the food to be in almost the same league as Babette in Denmark or Der Butt in Warnemünde. The latter two slightly ahead on the food and Gut Lärchenhof miles in front on the wine selection. So I shall add a bonus point for one of the best wine selections I have ever seen outside France. In fact two more wines landed on the table. Choices of Jerome. The first one was totally gone, nothing more left of anything, a 1997 wine from Languedoc (I think) which Jerome adores and knows very well. One can argue that we ordered the wine and there was no apparent flaw – but maybe the restaurant should have recognized that this kind of wine, which was clearly over the top some years ago, should not even be on the wine list. The sommelier agreed to the surprice short-comings of the wine. But did nothing in regard to removing it from the bill or what would have been correct reducing the price of it to real cost price. I would have done that.


My rating for this visit:  Food 7p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 3 (5), total score for this visit  14.5p (20) plus the added bonus point 15.5p (20)

Restaurant Vendome, Schloss Bensberg, Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany – October 2010

 

The impressive 5 star Hotel Schloss Bensberg

 

This is the view that greets you – when you drive up the hill to the beautiful 5 star hotel, Schloss Bensberg. Looking down the hill you can see the skyline of Cologne, a good 20 kilometers away.

The service is as you would expect in a 5 star hotel, the entrance impressive. The hotel holds some 125 rooms, spa facilities – and several bars and restaurants among others the reason for my visit – Restaurant Vendome – 3 star michelin 19,5 point Gault Millau – and is voted top restaurant in Germany by the magazine Feinschmecker and number 22 on the “The worlds best 50 restaurants” by San Pellegrino – you know the one that now holds Noma at number 1.

The rooms are very nice and modern, even the standard rooms a good 35 sqm. I booked via http://www.hrs.de and thus had the breakfast included, which would have come at 28 eur, including all the standard choices of a great breakfast buffet plus individually prepared egg dishes.

 

The fountain in front of the hotel, looking down towards the gate.

 

 

One of the corners of the big square, October showing its pretty face

 

I shall not give each dish a rating this time….there were simply too many and too many details to even try to remember. But the room is quiet and beautiful. Good distance between the tables – maximum capacity around 40 people. The restaurant was only a third full this evening (!). My friend and I opted for the big Discovery Menu (they come in 3 sizes) – which includes some 20 dishes plus amuses and chocolates.

This single rose made out for the deco on the table, with the menu for the evening presented, it put the bar high for a great evening. To drink we chose a German Mosel Riesling, A German Pinot Noir from Franken – Fürst (The best according to the sommelier who changed my choice – nicely)…and a red Vieux Telegraph. All wines being stunning and taken from a HUGE list (book) of possibilities.

 

Beauty simplified

 

 

Greetings from the kitchen

 

These amuses were great, a pure 10p and not too big or many. The eel just exploded in the mouth. The bar was still high and later we both agreed that this was actually one of the highlights of the evening. Bread was offered from a large tray throughout the meal, very good quality.

 

Deciduous Forest - Vegetable brittle, Joghurt - Dips

 

I have used the English translations as offered on the Menu, the german saying “Blätterwald”…A funny starter and not more than that. You could taste the idea, each leave having a different “taste/origen” and the corresponding cheese/joghurt dip all different and all matching.

 

Goose Liver - grilled Amond Milk Cream, Chantarelles

 

Again the number of details on the plate was enormous…beautiful dish, and very very tasteful. My friend noted a little bitterness towards the end in your palette, something I have tried before with Fois Gras, but whether its intentional or not I cannot say. This came with a piece of roasted Brioche (as it should)…10p in my book.

 

Sweet Water - Bodensee Cisco, Chicken Broth

 

This dish as many of the following dishes was served with two sauces poured on the dish at the table, one being the “chicken broth” and the other olive oil (I Think)..Now this might be a good idea for one dish, but when you have seen it 5-6 times in the same menu, you wonder why this is not done in the kitchen….but maybe the sauces stays warmer like this, I mean apart from the show effect there must be a reason….coming to think of it, it could also be to give the guest a glimpse of the dish in two ways. If you read this Mr. Joachim Wissler feel free to come with your input.

