The best dishes of 2013 – “The Directors cut”

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

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

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

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

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

Here you go…

10. Gaumenschmaus, Potsdam, Germany

10. Gaumenschmaus, Potsdam, Germany

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

9. The Pickled Piglet, Birmingham, England

9. The Pickled Piglet, Birmingham, England

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

8. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

8. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

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

7. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

7. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

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

6. Lameloise, Chagny, France

6. Lameloise, Chagny, France

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

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany

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

4. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

4. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

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

3. Le Cinq, Paris

3. Le Cinq, Paris

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

2. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

2. Falco, Leipzig, Germany

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

1. Greenhouse, Mayfair, London

1. Greenhouse, Mayfair, London

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

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

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

Emil at the Greenhouse after a long London day.

Emil at the Greenhouse after a long London day.

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

I am the Walrus...

I am the Walrus…

Knive and fork is a Man´s Job

Knive and fork is a Man´s Job

Chocolate cake is never wrong :-)

Chocolate cake is never wrong 🙂

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

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

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 31 May 2013

“Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime

I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life”

Coming Back to life – David Gilmour 1993

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Coming back to Schloss Berg is ALWAYS a pleasure. A pleasure because you know what to expect. Outstanding food, – a momentary lapse of time. I was so excited to go here with Gijs a while ago. Unfortunately a flu stopped Gijs from participating. So much more was the excitement of finally being able to show him my favourite restaurant in this world. Gijs like classic food. Classic French, given the choice, but classic as such, being a classic German Sauerkraut, or an Italian dish. As you will know by now Gijs knows his trade. He is a fab amateur chef, with a basic knowledge of food I could only dream to have. In a kitchen we each work differently, but in a restaurant – after 18 months of friendship and many good dinners behind us – we know excactly what the dining partner will highligt, like…not like.

So when this is said – Schloss Berg and Christian Bau is pretty pretty far from classic – but what I knew Gijs would enjoy was the explosion of tastes and respect for the produce Bau most certainly has.

But but but…having wrote so many times about this little “Pearl” in Nennig 😉 – I will highlight something else today. I have also mentioned this before – but it becomes more and more evident. Bau has the best f…….. sommelier I have ever met in my life. There might be better ones around – but I have never met them. The ones that comes close would be the ones from my dinners in Le Cinq.

Daniel Kiowski, – you are a dream of a sommelier and yet you are still so young. It is not only your knowledge and choice of wines that impresses me, but the way you treat your customers with such confidence and laid back charm. You are a monument, and that at the age of 26….(I think).  That calls for a Carlsberg. I mean – I have NEVER seen anything like it. You are at peace. This is your profession and passion for sure.

Gastro, the German equivalent to the Michelin guide says in its 2013 issue something like – “Would we have a price for the best sommelier in Germany, the price would easily go to Daniel Kiowski. Of course it would. Damn you are good Daniel.

This´s ones for you.

King of the world

King of the world

I will of course show you a few shots of the food tonight…but not all – because I decided this post should highlight the wines of Daniel.

1st wine.

1st wine.

This perfect light, crispy Riesling was to accompany our first amuses… here are a few of those…..

Italy revisited...

Italy revisited…

Tuna

Tuna – Germany 10 points.

Bio Egg

Bio Egg

2nd wine

2nd wine

Markus Molitor

Markus Molitor

What a wine – I think Daniel has a weakness for Molitor, and one can understand why.

Japanese Hamachi

Japanese Hamachi

What a dish. The Lightness, the freshness. A pure 10.

With this dish I think we got both the wine above, but also another blinder – and no we could not guess it.

Nanbu Bijin

Nanbu Bijin

One way to describe this wine in 4 words. Go there, try it.

Fois Gras, from Landes

Fois Gras, from Landes

I LOVE fois gras, and  LOVE what Christian Bau do with his Fois Gras dishes. I could eat this every day of the week. To go with it another Riesling- we got that much, but we were far off with the vintage, well Gijs said something like 2007 or 2002, and I said guess older, even before I heard his guess. It was a fresh 1995

2 words. Wauw.

2 words. Wauw.

Turbot...

Turbot…

A simple dish, but nothing is really simple here. Everything in perfect balance, the fish cooked to perfection. But in compare to many of the dishes before a much more classic presentation. And today, inside this menu, I think it was the weakest dish.

Back to life...

