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….

Advertisements

Der Butt, Warnemünde/Rostock – 16 August 2011

Der Butt is situated in the wonderful Yachthafenresidenz Hohe Düne – which I have written about previously

https://foodwinerocknroll.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/yachtresidenz-hohe-dune-warnemunde-rostock-germany-august-2010/

Der Butt is still proudly holding on to its 1 star Michelin Rating, and chef Tillmann Hahn continue to improve. Apart from the restaurant he is also involved to some extent in the other restaurants inside the resort. Tillmann Hahn has been with the resort since 2008 – and was chosen to cook for a German G8 summit, a few years back so he is probably good enough to cook for me. The restaurant holds only 26 places so booking is essential.

The resort offers a little bit of everything. I shall just hightligt the following reasons that we keep coming back.

  • A splendid view of the Baltic Sea, and Der Strom – you can just drift away on your balcony and wish the stay will never end.
  • Great rooms
  • A full-time children care – possible from 10 am to 7 pm, with each day having a special theme. The kids LOVE it.
  • A GREAT bar, with all you could wish for – a huge selection of cocktails, champagne, whisky, gin etc. etc. etc.
  • A good selection of children friendly restaurants
  • An amazing breakfast buffet, with a-la-carte chef preparing omelettes etc.
  • Der Butt, one of the best restaurants in the region, and for sure worth a visit
  • Top-service from all staff within the resort
  • Warnemünde with shops and beach just a stone-throw away

Hey, did I get carried away ?. Well we love it there. We had read on-line that the service was not as good as it used to be. We experienced nothing like that. Not a fraction.

But…this time its about Der Butt and Tillmann Hahn and his team,

The missus at the Kamin Bar, Der Butt in the back-ground

Ray Tschörner, the tall smiling waiter had already spotted me a day or two before and we had a small chat. Im a sucker for recoqnition. It always work on me. Upon reserving we had noted the gluten-free issue as well as the vegetarian status of the missus.

So when entering it was a releave to see a speical basket of bread prepared for her. Why do I keep mentioning this. Because you have no idea how stressy and irritating it is when this issue is not handled correctly. Apart from the emotional stress – the health is at risk. So thank you all you chefs out there who does in fact realise this and adjust accordingly.

4 different thematic menus are offered, a classic, a meditteran, an exotique and a vegetarian menu. You are free to cross choose from all 4 menus, and the price of menu varies then from 65-115 eur depending on how many dishes you order.

Small selection of tasters...

The new Sommelier, Sven Mähnert, made a good impression, and was very service-minded and attentive throughout the evening. We opted for a Pouilly Fuisse for Astrid, and also the wine menu for me – I felt like trying something different than just Chardonnay.

3 kinds of extra virgin olive oil, 5 kinds of salt

This was an improvement to previous visits where we were offered to choose from 20 different kinds of salt to go with the bread and wonderful oils. This was much better and not as time consuming, – and how much salt do you need to try. Great selection, the olive oils delicate, all of them.

2. amuse

Wonderful, the lightness of being. Hahn cooks ever so light. And we like that.

3. amuse for me

- and for the missus.

Again, wonderful, again respecting her non-meat eating status. We felt this was going to be a wonderful evening.

Fois Gras

A highlight for me, wonderful dish, pretty and so delicate and tasty. 10p

The dish of the missus...Tartare of Langoustine with avocado and mild chili granitê

Lots of details, Astrid could have wished for a bit more chili in the granitê – but I guess we like it more spicy than your average customer. 8p

The best wine of the evening I found was this one….

Chenin Blanc from South Africa

Primeur de Provence, 3 kinds of veal...

Actually it was one of the starters on the 4 menus, but I decided to throw it in as small something in between the dishes. The kitchen decided it would be boring for the missus to watch me eat, they had prepared a little something for her too…(nice touch).

Brook trout on beans and "Satureikraut"

Both great little dishes, I love the presentations. And you have no doubt in your mind that the kitchen works with best of produce available. 8.5p

Grilled Yellowtail-Kingfish with mango salsa and choriander

I loved this dish, the missus found the fish a bit on the dry side. 8.5p

Poached Turbot for the missus...

- lamb for me...

Both dishes very strong. The presentation of the lamb was maybe not the best, but the tenderness and the taste made up for that. SIMPLY GREAT. 9p

Chocolate Grand Cru with full-ripe cherries

Great stuff again 8.5p

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for honey...

Conclusion

If you are ever in the resort, dont miss out on Der Butt. Its good. Its not outstanding or re-inventing the wheel. But its sometimes classic, its sometimes a bit innovative, but most of all its a kitchen that treats the products with respect with good presentations and the service match all that. The wine list is a bit on the expensive side like in most 5 star resorts, but the selection is good and leave you many choices from overseas etc in the lower end as well. Should you feel like drinking Chateau Margaux or Ornellaia, well then there is choices there as well.

At the end of the meal, Tillmann came to our table and we had a good long talk. We were happy to tell him that this was the strongest achievement of his kitchen we had experienced so far. And that the food throughout the resort had also improved from last time. There was no apparent flaws in the other restaurants as last time, except maybe for lack of salt and pepper on the dishes….Würzen fellows…würzen. But that off course was not the issue in Der Butt.

Thank you Ray and Sven for taking so good care of us, on our last evening at Hohe Düne. We for sure hope to be back next year. So do the boys. Thank you Tillmann Hahn for great food and for your inspiration.

I shall leave you with a few shots from the resort…and with my rating of Der Butt below.

Room with a view..

.

My rating for this visit: Food 9p (10), Ambience 4p (5) and service 5 (5)  Total score 18p (20)

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.