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.

IMG_4701 IMG_4700-001IMG_4702-001

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.

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A different take at Restaurant Clairefontaine – Take 3, Luxembourg – 22 September 2012

1 year after our first cooking class at Restaurant Clairefontaine, Arnaud and William again opened their doors and there “Little box of secrets” for us.

This time around we were 7 students and the menu apart from the requested beef was a secret to all of us.

What was on the working and dining menu today was:

Amuse – Tartare of Tuna with a wasabi/soya dressing
Starter – Lobster carpaccio with redish
Main – Filet of Beef with pepper sauce and a potato mash
Dessert – Creme Brullee

So a very classic menu, – again with a lot of focus on our chances of re-producing most of it at home without too much of a fuss.

After a small briefing and a cup of coffee for those in need of that, it was cooking time,

Cutting the tuna, scallots, choriander…

voila…at the end finished of with olive oil with a touch of lemon, salt and pepper

Cherry tomatoes with a twist…

Finishing the dish…

The finished result…

The “wasabi” sauce was made of wasabi paste, soya sauce and a touch of homemade mayonaice to make it smoother in both taste and texture. A great amuse that you can make in 5-10 min.

Next up – the lobster.

A view to a kill….

Anyone up for a 69 ?

Now at this point we close the cameras and have a moment of silence. 9 lobsters were used – and killed in that process. Yes, Susanne – I shall spare you the details.

Busy hands…

Dirty work…

What followed next was the slizing of a monster redish, and explanation about how to do the lobster reduction to enhance the flavour of the dish, crushed dry rosemary as well as the crushed dried orange skin added the “genious” factor to the dish. The cleaned lobster cut into carpaccio style slices, the salad bowl on top done with a thai tempura flour.

Great little extras for an outstanding dish

Mind your fingers…

Put aside to rest for a while…

This ones for you Susanne

Making a salad “bowl”..

So three-4 steps of arranging the dish

Step 1 – arranging the sliced and boiled redish over the lobster…

Gijs adding the classic vinegar/honey/oil dressing

Adding the crunched dried Rosemary and Orange – with a touch of chives…

The salad bowl on top – inside the salad a claw of the lobster….

Now this dish might seem a bit complex for amateurs like us… with the homemade little extra seasonings, the killing of the lobster, the tempura salad bowl, the wonderful lobster reduction etc. etc. But I think that even if one cut some corners here and there -it can be reproduced at home. And it for sure was a dish to die for. Or to kill for. In this case the lobsters left the world for a good reason. Susanne, I am sure they went straight to lobster heaven. I know we did. The blanched cruncy redish mixed with the texture of the lobster and the tempura on top….Arnaud and William. I loved this dish so much.

Next up was the slowly cooked beef. After preparing the whole filet of prime Luxembourgish caddle, it was quickly sealed and put into a vacum to cook at 48 degrees in slightly over and hour. Finished off at high heat. Peppersauce was done with a pre-produced reduction, and man what a sauce it was. The mash consisting of potatoes, butter, butter, butter and chives.

Heres a few shots of that preparation

First cleaned, then strapped up, then cut into 250 gram pieces…

Sealed off and with butter, herbs and garlic into the “solarium”….

Pepper and scallots braised off, cognac added and after a small fire, the pre-produced reduction was added. Man what a sauce….

The mash…

arranged in a genorous way….

and table 1 was ready to go…

To say I love this dish would be the understatement of the year. Perfectly cooked prime beef. The worlds best sauce, and a simple mash. What more do you need ?

To finish of a classic menu, you off course need a creme brulee. I shall not bother you with all the details of that one. Just say that from the two variations we made – one with burned sugar and one where rhum was added and lit to make a more fun presentation – I prepared the classic bunselbrenner version…but the flamy one of course makes a nicer picture

Arnaud showing how to prepare my favourite dessert..

Creme

– Brulee

So – looking back at now 3 sessions and a good 11-12 dishes…which ones stands out. I am actually not sure. I know for sure that the 4 dishes we had today all ranks up there with my overall favourite classic dishes in the world. But then there was off course also those pork cheeks, that fois gras, – that cod – etc. etc. etc. too praise. But most of all, what I appreciate the most in these cooking sessions – and I think I speak for the whole group is the little things we learn. Extra salt, extra butter, the small tricks – that all improve a dish in so many ways. So Arnaud and William – we especially thank you for that. We also again thank you bot for your precious time, what a wonderful way to spend “A day in the life”.