Back to life…

And back to Molitor. Let me just say I was far off on this one 😉 Was this wine full-bodied, rich and a feast for your pallette. Hell yeah.

Dear deer...

Dear deer…

An aroma arose from the plate. The reduction done with a twist. Curry. Apart from that, classic German ingredients here, Knödel, cabbage, pear…but with a twist of Asia.

To go with this one…we were both fooled big time, guessing Pinot Noir, I was put back to recent memories where I guessed Bonnes Mares in Lameloise and in the end I was a few miles away, the wine being a Clos de la Roche. Today we were both as it turned out roughly 1000 kilometers away. What struck us most was the freshness of this wine.

Did you like this one Gijs? Hell yeah.

Did you like this one Gijs? Hell yeah.

Gijs claimed afterwards – I will never forget this wine. And I know he won´t. He had never been as surpriced anywhere, anytime, anyhow…;-) He loved it.

Black Forest Cherry

Black Forest Cherry

– and to go with that the final wine of the day – oops…no picture but it was another perfect Riesling, a 1999 Auslese, Von Hövel.

and sweets –

Cheese cake

Cheese cake

Last man standing

Last man standing

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Conclusion:

Of course the judgement of Gijs was more or less decided after the first amuse. This is as good as it gets. The chairs, the ambience, even the new young waiter – when he opened his mouth to present a dish the first time – nothing is left to coincidences here. Everything is in balance, the service the food, the wine. The food – the wine – well of course that is why we are here. And it is – stunning. So, Gijs happy. Me happy. Some dishes always get to you more than others. That was also the case today. But as I said in my long intro. Daniel. Today you outshone it all. You are a fucking rock star. Or you are Picasso. Or Beethoven. You certainly are on the top of your game. I have two words for you. Rock on.

Gijs, I am glad you like Schloss Berg as much as I do. Your opinion is weighting a lot in my book and you know that. And I am glad you now know why the missus and I keep coming back to this one. Even if its not classic 😉

We adored the food, the wine – the service. Thanks for having us. Be sure to find us back. As for Gijs, I know he will pass on my recommendation to his family and friends, and they will all be there at Schloss Berg before you can say Blueberry Pie.

My rating of this visit: Hell yeah….

“I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the waiting had begun
And headed straight..into the shining sun”

Coming Back to life – David Gilmour 1993

Best dishes of 2012 – “The Directors Cut”

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

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

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

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

Here you go…

Marbella Club Hotel

10. Marbella Club Hotel

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

De Leuf, Maastricht

9. De Leuf, Maastricht

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

8. Lameloise, Chagny

8. Lameloise, Chagny

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

7. Schloss Berg

7. Schloss Berg

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

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

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

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

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

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

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

3. Lameloise, Chagny

3. Lameloise, Chagny

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

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

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

IMG_1464-002

1. Falco, Leipzig

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 14th December 2012

“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town”

So Christmas came early this year, both the snow as well as the invite to join two of my best friends for a pre-Christmas lunch at our beloved Schloss Berg. Jörgen had not been here since he celebrated his 50th birthday here a good 4 years ago. And of course the development of Christian Bau has only just begun it seems.

Expectations were sky high and the dull cold weather and the boring Riesling we had in the neighbouring hotel, did not spoil our moods.

The beautiful Schloss Berg

The beautiful Schloss Berg

Schloss Berg had decided to open the doors for Friday lunches during the month of December this year and with a Duck theme to fit the season we were ready to meet Santa. It was good to see Daniel Kiowski – the best sommelier I have ever met, and I met a few – and Steffi, the prettiest waitress in Germany – among others familiar faces.

The two elderly gentlemen awaiting the amuses…

Good friend Jörgen...

Good friend Jörgen…

IMG_3836

and good friend Torben.

What then follows is among the best range of amuses you will ever find in any restaurant. I dare you. I double dare you….”Kulinarische Einstimmungen” for sure.

Tartare...

Tartare…

A classic by now, this time with a creme of smoked eel in the cornet.

Red beet

Red beet

Amazing shrimps

Amazing shrimps

Crab...

Crab…

Green stuff...

Green stuff…

I loved the grilled avocado – this amuse was amazing (if not  overly winterly !)…

The fois gras creme with parmesan...

The fois gras creme with parmesan…

Also a classic with bits of truffels – LOVE IT.

The bread....

The bread….

