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….

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Sölleröd Kro, Denmark – 7 August 2011

“Sun is shinin’ in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight
It’s stopped rainin’ everybody’s in a play
And don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day”

Mr. Blue Sky, Jeff Lynne 1977

When you see this…

followed by this guy…

"Mr. Blue Sky"

– you know you are in for a treat.

Celebrating our shared anniversary with Peter and Kit is ALWAYS something special. Special friends calls for special moments. And coming back to Sölleröd Kro, besides being a very special moment – always – has also become our tradition and a date we are already looking forward in repeating in many years to come.

I have told you before about my admiration for this place and for Jan Repstorff. First time I really took notice of Jan, was when I read his article in a Danish Gastronomic magazine about Paris, more notably the top restaurants in Paris. I just thought…I must meet this guy. And as you will know by now, meeting him, and Sölleröd Kro has changed my life. He breath service, he lives wine and food. He is Mr. Blue Sky. I love you Jan.

So on this day….our expections were somewhere around sky-high. The year before had been an out-of-body experience. And….yes….yes….yes it was again way up there. We thank you Jan and your team for making this day a day to remember and to treasure. You know you are making it hard for yourself by setting the bar so high.

The gluten aspect was handed to perfection, the bread offered in the beginning was simply cooked just as the normal ones, and with a top quality.

Gluten free home backed rolls for the missus

We got the menus, but Jan never left us…and soon said…Why dont I just set up a little something for you….trust me. We did just that. Winewise too we were spoiled.

What a fantanstic Champage...!!!

It was the follower to a pink champagne from de Sousa et fils. And Peter just busted out. I must have this one at home. He – we all loved it. It was follewed by many other outstanding drops, I shall not name them all, but a few were shot and will be presented below.

Amuse - Tomato on Tomato ice..

Crab with salted cucumber, dill and coliflower

Especially the salt pickled cucumbers were lifting this simple dish way up high.

Turbot

Lightness, the aspargus brilliant, perfect dish.

Scallops with smoked/burned salad

I loved it, some of us found the smokey taste to dominant. I found it perfect. The scallops halfed, but cooked 100 percent correct. Wauw.

A little something...Crispy chicken, chicken hearts, Not pasta but celery...

Great little dish – it worked.

A dish for the missus...

Chanterelles, onions…..what a beauty. She loved it.

Veal - with smoked sweet-bread and chanterelles

Who-ever cooked this meat, should be given an extra salary slip. King of the world. Top of the pops.

Three of the wines we had…

First red...

Second red - a "semi-old" 1976 !

Jan – thanks for letting us this one. All wines were excellent, but to find this gem and to open it for us was a very nice gesture. It was still vibrant, and what a colour.

Third red....

Now at this point our bellys were starting to obstruct….but Jan said, …are you really sure you dont want any cheese, – what if I tell you that it is ..I surrendered.

Manchego and Gruyere with truffles...

A personal highlight for me. And to think about how close I was to say no. Thank you sir.

This is how Jan looks when he know he has hit the spot.

Raspberries

Red & Black berries

Chocolate

Sweets

End of the show. What can one say after a meal like that, except thank you.

Conclusion:

When thanking Jan on facebook the day after our visit, I think I said something like Noma might be the best restaurant in the world, but Sölleröd Kro is the best restaurant in Denmark….Jan replied, haha..no no…we are just the best restaurant in Sölleröd. And the only one. Now that must be the understatement of the year.

Jan, Sölleröd Kro. We love you – we feel privileged to know you and to have spent yet another anniversary in your good hands. At the end of the meal Christian Ebbe, the young new head chef came out to say hi. You need not worry folks. Christian carries the torch with the same passion as Jakob de Neergaard did before him.

Jan, We salute you !

As it turned out, our visit was even blessed with a surprice other guest in the restaurant. One of the best food-bloggers in the world, Trine and her Klaus was enjoying there lunch as well – Trine – actually planning a Birthday lunch for her birthday anniversary – a lunch that is actually taking place today. It was an honour to meet you and Klaus. I hope your celebration today will be full of laugther and smiles. I know for sure that Jan and his team will provide the rest and reach the level your exquisite taste deserve. Happy Birthday Trine. Love your blog.

The brides - Kit and the missus...

Simplicity and sheer beauty as the food....

My rating for this visit: Food 9,5 (10), Ambience 5(5) and service 5 (5)  Happiness point 0,5 – Total score 20 (20)

Sölleröd Kro, Denmark – 8 August 2010

Celebrating a special day with old best friends is always great, but this day was in fact out of this world. I am actually glad the rain was pouring down, because this way there is still room for improvement. Other than that, what we experienced as to hospitality, creativity, good food and stunning wines – was simply amazing. I had high expectations for this lunch. Seeing old “friend” Jan Restorff again, and knowing that Jakob de Neergaard in the kitchen is as sharp as ever – it would be easy for my high expectations not to be met.

But from the moment we entered the room, Jan meeting us outside – at 12.00 till we left 5 hours later we were spoiled and taken care of, in a manner that it will be hard for anybody to follow-up on, or even try to get close to.