We also thank Julien, who always amazes with his choice of wines. Today it was absolutely on top. Each wine a perfect match enhancing our FANTASTIC dishes…

Session 4 already seem to far away.

Smiling faces all around…yours truly smiling only behind the camera.

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…

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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

Restaurant Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik – April 2012

Halfway through our stay in Dubrovnik I stumbled over this one. I had seen the sign promoting it, and walked down the alley to check it out. Outside was a very friendly man – who I would later get to know as our waiter Mario. He was busy opening for the day, but nevertheless jumped up the stairs to get me the menu, and happily explained about the dishes etc. I told him I might be back for the evening, – as it turned out – my family and I were back for the following 3 evenings.

Restaurant Dubrovnik has the most elegant and inviting al fresco dining I saw in Dubrovnik. Beautiful set tables, warm red colours, a (working) fountain in the middle and a great – and not overpriced – menu to choose from.

We loved this terrasse....

If the weather is nasty – which it got during the last part of our stay, they also offer a small room downstairs, next to the entrance, that fits 12 people or so. Nothing wrong with that room, but its not as elegant as upstairs, it is cosy though – but and interiour designer would go to one of the local artist, and order some great paintings  – or just exhibit them, in exchange for some of the ones that were hanging there. I know I would change that on my first day of management if I owned the place.

The second thing I would invest in would be electri heaters for upstairs. Its the first time in my adult life I have had dinner more or less outside at 14 degrees celcius, with my coat on and everything. That would be such a small investment and the extra amount of people choosing to dine here would increase for sure in those months that does not offer evening temperatures at a human level. Just to repeat if the management read this. Please consider NOW – next low season is coming again.

We were treated with the same amuse on all three nights. It was nice, but a top kitchen would have changed-  knowing we were returning clients. The dishes we got on all three nights were among the best we had in Dubrovnik. The service of Mario and the smile of the pretty female “hostess” were outstanding – and even the maitre seemed happy to see us again on the last two nights.

Here is some of the dishes we had.

Amuse - Creamy goat cheese with a cracker.

Octopussy terrine, Smoked tuna, Sardelles/Anchovis...

A local “classic” – done to perfection here. Loved it. Nothing to improve – you can say that it is not really innovative or nouvelle cuisine – but this was Dubrovnik kitchen at its best. 7p

Grilled vegetables with crumbled goat cheese

Perfectly grilled vegs – and an uncomplicated dish. 6.5p

Fillet of Beef with vegetables and a potato "tarte"

Beef cooked to perfection, lovey potato “thing” and good vegetables. It totally lacked salt and pepper, but I could adjust for that myself – and I did. 7.5p

Local wines on the menu, we chose this pinot noir – which I found nice, especially when chilled, it did lack a bit of acidity in the end. But we had it on all 3 nights – so I guess we were happy 😉

Great design on the bottle I think...Nice wine too.

My conclusion:

On the first night of our stay, we met a lovely couple from London. We salute you – thanks for the fun. Hope to see you further on up the road. They told Mario after the main dish on the first evening. This was our best meal in Dubrovnik so far. The second best meal was the starter they continued. That said it all. They too were back for the following night.

They had a point. We were also happy to at last find very good food at a decent price in Dubrovnik. In the end – on all three nights the bill was around 100 eur for a family, with good wine, starters and main. The plates for the kids were done – children friendly – our requests in that respect was met without a fuss.

Mario was a perfect waiter. Ever concerned about our well-being, always around. I hope the management appreciate his job and that he gets whatever he truly deserves. He would be an “added value” in most restaurants I know of. Thanks Mario.

I do think that the food at Restaurant Nautica was more innovative and more sharp in presentation – but it comes at at least double the price. This was honest and decent food, food that in the end just lacked a bit of extra seasoning – sometimes only salt and pepper – to make it perfect comfort food.

And just to repeat  – PLEASE DO INVEST IN SOME ELECTRIC HEATERS – that investment will be paid back by the month of November – at the latest.

I give Restaurant Dubrovnik my highest recommendation – should you ever be in town, say hi from Food Wine and Rocknroll

*

My rating for this visit:

Food  7p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 4p (5), Total Score  15.5p (20)

Dubrovnik Part 2 – Two good Restaurants of Dubrovnik

Finding a restaurant in Dubrovnik is not tough. The city is packed with possibilities. We had recommendations from our friends as well as from different kind of sources, magazines, guides etc. But still we struggled a bit to find the level we are used to in Luxembourg. The price level was as I mentioned in my last post surpricingly high and not always on par with what landed on the plates. Sea bass, scallops and oysters are found on most menus – Dubrovnik getting all those resoources from the clear waters surrounding the city – the Adriatic Ocean. Like I mention in the last post, wines are served and left on the table for you to help yourselves. Sometimes the waiter will lend a hand, but not always.