The crust and quality of this bread is so good…..and also the Foccacia (not on the picture) – one can say that the bread alone is worth a visit….

So, having enjoyed all this – a first moment of being happy and impressed occured. Jörgen with his usual dry humour claimed that until now he had nothing to complain about. It is really amazing, both the number of amuses but also each single one of them are justified and still not taking the focus off the menu. And what I like is that some of these amuses you will be happy to find again on your next visit, and some have been replaced.

So – the menu as such was ready to begin….

Fois Gras from Alsace

Fois Gras from Alsace

The fois gras being matched with raw langoustines, green apple and smoked almonds. A great dish. As good as it gets.

Duck "Bouillon"

Duck “Bouillon”

With a chinese touch, the “Dim Sum” lovely the bouillon of course very tasty and powerful with a hint of asian spices I think.

Black Halibut

Black Halibut

Great dish, nothing to complain about here. The sheer quality of the oyster on top…the citrus and the cauliflower.

Duck Supreme "Mieral"

Duck Supreme “Mieral”

I guess you can tell by looking at the picture that everything on this plate was cooked to perfection.  Top of the pops.

Time for sweets….not that we were hungry at this point…but also not overly full. The lightness of the dishes makes you cope “with all this food”.

Chocolate and Banana

Chocolate and Banana

One of my all time favourites from the kitchen. Their updated Banana split is so so good.

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Sweets two…

This little crunchy thing was a bit like your breakfast serial….Jörgen was really impressed by now. And just when he thought the dinner and the amusement was over, this little devil made him smile just one more time.

Sweets three..

Sweets three..

Sweets four...

Sweets four…

And it was over and out for these fat Danes.

Conclusion:

As you can tell, I was as always, and we were as always, mighty impressed. And it is hard not to be, The wines that Daniel found for us, included a GREAT crispy 2011 Silvaner from Rheinhessen, a 1999 Riesling Auslese from Saar, A 2009 Meursault from Louis Jadot, A 1998 Chateau de Fieuzal, and a Beerenauslese from 2006. His confidence, his style, his calmness. Daniel I love you.

And Christian Bau, once again – we thank you and your team for the outstanding level of the dishes, service and ambience. Nothing is left to coincidence, and nothing can be done better. Duck not being my favourite product, I must say that still you managed to impress me and us. And Jörgen has already asked when we are going back.

Rock on Christian Bau – wishing you and your dear ones and all the team at Schloss Berg a wonderful Christmas, see you in 2013

My rating for this as all other Schloss Berg visit. As good as it gets, like a Christmas evening – top of the pops.

And if you are not in the Christmas mood, then check Bruce out on the link below….

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

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 18 December 2011

“Now the hardness of this world, slowly grinds your dreams away
Making a fool´s joke out of the promises we make

And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades of grey
We lose ourselves in work to do and bills to pay”.

Blood Brothers – Bruce Springsteen

*

Schloss Berg with Christian Bau and his team is our local pride, situated “just across the river on the other side…” – you will know by now that this restaurant is my favourite one. We were invited by best friend Jerome to share a wonderful December Sunday afternoon. The daily routines and stresss has left little space for nursing our friendship with Jerome lately, so a quiet place with the best food and wines in the world seemed like a good spot to be to catch up.

Jerome with the missus and Jochen Hünd in front of Schloss Berg

We always get warmly greeted by all the staff, but Jerome seemed to take some of the focus, since this was his second or third visit within the last months. He loves this place, and I am happy to have introduced him here. We settled for the medium menu, and many good wines landed on our table. I am more and more impressed by the sommelier Daniel Kiowski. He is everything you want in a sommelier. He is dedicated and passionate, relaxed and still with a lot of style. He engages in each and every single wine he serves. The first question he will always ask you whenever a “blind” wine is served is…”Do you like the wine?”. I hope he never leaves Schloss Berg. He is a true gem.

What did we drink this day….I forgot.  But we started with a local Riesling 2004 (?) , and further on a California Chardonnay which was outstanding. A Chassagne-Montrachet 1. cru from Paul Pillot was followed by this pearler..

Lovely - vibrant.Thanks Jerome.

The usual army of amuses came heres a few of those…

Excellent, loved the melon

The duck liver flan with truffles and a foam of parmesan is back on the menu, and its absolutely stunning, but very difficult to get a picture to show – so you just have to imagine the most perfect delicate duck liver flan, topped with truffles amd then a light foam, – the foam is all you see when the dish is presented, so you have to dig in….but no picture this time.

