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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Restaurant Babette, Denmark – 11 August 2011

“Concerto for a rainy Day” Jeff Lynne 1977

“I’m standing in the rain
I’m waiting all alone
I’m so tired
I wanna go home”

After 5 days of non-stop rain we needed something to ease our minds and lift our spirits, so after booking the table and convincing the boys that NOW was the time to get in the car – we felt very good about the upcoming lunch and in keeping the tradition of a visit to this little gem at least once during our summer break.

It was good to be greeted as regulars – hey we are – every August we have been here for the last 4-5 years or so. They were all there, Brian, Vivi, Henrik….It is always good to see the light in their eyes.

Waiting for the food can be a “Man’s job” – during this summer, the boys have actually improved in trying different food, even some green stuff which until now has only been considered a little less dangerous than poison. But the waiting is still killing them.

Here are some poses to give you an idea…

No amuses today but we were happy just to be here….they only just came back from holiday.

However, the concept with around 5-8 dishes to choose from is stil the same. Food and wine were ordered, a lovely smooth 2004 Puligny Montrachet from Dujac.

A nice drop....

Pickled Flunder with Cantalupe Melon, Cucumber and Mayjonaise - enjoy.

What a beauty, what a starter. The bar had been set. 9p

Monkfish / Anglerfish - with Dill top and Mussel Fond.

A classic in Babette. The buttery fond is to die for, here served with Monkfish, could be any fish. The dish pops up in different variations at Babette, and it is lovely. 9p

Fried Mullet with Tomato, Celery, Chili, and Anchovy Oil

The missues choice. The presentation more on the easy side in compare to the two dishes before. But the pickled tomatos wonderful and the fish cooked perfectly. 8.5p

Rack of Lamb with New carrots and Relich of Rosehips, Pumpkin and Mustard seeds

Great dish, came with a second serving of other parts of the lamp on a mash. Loved it. 9p

Say cheese...

Small but great selection from the now famous Knuthenlund estate on Lolland, about 1,5 kilometers away from were I grew up. Great stuff. They have recently won a “Best Brie in the world” award. 8.5p

Variation of Blueberries - White Chocolate, Licorice Vanilla.

I actually think there was a pre-dessert too…but forgot to shoot it. This was splendid. 8p

Conclusion:

As you know by know I love Babette. There style is simple and beautiful. The service down-to-earth but with a sheer level of quality and surplus. They know what they are doing. And Brian is slowly turning into one of the best waiters in Denmark I think. But no wonder, he is learning from one of the best – the mighty Henrik Pedersen. It was a pleasure being back. We almost forgot the rain. At least for a while. We said our good-byes, sorry to the young waiter – I forgot your name, you were great too 😉 – and rushed back the summerhouse, and decided that the following day would be the last in Denmark for quite a while.  But when we return, Babette is on the wishing list.

I shall leave you with my rating and a pretty smiling face

The missus...

My rating for this visit:  Food 8.5p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 4p (5), total score for this visit  17p (20).

Babette, Denmark – November 2009

Restaurant Babette is situated on the outskirts of Vordingborg, some 45 min, south of Copenhagen. They offer fantastic quality at relatively small prices. A few years ago they also opened a small brasserie at harbour side in Vordingborg. In my opinion Restaurant Babette is among the most honest food you get in Denmark, with no compromise to the quality of the products used.

Vivi Schou the head chef has recently been awarded the Danish Champagnepris for her cooking and contribution to the Danish gastro-scene, and head waiter /owner / host Henrik Pedersen was voted best of his kind in 2007.

You may choose a full menu (6 dishes) – or you may pick 3, 4 or 5 as you like. It is priced at 60-80 eur, the lunch menu even a bit cheaper as far as I remember.

They do not offer a wine list as such but Henrik is willing to put several bottles on the table, explain the differences and come with his recommendation. Apart from that there is a wine menu and a wine menu for the designated drivers.

The photos below give you an impression of the outstanding decor and the puristic and great dishes. I never got to write a review after the visit last year, but I hope to be back soon in order to do so.

Beautiful, inviting, romantic

Small appetizers

Amuse

Eel, dark bread crust, variations of pumpkin

Turbot (I think) - with leaves of Brussel sprout

Langoustine

Pheasant - first serving..

Pheasant - second serving, unsharp photo..sorry.

"Brunsviger" revisited - with red beet

Sweets

The 2 magicians of the evening..

I hope this young lady may never leave the business..if only all waiters were like her.

I think this evening was my 5th visit to the restaurant. Even though neither Henrik nor Vivi was there, it was a stunningly high level on both service and food. The young waiter, I asked for her name but have since forgot, did a fantastic job, smiling, entertaining and explaining about the dishes and the wines. Thats the passion you want to meet as a client, and the passion Henrik normally is demonstrating at all times. Very much like Jan Restorff does is at Sölleröd Kro.

Our of my memory of the evening I have the following conclusion to the visit. Book now.

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