Anyway, I shall give you a selection of our favourite dining spots ranging from  bar/brasserie to top gastronomic ones – starting at the lower end of the scale with

Restaurant Veritas

More a bar than a restaurant, much more a terrasse in fact. The food here was very simple, but stil on a few occasions we were spoiled with something that rose above much higher priced places. It is situated on the corner of the small market square where Oscar and Emil where playing most days with the hundreds of doves. Comfortably chairs, shadow or a spot in the sun, Elvis will make sure you feel at ease, and his smile and speed will charm you.

Deep fried Octopussy with French Fries...

Beautilful, simple dish. If they had offered a home-made sauce tartare with this one it would have been the perfect dish.

Elivs and the Sea bass...

So after having met Bruce Springsteen already - Oscar finally gets to meet the real deal - Elvis.

One day, we just passed by for a drink, and Elvis told us we had to have the fish he just got in, – so we stayed a while, even took a walk, came back had a starter and was served this perfectly cooked fish which Elvis prepared before our eyes. It came with a garlic/oil dressing, we also ordered a gorgonzola sauce….and together it was one hell of a meal. One of the best we had in town and a 8p score. But on most occasions the food was more simple and Veritas definetely lives from the service of Elvis and the placement on this beautiful square. Most meals for a family with a bottle of wine will cost you between 75 eur and 110 eur.

My rating for Veritas: Food  4.5p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 4p (5), – I shall add half a happiness point for Elvis – Total Score  13.5p (20)

*

Restaurant Proto

Our first evening and a lunch a few days later we spent at Proto, which is highlighted as one of the best fish restaurants in town. One of the chefs Branko Kusovac is just back from a 45 day stay at Noma in Copenhagen – and Amra our great and beautiful waiter of the evening told us about his praise for that experience.

The old fashioned but nice dining room, like a German Weinstube in Munich...

A perfect painting in a fish restaurant, Oscar was very impressed. We had to go back one day, just to look at the painting...

Beautiful starter...

The smoked tuna blew us away, great in texture and taste, the sardelles/anchovis not too salty on a bed of salad, really a good simple dish 8p

Our mains….

Fish....damn was ít sea bass or sole .... with grilled vegetables

Great vegetables, the fish – I found that something went wrong, or maybe it was just my expectations. It was rather soaked – in butter or oil – or both – and not as great as it looked. The red reduction was misplaced in my humble opinion.

Grilled Sole with potatoes, Eggplant and Zucchini

A little less fish on the plate would have done the trick, however the fish good, again the whole plate a bit too soaky

We had two bottles of wines – one was this great Chardonnay

Local wine...

the second one a bottle of rosé – we had  an amuse, a starter and a main dish, the boys shared a great quality schnitzel with fries – the mentioned two bottles of wine, water and fanta. and the meal clocked in at just around 200 eur. Not really expensive, and with the 2 bottle of wines I guess you cannot really argue. We felt we had a good meal, nothing more nothing less. We liked the place and came back for the lunch as I mentioned and had this plate for me and just smoked tuna for the missus..

Great Great Great lunch plate..all you need.

As I said above, Amra was a great, serviceminded waiter, some of the food was great, some did not quiete impress on that evening. There is however a huge menu to choose from, great table setting, great bread, a decent wine list and a kitchen that seems to have some eye for quality and good produce. I wish Branko Kusovac all the luck in this world to achieve what he aims for. We thank Amra for her wonderful service on that night. We are happy to recommend Proto as a good restaurant in town.

My rating for Restaurant Proto: Food  6p (10) service 4.5p (5) ambience 4p (5), Total Score  14.5p (20)

I shall be back tomorrow with our two favourite restaurants from this trip – I shall leave you today with what must be a contender for the worst wine label ever. The wine as such was drinkable, but the bottle and label – oh dear.

Somebody fire that designer.

Restaurant Rosin, Wulfen, Germany – December 2011

“Simplicity works for me, it gets me running hard and sharp and true
I focus on the basic stuff, and pretty soon I´m coming up on you
So much clutter clouds our way, fundamentals win the day”.