The menu started then with the Asian inspired “sushi” dish…

Hamachi - Bau Style

A scallop never tasted better than this...

Fantastic, simply fantasticly cooked scallop.

Turbot....

Best dish of the day in my book. Perfect turbot, decoration and balance wise this dish just was to die for. Could I have one more please ?

What followed was the Nebraska Beef, 3 standing slim slices with a piece of slowly cooked rib-eye on the side and this was a presentation and taste worth a whole page alone. But I forgot to take a picture…so you will have to go there yourself and check it out 😉

You get a picture of the table deco instead

A rose (for the Nebraska Beef)

Pre-dessert...

The dish was perfect, nuts and apple in different textures….

Dessert

A walk through the forest in the fall…..with a fat truffle on the left…chocolate truffle in this case, but what a taste.

Then came the sweets and the coffee. And what was left was big smile around the table.

My conclusion for this visit:

Its fairly easy, and I shall make it short. So let me just state. This is as good as it gets in my book. Thanks Mrs. Bau, Daniel, Jochen, Jovana, Bastian and all the others on the floor for taking so excellent care of us. And BIG Thanks to Christian Bau, Tristan Brandt,  , Michael Mikolajczak and the rest of the kitchen staff for continue to produce small miracle both on the plates and in our palettes.

Thank you Jerome for your friendship, always…

“But the stars are burning bright, like some mystery uncovered
I´ll keep moving in the dark with you in my heart, my blood brother”

Blood Brothers – Bruce Springsteen

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My rating for this visit:

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

Schloss Berg, Nennig, Germany – 3 September

As good as it gets.

Thank you Yildiz, Christian, Daniel, Jochen and all the rest of the great team that again made our evening special and our lives a little more rich.

Schloss Berg, the entrance.....

Christian Bau – I do not know how you manage to improve the level time after time. Coming back is always fantastic. Food should be fun. It sure was yesterday. Some of the dishes yesterday were not human any more. Must have been made with the help of Merlin or maybe Harry Potter. The details, the combination of every little thing on the plate. Each plate is not a plate in that respect. Its a piece of art. But that only works if the taste can give one what the eye expects. And thats the wonder of your kitchen. Congratulations, I hope to be back soon…next time with my camera.

Words can not describe your cooking, at least not my words, so I shall leave this to Trine, I envy you Trine – you may expect something special, but I guess you know that – Have fun.

– and to my friend Jan. Please come soon – you dont wanna miss this.

My rating for this visit: AS GOOD AS IT GETS !

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

Mosconi, Luxembourg – 14 July 2010

Chef: Ilario Mosconi, Michelin rating: 2 stars, Millaud rating: 17 points. Furthermore Luxembourg guide Explorer voted Mosconi best gastronomy restaurant in the country 2010.

Situated in the picturesque Grund in Luxembourg, the restaurant looks like a little Jewel next to the river. A small terrasse leads you into the beautiful reception area. A lift brings you to the first floor where 2-3 small rooms beatifully decorated with flowers and soft colours awaits you. A small storm had jus hit town, so dining was inside, which I prefer anyway.

The Alzette running through Grund

How a table should always look, white - inviting....

Simonetta Mosconi, the Mrs. is in charge of your well-being and she is also taking your order.

I have not been to this restaurant for a few years due to the previous poor service (understaffed) and relatively high pricing, even for Luxembourg. The food and the ambience was mostly flawless. Little has changed though the service was much better yesterday if not perfect. The prices seems to have taken a step-up even….most starters around 30-40 euro, pasta dishes around 35 eur, and main dishes around 45 eur, desserts all priced at 18 euro. So an a-la-carte menu of 3 dishes will set you back 100 euro. A big wine list with a huge mostly Italian selection.

Soya Ice cream with olive oil and carrots !

The first appetizer (apart from a small bisquit) was the highlight of the evening, what a soft stunning taste 10p

Creme of Spinach

Very nice, strong taste, smooth texture…we were on the way…7,5p

A company of 4 – we all ordered 4 different starters and 4 different mains. My judgement is thus taken from the respective person as well as my opinion of the presentation of the dish inquestion.