 

Wild Salmon - smoked votive

 

Again, my memory and poor English does not make it possible for me to remember all the details on the plate, but the savage salmon was cooked perfectly. This is the way all Salmon should be cooked and taste.

 

Mackerel - Calfs Head, Green Tomato Gazpacho

 

A beautiful dish, the mackerel being such an overlooked fish. One of my favourite dishes of the evening.

 

Crabs . Sweetheart Cabbage, Bouchot Mussels Jus

 

And this was in fact my favourite dish. The jus being just perfect with a slight note of Safran which I love….I could eat this dish every day for the rest of my life and not grow tired of it. After this dish we got a glass of “Country Egg”, matched with browned butter and white truffles from Alba. A heavy autumm dish, very tasty, perhaps too powerful with the egg yolk, but I liked it. Unfortunately no picture of that dish.

 

Frog Legs - Coriander Peas, Black Garlic

 

First time I have eaten frog legs in a long time. It will never be a favourite, but mainly thats a thing in my head. The details on the dish…outstanding. It would take me a month or two to prepare a single plate like that.

 

Sour cucumber - Pumpernickel

 

The ice being outstanding, the cucumber slices topped with a bitter foam. Meant as a refreshment, it was not the strongest dish of the evening.

 

Suckling Pig - Lentils, Lovage, Black Pudding

 

This dish was another highlight for me personally, my friend found it a bit “too easy”, but having most of the dishes somehow influenced by the moleculary kitchen, I particularly  enjoyed this bit more basic serving. Basic….well look at the details on the small “tower” in the upper left corner ! The meat melted on your tongue. But our stomachs were starting to fill up……

 

Back of Deer - Olive Cracknel, Pistacio Cream

 

Perfectly cooked, back of deer was actually accompanied by the filet and a small piece of the shoulder(?) All tasteful in their way, all perfectly cooked.

 

Goat Cheese - Mountain Hay, Summer Truffle

 

A funny combo, Goat cheese and truffle, I think it worked. An explosion in your mouth. But my dinner partner found the goat cheese a bit too dominant.

 

Buttermilk Cloud - Verveine, Floral sweet sour

 

The best of the desserts, small beautiful taste….and also…at this point we were full full full.

 

Cereal - Field

 

Look at the the details on that plate.  Stunning. The taste…..I do not recall…my full stomach using the energy I needed in my brains. The following forest walk worked better for me…

 

A Walk Through The Forest - In late summer

 

 

White Peach - Champagne Lemonade, Marcipan, Ice Mountain

 

 

Herbage - Garden Frozen

 

And this one I gave up on after having tried a bit of it. My body could simply not cope with more food (well except for the couple of sweets that followed…).

 

Some sweets to finish a great meal....

 

 

followed by a "small" selection of chocolates...

 

Conclusion

Throughout the meal we were greatly entertained by the young staff who were all down too earth, which I love. Miguel Angel was a perfect Maitre and very talkative towards the end of the meal. We had a good discussion about good restaurants around the world. He had among others visited El Bulli a good 14 times..or was it 15 (!). The young sommelier came with good advice and I thank him for that.

You cannot really compare the restaurants at this level – nor say that one is better than the other. You can only say, that the details on the plates, the numbers of tastes on just one plate is out of this world and maybe even some times too much for your brains to understand and digest. I raise my glass to any chef/team who can do this night after night at such a high level, and I salute Joachim Wissler for having such a high level and such a great team, both in the back but also in the service. It does not get any better. I have been disappointed in 2 or 3 star restaurants before, but after this meal there was no such sign of that. Only complaint is that two big guys, did not manage to complete the menu before giving up mentally. It was simply too much. And therefore my comments and the last desserts is also so sparse.

My rating for the this restaurant visit:

Ambience 5p (5) Service 5p (5) Food/Wine 9,5p (10) : Score 19,5 p out of 20.

But my above almost top rating is influenced by the fact that I did not understand all the dishes and that maybe sometimes there was too many directions for an amateur like me on the plate to fully comprehend or fully appreciate. But it is also positively effected by the details and pure beauty off nearly all the dishes. I do not think I have ever seen more details in “one single” menu. Thanks for having us Joachim Wissler. We had a great evening, and hope to be back some other time.