Bob Seeger

Having a business dinner to attend, the road to travel was somewhat longer than normal. But ever since Frank Rosin threw us out in the third round of Topfgeldjäger it was our plan to come back and haunt him one fine day. Frank Rosin has just been awarded his second michelin star and holds 18 Gault Millau points. He has already celebrated 20 years with the Rosin restaurant situated in the corner of the Ruhr district, close to his home town.

Frank Rosin is known as the “sledge-hammer” in the show, being very critical, and only accept the best. When we participated in the show, we off course did not share all his criticism towards our dishes, but understood some of his arguments. We still feel that we had deserved a draw in the third round, and this is probably going to haunt us forever.

So I had hopes up high for finding some good points, issues to improve in his performance this evening.

“Frankie” was in the building…and a visible host throughout the evening, both at our table, but more notably on some local VIP clients. I think that the local pride “FC Schalke 04″ provides Frank with many bookings via their players and staff.

Frankie”  is a true rocknroll chef. He enjoys the limelight, and you can see he is used to being “on”. I must admit I like this style very much. Its laid back, with a lot of confidence.

The sign above the entrance...

Restaurant Rosin used to be an old fashion “Kneipe”, with a rather dark ambience. It certainly was not that anymore…

Part of the 40 seated, two-parted dining room

On the second floor of the building an appartment has been converted into a “Vinothek” with a small kitchen in front. It can be booked for parties from 6-20, and we started the evening with a lovely glass of Gosset Champagne up here.

This seemed like the perfect place to be on a cold winter night...

As you can see on the picture above, the ambience, is light, stylish, romantic, the lightning excellent, not for photos shooting (!) but for a quiet evening. I loved it, also the table setting. It does not need to be any better in my book.

First of was a good selection of bread and a nice selection of different kinds of butter…

  

3 Amuses – “Schmackofatz” were in our case followed by two starters, two mains and cheese.

"Small harvest of sweetcorn, avocado and popcorn of porc skin

Fennel and carrot

Acorda with venus mussel and heart of duck...

All the amuses was nice, not out of this world bit generally set the tone for the menu that was to follow and gave us an idea of the style of Frank Rosin and his team. 8p

First chosen starter was the the especially recommended as “not to miss” marinated tuna

Marinated Tuna with Brillat Svarin and Imperial Caviar

This dish took us all by surprice. Having expected a more tender tuna, it almost had the texture of a piece of veal, or cooked piece of tuna. As if the moist had been taken out of the tuna. Maybe this was done on purpose. It was a great dish with a generous portion of imperial caviar. But the jury is out on whether the dish/fish was really supposed to have THIS firm texture. Comments are welcome… 7.5p

Piece of Chocolate from Coffee Frois Gras

This dish truly played with our sences. By now you get a good feeling of the style of Frank Rosin, and why I choose to start this review with the lyrics from Simplicity. I shall get back to this in my conclusion. This dish was certainly carried by the left side, the generous chocolate/coffee/frois gras brick. Ever as delicate. The dish would have been more standardly placed as a dessert, so sweet was the general impression, however who am I to judge why you cannot have a sweet dish early in the menu. 8.5p

Piece of Breast and Rilette from the Gressingham duck

Again the presentation was something one could (almost) re-produce on a good day, which in my book is fantastic. Being a hobby chef this is what you want…true inspiration for your daily cooking. May I add that this dish, this duck was the best duck I have ever had in my life. Maybe my mother had cooked an equally good one once in a while in her long life, but in a restaurant…it was such a great relief to find this piece of breast cooked to perfection, not red, not rosa, but slowly cooked, and still moist even though it was well done on a  duck cooking scale. Simply loved it. The sauce the rest of the dish. Heaven. 10p

Oxe Cheek with Pumpkin and Ginger, Vacuum-fruits and Spekulatius Bread

This dish suffered mostly I think from coming just after the duck. It did not stand a chance against it, and was no compare. The cheek cooked to perfection, but the dish being a bit “on the easy side” for a two star establishment – even if the components probably was not. But furthermore I dislike the style of the bread. Having had it both in desserts and mains over the years I have never liked. The dish well, I shall be generous and give it 7p

Say cheese...