Variety of tomatoes

A very well presented dish, another tasting a small iced tomato soup with balsamich vinegarwas added on the side 8p

Fois Gras with creme of haricots blancs and 25 y. balsamico

My choice and a beautiful dish. 9.5p

Pappa al Pomodoro, basically Lobster on tomato

Most expensive starter at 49 eur (!) Are we in Paris ? -Unfortunately a bit unsharp, the shooting. 7p

Ricotta stuffed flowers of Zucchini

Funny presentation, only in “Italy”, the flowers being penetrated by a Zucchini, 6p

Ravioli de Ricotta, with parmesan and butter, classic

Very simple looking – and tasting homemade pasta – 6p

Sole on potatos and vegetables

Flawless,but not exiting. 6p

Porcelet, diferent cuttings.

My dish, good taste, but also not exploding in my mouth. Very pure and simple taste. 7.5p

Spaghetti a la ghitarra - Pasta like at home with tomatos, mozzarella etc.

Lacked taste, spices….one of the weakest dishes of the day 4p

Predessert, creme with Italian sweet wine....and marengs.

Only 1 of the company really liked this one…3p

Added sweets...

Strawberries with black olives and basil ice !

This just one of the 3 desserts, but the best looking – did not go well with the missus. She did not like the combo. 3p

Conclusion

It seemed like the meal dropped a good bit during the evening, rating the starters higher than the mains, and the mains higher than the desserts. There were a good overall quality in produce and presentation, but some dishes were really not up to the two star rating, let alone 1. But the service had improved a bit, the waiters seemed less stressed than on previous visits. But we had to wait 15 min after choosing the wine to order it, and thats never nice. The water was often not poured when needed. By the way the food was accompanied by a lovely fresh 2007 Friuli Chardonnay from Ronco del Gnemiz at 62 eur per bottle. The sommelier suggested this instead of my choice of a similar bottle at a few euros less. Thats always nice, a sommelier with an opinion. I would not know if he was right.

Having dined with the same people half a year earlier at Schloss Berg it was natural for us to compare price experience etc. Knowing the small menu at Schloss Berg starts at 130 eur and we here were at around 100 eur, the most obvious conclusion and feeling is that you get a great lot more for your last 30 euros.  Both food and service wise. Asked the question – if Schloss Berg cooks close to perfection at lets say 10 – how should we rate this dinner, the prompt answer from the table was 5 – 6 and 7. One guest claimed “I much prefer Clairefontaine” …

Reception, aperitif room...

But, the ambience is second to none, Mrs. Mosconi smiling, the food on a relatively high level. I generally find the service very stiff and un-personal here, but maybe thats just because I am not a regular.

My rating for this visit: Ambience 4,5 (5) Service 3 (5) Food/Wine 6 (10) : Score 13.5 out of 20.

Schloss Berg, Nennig Germany – 29 August 2008

Christian Bau is still my favourite chef – his wife Yildiz and the staff makes sure your dinner or stay are second to none. Christian Bau has kept his 3 michelin stars for a number of years, fully justified in my opinion. Christian Bau now requests that visitors out of respect to other guests and I guess the “Privacy” of his presentations do not photograph the plates. Thus this review will only consist of photos of the hotel, surroundings and a single shot of the missus with a variety of the amuses – (I promise – no guests was hurt during that shot since we were the first to arrive in the restaurant).

The hotel and restaurant offers a variety of different packages which you can all check out at their homepage. Having the boys grandparents around for a few day we profited by opting for and booking a “Gastronomic stay”.

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The deal is that you for a fixed amount get a Deluxe Room with queensized bed (which in fact is a second category room but not a suite), in the old castle. In the package – the room comes with a non-alcoholic welcome drink, half a bottle of champagne, sweets and fresh fruit. For dinner you are served the big Au Cœur des Saveursmenu with corresponding wines. Coffee, mineral and sparkling water as well as a big breakfast next day. You have access to the Pool, Spa and Health facilities of the neighbouring “Mediterranean Villa”. Our room had a nice view over the Mouselle valley from both bed- and bathroom.

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Upon arrival we were greeted with a warm welcome as well as put the question how our trip had been. How it should be done…and it is so easy.

We were shown to the room, and a few minutes later the cold refreshment drink (grapefruit/fruit) arrived along with the half bottle chilled Gosset Champagne.  It was 17.00 so we had tome to relax and prepare for the dinner.