I have said it before, and I would like to stress it again. For this restaurant to hold “only” 1 michelin star is so close to criminal as it gets. Wake up Michelin, Take away a star in Hong-Kong and one in Luxembourg, and put them here – right there in the heart of Sölleröd.

I do not need the craziness or innovation of Noma or El Bulli to recognize when something hits the spot. I need good food, a slash of creativity, a lot of attention to detail and to the table, add a romantic ambience, Jakob and Jan – and you have the perfect meal. At least I had on that Sunday.

Some of my shots came out a little blurry – I apologize for that, but have chosen to include them.

We chose the standard 5 course Sölleröd Menu with a few extras thrown in as suggested by Jan, and to start it all of we went for a Champagne – Pol Roger Millesime 2000 rosé. I absolutely adored this bottle, the long nutty aftertaste. Stunning. Note – Have to buy some of that for my cellar when there is some money left in my pocket. Just for the fun of it, Jan let us try another vintage white champagne from Pol Roger – was it 1999 ?. Powerful, but the rosé blew me away.

A quiet romantic corner

Fantastic bread, replaced throughout the entire meal.

Green Gazpacho with olive ice.

This little amuse was so great, so creamy. Wonderful 10p

Caviar - Avocado - Langoustine

Albino Caviar - Avocado - Langoustine

This was the first of the little throw-in dishes. Jakob came out and explained about the caviar, especially about the Albino caviar, how much was harvested in the world etc.  The men were served the black, and the women were served the albino version. This was caviar as good as it gets in my book, the delicate combination with the avocado creme and langoustines…wauw. This is normally on the a-la-carte menu I think. When you go there..TRY IT ! 10p

To continue with the meal we then chose a bottle of Meursault Charmes 2006 from Francois Mikulski. What a great wine for the following dishes. Jan suggested us 4 whites, explained about their differencies, making the choosing really interesting.

Römö shrimps with cucumber, horseradish and dill

A simple light dish. The mild horseraddish and the nutty oil in the bottom made this dish melt in your mouth. The small shrimps added the texture and great taste. 9.5p

Smoked cod with different types of cabbage

Again, light, beauty on a plate, pleasure in your mouth. 9.5p

Again is was time to change direction, wine wise, and we chose a bottle of Chambolle Musigny 2006 from Francois Bertheau. Again Jan helped us in choosing from the vast numbers of bottles on the wine list by presenting 4 bottles, explaining etc. Since the wine was such an instant hit, he tickled our senses by offering a second bottle from Cambolle Musigny, the 2007 (?) Philippe Pacalet. What a whine, at first much more closed and fruity than the well balanced and smooth Bertheau, later totally winning us over with its charm and elegance.

Variety of potatos with summer truffles

Simple food, what do you get when you pair potato the best vegetable in the world, with truffles one of the most expensive vegetables in the world ? Happiness. May I add the summer truffle was really tasty and the dish a hit in my book. 9p

Roasted turbot with chanterelles and parsley

A “standard” Sölleröd dish, perfectly cooked turbot with tasty chanterelles. What more do you want ? 9p

Breast of veal with foie gras, new onions and currant

Ring ring ring…..a true beauty. Veal vacuum-cooked at 48 degrees then braised….the perfect meat. A dish you never wanted to finish. In a good way. 10p

Buttermilk, lemon and mint

First of the desserts, was a mojito oriented pleaser. I loved it. 10p

Red berries

A “Noma” inspired presentation. Again, the ligthness (needed at this point) the taste of the berries. 9,5p

Raspberry - "guf" - Raspberry

I love raspberry – 9.5p

Chocolate - chocolate - chocolate.

For me the weakest dish on a perfect menu, but maybe, just maybe the stomach was starting to say enough. Chocolate is still a must in any menu lol. 9p

To accompany the desserts, we first had two different tastings of Riesling Auslese from Mosel – Saar – Ruwer, and later two red low alcoholic wines – Jan have to help me here if he sees this, because I simply forgot their names, but they were both great, fresh and perfectly matched the berries and chocolate.

Conclusion:

I would wish for any gastronaut in the world to try food at this level, I would like everyone to feel the warmth and hospitality of Jan. I would want all the waiters in the world to deliver at least 10% of the passion Jan delivers. He lives food and wine. I love him. For me he is the among the best in the world. As good as it gets.

Simply the best

How do you rate a visit 20 km. north of Copenhagen yet so close to heaven – with good friends – with a meal close to perfectness. One could argue that more innovative dishes have seen the world, but when all is said and done – can good food get any better than good food ? Not in my world. Thank you again Jan and Jakob for making our day even more special. We shall be back….and even though it will be a little while, I can hardly wait. Sölleröd Kro rock on …….and thank you. I will add an exta 0,5 point to reach the top mark which I felt we experienced that rainy Sunday. As good as it gets.

My rating for this visit: Food 9,5 (10), Ambience 5(5) and service 5 (5)  Happiness point 0,5 – Total score 20 (20)