Yachtresidenz Hohe Düne, Warnemünde-Rostock, Germany – August 2010

We booked this hotel/resort first time in 2009 and was happy to return for a few nights this year.

Hohe Düne greeting us Hello !

Yachtresidenz Hohe Düne is situated ever so beautifully at waterfront, that means most rooms have full harbour or ocean view. You need to take a 2 minute boat ride to get to the “Hohe Düne” or to get back to the shopping street, or small cosy streets of Warnemünde, or the most STUNNING sand beach. The staff at the hotel, from the reception manager to the cleaning lady are ALL instructed to greet you in the most friendly way. They are really good. This comes over very very honest and extremely friendly. And the only other hotels I have tried this level is Hyatt, Perth, Hyatt Sydney and off course….George V. in Paris.

Inside the resort, yacht harbour side..

Sun going down....lovely colours

same...

Within the resort you have anything you could wish for. The Yachtresidenz consist of a 5 star hotel, with full pool, spa and massage facilities. You can dine in a 1 star michelin restaurant “Der Butt” where Tillmann Hahn spoils his guests, a fish restaurant, a steak house, an Italian one and a Brasserie. Add 3 bars and throw in some some fashion, maritime, sovenir shops. But here comes the real bonus for stressed out parents….With the stay you automatically are free to make use of the day-care for your children aged between 3 and 16. You merely pay a small fee for drinks and lunch. You may drop them off after 10.00 and can pick them up again until 19. The programme is full with treasure hunt, swimming, afternoon rest with dvd, games, a jumping around area etc. etc. etc.  This has to be seen and experienced.

So while your children are being spoiled with entertainment you may sit on your balcony, watch the boats sailing by, shop around inside the resort, or take the boat for a fabulous trip “to the other side”. Did I mention all the restaurants inside Warnemünde? Offering a large selection of fresh fish, wine and beer. And ladies…. one shoe shop after the other.

View from the balcony at "Der alten Strohm"

and to the other side, the inside yacht harbour

- sunset

The bars are so good you just wanna stay there and drink your life away. A vast numbers of whisky, cocktails, gins, champagne etc. etc etc. A small menu for afternoon teas with fingerfood or a children´s menu is offered.

The "Kamin" bar

with light dinner, fab REAL Cod fish sticks

*

Let me give you a run-down of our experience this time.

When checking in we learned that our 38 sqmroom was in fact at the end of one of the buildings and in compare to our first visit, our harbour view partly obstructed by a huge tower. I went to the reception and without to much off a fuss I was shown to another room (an upgrade even) and asked if that would do. Thats how it should be. Easy handling of a potential big issue for a tired guest. The rooms are decorated in a maritime way, with minibar, library, working desk, flat screen tv and offers free wireless internet.

The boys off to the entertainment we had time to unpack and settle in with a drink or two.

First night we dined at the fish restaurant, and had very nice starters, and acceptable mains, a beautiful wine. The service very friendly, by inquiring about the food I offered the following information to the manager. My main dish “A mixed plate of grilled fish” was boring and not up to par considering the fact that this is a Fish restaurant. The grilled mixed Mediterranean vegetables almost uneatable. He offered a little something before I finished my lecture, making it obvious he had had criticism before. It was not my issue I told him. I think the correct thing would have been to take them away from the bill (3,50 eur) – would have made me more happy than the schnaps he brought. He did however, come back with a few remarks about them, having investigated in the kitchen what went wrong. I know what went wrong, the eggplants (80% of the side dish) were not grilled, they were soaked beyond there limits witholive oil and/ or water and simply not eatable. So we left, full, but not as happy as the year before where the fish had been outstanding.

As for the breakfast the following day….I have stayed in many hotels at all levels….I have never ever experienced a breakfast buffet so full of everything, fruits, mueslis, danish pastry, rolls, bread, 10 different salamies, ham in any fashin, 5 different herings, 20 different cheeses, etc. etc. etc. A chef ready to cook any kind of egg dish to your liking…..mushroom, ham or cheese omelette, you name it. Add “Champagne”, juice etc. and you dont really need to think about lunch.

We then spend the day shopping at the other side “Jack Wolfskin” had a nice pair of shorts for me on sale and Bugatti a nice jumper (not on sale).