At 19.00 we sat down in the Chesterfield sofa and were greeted warmly by the very friendly young male servant, who took our aperitif request – Gin tonic´s – which were served instantly. A few ice-cubs would have made this gin tonic more to our liking ….but as you will read below….that was the only flaw of the stay and I guess it is a matter of taste.

When our table was ready, we left the Chesterfield with the drinks and were eagerly awaiting the menu which was not known to us, and which was lying in a small folder on our table.

As soon as you are seated the kitchen serves a small plate consisting of 3 tastings, today it was shellfish/oyster with apple cream, baeked tomato filet on a millefeulle topped with green pesto and a filet of sardin on a crispy bread.

Along that some salted and roasted nuts, thin and crispy rolls stuffed with creme of spanish sausage or alternatively guacamole, and finally a cold melon soup with a straw.

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But still before the first plate of the menu is actually on your table you are further served a variety of tastings from the kitchen. First follows a piece of freshly baked Foccacia bread, with virgin olive oil.

Then a beef tartare horn with caviar on the top…..served in your hand.

Then cucumber soup with macrel.

Finally a semi-warm flan of chicken liver with pieces of liver and lots of truffles, decorated with a (parmesan?) foam.

Whenever meat was served a corresponding one was served to my wife. For instance a beef tartare horn was replaced with a tuna tartar. The flan of Truffles and chicken liver was replaced with a creamy soup of peas.

On this occasion all the starters was top level and really shows you with which detail and finesse the kitchen operates.

We were now finally ready to start the actual menu…but also a little scared, cause all these “starters” had already taken away a lot of free space in our bodies.

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Taschenkrebs & Jakobsmuscheln
Zitrusfrucht / Apfel / Avocado / Curry

Blauer Hummer
Steinpilze/ zucchini oliven / Jus Pressé

Steinbutt
2 x Langoustine /2 x Spitzkohl / Krustentiertee

and for the missus because she dont eat meat….

Rouget Barbet
Paella / kleine Meeresfrüchte / Sauce Aioli

and for me

Milchkalb
3 x Blumenkohl / Sherryessig

Degustation von Hartkäse
Jahrgangshartkäse von Maitre Anthony selektiert

Victoria-Ananas
Kokoscrème / Guavengelee / Kokos-Ananassorbet

Schokolade & Maracuja
Café-Canache / Maracujacrème / Kakaobohneneis

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I will not translate the menu in English, but feel free to ask me ….

The corresponding wines were ranging from local Riesling Kabinett, Italian Sauvignon Blanc, South African Chardonnay, to Haut-Medoc. All very well-balanced with the food. Thank you Ms. Jäger.

For me the highlights in the menu was the first 3 dishes…and the last dessert. The fishes were all served – cooked 100% perfect, as it should be in a 3 star restaurant but nevertheless I need to underline…flawless. The veal was perfect for my tasting, so tender, it almost melted on your tongue The red mullet, so tasty.

The highlights for Astrid were the turbot and the chocolate dessert.

Some outside shots of the surroundings…

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There was no mentioning on the bill for the 4 bottles of Taunusquelle water we had during dinner, nor were the gin tonics listed. I think thats nice and how it should be.

I also requested the new book by Christian Bau – which he then signed for me with a nice note, and I picked up upon checking out. The book is called “Einblicke” and can be bought at Amazon, in German only – but lots of shots and back-ground story of the restaurant, quotes from family members, chef colleagues and friends alongside of course plenty of faboulous shots of the great efforts of the kitchen. The food.

Conclusion:

Our rating for this visit: Ambience 4,5 (5) Service 5 (5) Food/Wine 9,5 (10) : Score 19 out of 20.

We want to thank all the staff for making this a memorable stay, the break-away we needed. The food and the service was as good as it gets. Only flaws were the missing ice cubes in the gin/tonic and the fact that the portions are in fact very generous…but we will blame that on the big heart of Christian Bau and forgive him for that. However, we did not feel bad going to bed, but just very happy and very full. If we had the money we would be back next week.

To all you fellow gastronauts….book your stay now.


Schloss Berg, Nennig Germany – 20 March 2008

Chef: Christian Bau, Germany´s youngest 3 star chef. Michelin rating: 3 stars, Millaud rating: 18 points

Menu Decouverte at 168 Euro, corresponding Wine Menu apxm. 100 Eur.