A great selection of cheese, even though they all seemed a bit crammed on the too small tray when presented. Nevertheless, the waiter took the order of the different cheeses for two persons and left to prepare the selection outside our viewing distance. And what came back was in my opinion the perfect way to present a cheese plate. 9.5p

No dessert was ordered, but wtill we got another “schmackofatz” – Frozen Chocolate with Cranberry and Vanilla and then a tasting platter with 3 different servings of pre-desserts. I dont think the presentation of this tasting platter was very lucky, where all guests around the table dig into the same portions. I am not difficult in that respect, but we all found it a bit silly and not up to par of the rest. 6p

My conclusion:

Dear “Frankie”, I wish I could slam you just a bit….but in the end we all found that this was a perfect dinner with some high points and some minor flaws. I understood most of your intentions, appreciated the simple style of the servings. Sometimes as a gastronaut/consumer/diner you are presented plates that have so many details your palete can  simply not digest. This was far from it. This was simple, honest presentations without too much of a fuzz. As I said, something to be inspired by or even re-produce (in some fashion)….

We were warmly welcomed by both the maitre Jochen Bauer and the sommelier Mrs. Spiess, greatly entertained by the young waiter and waitress, always had good wine and water in our glasses. The sommelier Mrs. Spiess did a good job in suggesting us great bottles according to our wishes. The style of Mrs. Spiess comes over as very confident and very quiet. She was voted best sommelier in Germany -but we had to wait until the last bottle to actually hear a lot of comments from her side on the chosen bottle. I do like when this has a higher focus and LOVE to discuss and hear opinions from the sommelier. But maybe she was just afraid of these Great fat Danes….but if I had one point of criticism it would be the missing interaction with the sommelier – but on the other hand I never really doubted her qualifications.

What we all agreed on was the fact that the dinner was easier to digest and actually preferable in compare to the extravaganca we had all experienced at lets say Vendome….and thats a great “Hats off”  to Frank Rosin and his team.

My rating for this visit.

Well I thought about deducting a point up-front from “Frankie” – just to pay him back from the “Topfgeldjäger Situation” but I guess it would be too personal – so fair and square…

Food 8.5p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5),  Total Score 18p (20)

Schiller’s Restaurant (Hotel Stein), Koblenz, Germany – 25 August 2011

Since we had to go to Koblenz, it was decided to have lunch there, and I got to choose…Having googled a bit it seemed that Schiller’s Restaurant was THE place to eat. There is a few michelin starred restaurants in the area, but since the reviews of Schiller’s was equally good I chose that one.

I did not plan to make a review, so no photos. But the experience was so nice that I have to share it with you.

The restaurant is situated inside a small family run hotel, with 3 different dining rooms. The host, Mrs. Stein gave us a friendly welcome and since we were the only one in the restaurant on that beautiful day, we got her un-devided attention. It also meant that the boys got to move around a bit. Mrs. Stein opened all the glass doors – given us almost the illusion to sit in the garden.

Small amuses were given, wine and food were ordered. Open wine, a nicely chilled and dry German Rosê.

I shall not give you all the details, but we had a brilliant amuse, the missus had a great Tuna plate (3 kinds), Risotto with mushrooms, I had Terrine of Fois Gras and Halibut.

Only complain was that my Halibut was too dry. The sauce was marvellous. The fish of the boys perfect…also Halibut but served with a potato mash as we requested. In fact all requests were met with a smile by Mrs. Stein. The boys also got a dessert. 3 glasses, 1 with the most perfect chocolate sorbet, 1 with vanilla creme and 1 with large fresh sweetened raspberries. On top of that we also got a little something a kind of pre-dessert, lovely too.

I shall give the amuses 6p, the starters, 7p, the mains 6p for mine, and 8p for the Risotto the missus had. The dessert smashing  8p.

Conclusion:

If you are in Koblenz, please do visit Mrs. Stein and her fine little oasis. I hope to be back one day. If I ever have to sleep in Koblenz I will book the hotel, – just because it all looked so cosy and inviting. And I will bring a camera too.

When we got the bill, the desserts were not on it, I mentioned that to Mrs. Stein, but she just replied, it was such a pleasure to have children in the restaurant, apparently it does not happen that often.

I do not think the food was out of this world, but it was clearly done by someone who knows what he or she was doing. The tuna variations was elegant, the risotto very very good. My dishes were a little bit below the level of what I just described otherwise the food rating would have been higher. The service was given with a smile and flexibility you always wish for but not often experience. So I raise a glass for Mrs. Stein. Thanks for having us.

My rating for this visit:

My rating for this visit: Food 6.5p (10), Ambience 3.5p (5) and service 4.5 (5)  Total score 14.5p (20)

Take a look for yourself here….

http://www.hotel-stein.de/