Afternoon in the bar, freshening up – and then

Dinner at the 1 Michelin star awarded restaurant “Der Butt”.

Entrance to "Der Butt"

Before your meal arrives you are presented with different kinds of bread which is then cut for you, 3 different kinds of olive oil, from mild to strong and a very funny salt tasting, Around 12 different kinds of salts are presented and you choose what you like, Australian, volcano, fleur de sel, fleur de sell with different kind of added taste (cranberry ?) etc. etc. etc. We each chose 3.

Then 3 diffent servings of greetings from the kitchen, the first round being brilliant, the second and third average good but not convincing.

A great Meursault was chosen, decanted and a nice companion throughout the meal.

The dinner was worth its star, nothing much to complain about. The missus had “Yellowtail Kingfish Sashimi” – then “Variation of Artichokes” – “Lobster Bisque with green mango” and “Chocolate Gateau with savage berries”. That went from 10p for the Tuna to 6p for the chocolate gateau – but a good 8-8,5p (10) in average. I had Variation of “Foie Gras with apple, ginger and choriandre” “Crispy chicken pieces with an emulsion of bio egg and black truffles” – Variation of veal with mediterranean vegetables and olive sauce” and a very nice selection of cheeses which I chose from a trolley. Starter, main dish and cheese right there on top and the second dish far from it. But again a good 8,5 (10) average. A small note…the requested glass of white wine to go with my cheese plate was poured before I had chosen my cheeses. I would have done it the other way around. Anyway the wine went fine with half of the cheeses and I guess thats all you could have hoped for anyway.

With 4 different seasonal menus – you may swap around as you like between – a classique one, a Mediterranean one, an exotique one as well as an vegetarian Jardiniere one you are destined to find just the perfect menu between 89 and 115 euro. Its a small restaurant with only 30 chairs so reserving a table is essential. After the meal Tillmann Hahn was kind enough to sign a menu card for us upon my request as well as providing me with the recipe for the chili granite that accompanied the sashimi. I have to try to reproduce it. It was fabulous.

Some great dishes, good smiling and attentive staff, minor flaws – so Mr. Tillmann Hahn, expect to see us next year.

My rating for this visit: Ambience 3,5 (5) Service 4 (5) Food/Wine 8,5 (10) : Score 16 out of 20.

Some more photos to put you in the mood for my conclusion:

London Blue Gin

what can I say to the stay – well we prolongated our stay with one day. The prospect of another relaxing day just being too much of a temptation. As Oscar put it when we arrived. “Mommy and Daddy, the next two days I have some free time” – free from us and thus free to do what he wanted. He is 5,5 mind you.

Last day, we had an average lunch at the Brasserie, again, great wine and service. We later had a less than perfect dinner in the steak-house, good salad, wrongly cooked meat (which was exchanged quickly), boring crisp (!!!) potato skins which were not taken from the bill, but again a drink was offered as compensation (!). I think next year we will dine only at Der Butt and then on the other side – in town.

Anyway my conclusion to “Yachthafenresidenz Hohe Düne” is:

Hotel: You get outstanding quality of service, great rooms, great views, stunning breakfast. Spa, massage and pool facilities top of the range.

Food: Where the concept is easy and well defined – 5 different theme restaurants, 1 gastronomic…its easy to see where the individual restaurants have room for improvement. The only restaurant to fully live up to expectations would be “Der Butt”. Its semilar in style to the food you get at for example Babette in Denmark. Good produce and good ideas. However, – Der Butt have a much larger selection of food to choose from. The quality of the childrens food is actually flawless throughout the resort. REAL Fish in the fish sticks, great pasta etc.

Bars: All you could wish for. Maybe a larger selection of beer, but I guess its not really what they want to sell.

Shops: Well, its nice to stroll around, but the great attraction is Warnemünde across the “Strom”. Here you will find anything you need.

Warnemünde: Great little city, restaurants and shops to kill a day or three. Lighthouse, world class beach.

My conclusion is – for a family who needs a little break, this is the perfect hide-away. We are coming back as long as we can afford it. And we are looking forward to 2011 already. Try it out, book ahead and you get a 20% discount.