A faboulous lunch that was planned shortly before it took place. It was the first time I settled for their “Menu Decouverte” and my 5th visit to this nice restaurant. Schloss Berg is at this point one of my favourite dining places and the attentive service is just what I am looking for. Respectful but not snobby, and a good distance between the tables and a nice quiet vibe to it.

It was a quiet lunch, so I was entertained and discussing the food, the wines and the world with the staff.

I settled for the wine menu for the first time here and was not disappointed even though it was a bit heavy on the whites, and furthermore sweet whites – than I would have chosen myself. I had 8 different wines, and one or two was refilled complimentary, as each wine was later billed per wine. All in all I paid 158 euro for the Menu (since I left out the cheese the price was reduced) – and the 8 wines clocked in at around 90 euro.

When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by the friendly staff on this cold day, and I bursted out…”Please spoil me today…”.

So how did I spend these 3 hours of my life….I shall tell you.

First let me tell you about the settings…..The restaurant is situated in the historic building of the Schloss Berg Complex which furthermore consist of a casino and a nice hotel overlooking the Mosel River and the villages below. Walking through the hall you will find a nice chesterfield-like sofa, where you can enjoy your drink or later the cognac. The restaurant is then a few steps down, with a celler/castle feeling to it, with partly wooden ceiling. The restaurant is very small with only room for apxm. 30 guests.

As mentioned above, I asked for wines per the glass / wine menu however, with the small edge to it that I wanted to try them all blind.

And to go with the amuse I was served the following wine …….

2007 Weissburgunder Kabinett trocken Mosbacher, Pfalz

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The amuse……Beef tartare with eal creme and eggs of heering, dried filet of tomato on a millefeulle, and king macrel on pesto, topped with a small rattatoulie. Roasted almonds, pastry filled with a creme of chorizo and thin bread sticks wrapped in thin lardon 8p

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Another small greeting from the kitchen……Flan of chicken liver with pieces of braised Chicken liver and truffles. Topped with a foam of Parmesan, but I uncovered the dish in order to get a good shot of the inside….10p – Wine 2005 Pündericher Marienburg “Noar” Riesling Spätlese, Clemens Busch, Mosel

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A second greeting from the kitchen, variation of Salmon….. ( I started the plate, thus the fork and knife on the plate….) 8p

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First Dish of the menu, Crab and St. Jacques with fruits of citrus 9p

 

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Fois Gras from Alsace, with Jabugo ham and spoon of iced Fois Gras creme 10p – Wine 2004 Juracon “Clos Uroulat”, Charles Hours, Sud-Ouest

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Bluefin Tuna and Tatare of Lobster 9,5 – Wine 2006 Sancerre “La Moussiere”, Dom. Alphonse Mellot, Loire

 

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Best dish of the day – Coated Langoustine with asparagus, morilles and beans 10p – Wine 2004 Sa Vall Seleccio Privado, M. Gelabert, Mallorca

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Sole with Sauce Mousseline with Gillerdeau Oyster 8,5p -Wine 2004 Meursault “Narvaux”, Dom. Philippe Chavy, Bourgogne

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Refreshment of Sake / Wasabi / Appel 8p – no picture – sorry

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Roasted Limousine Lamb and a touch of Provence 9p – Wine 2003 Saint Joseph, Chateau de Saint Cosme, Rhone

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Crumble with Rhubarb compot Almond milk, Mascarpone-Rhubarb sorbet 9p

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Chocolate and passionfruit, Canache of Valrhona Café-Couverture, Ice cream of Cocoa beans 10p – Wine 2003 Orange Muscat “Essensia”, Quady Winery, California

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Small plate of sweets….

The highlights for me was the Flan of chicken liver, the Langoustines with the asparagus was to die for, the lamb accompanied by my favourite small beans in a mediterranean style, Im a sucker for Rhubarb and the serving was a beauty. You can never go wrong with chocolat and passion fruit with me. Small let downs was the salmon. I am very tired of salmon, though the sashimi to the left did its best to convince me otherwise. And I found the oyster flavour to dominant in the sauce Mousseline. Its needless to say that all servings where cooked perfectly. The sole extraordinary juicy.

I want to thank all the staff for making this again a very memorable experience. I shall be back soon.

My rating for this visit: Ambience 4,5 p (5) Service 5p (5) Food/Wine 9,5p  (10) : Score 19 out of 20.