L’Ambrosie – an Ode to Perfection

Sometimes, life could be sooo easy. Reserve at L’Ambrosie in Paris, board a train from Frankfurt in the morning and then indulge in one of the best culinary experiences this planet can offer…

Wait, there was this Astrance happening the night before. Clearly a mistake in hindsight, but nevertheless another experience. We literally walked off the blues and got a good sleep, woke up and could already feel the suspense crawling up.

Arriving at the Place des Vogues is like entering another world within Paris. Here the city has patina, a perfect place for a restaurant like L’Ambrosie. A bit ancient, a bit old-school, deliberately tugged away from the masses, an address for the establishment, for regulars (people visiting the restaurant a few times per week!) – so French, so Paris…

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Astrance (Nov18) – you cannot be serious!

Sometimes you encounter those rare moments where you are just puzzled what just had happened. Stepping out in a beautiful but a bit chilly Autumn night this last November we couldn’t help but wonder whether this surrealistic theatre had been indeed real. Was there a hidden camera?

No-one came following us and uplifted the masquerade… Looking at the bill that amounted to 740€ for two 6-course meals with a more than mediocre wine pairing made me realize that this was not a dream – this was the second worst three star meal ever – only to be topped by Sant Celoni back in 2008.

To be fair, Pascal Bardot is a visionary chef – he basically was the first to break with the conventions of the great posh houses and tried to do ‘his’ thing. After years with Alain Passat at L’Arpege he opened Astrance in 2000. Less formal in a cosy setting tugged away in a quiet side-street, he served a carte blanche menu from the beginning and was an instant success – people came raving, the restaurant was constantly booked-out and indeed was awarded the third star in 2007. My first lunch there in 2009 was good and solid at three star level, but our recent dinner was merely one star level, if at all. Rightfully so, the Guide Rouge retracted the third star in his 2019 edition.

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Frantzén: the Future of Fine Dining

Exterior: a rather ‘normal’ house

With his new restaurant, Björn Frantzén has fulfilled a dream for himself and his guests of rebuilding and staging an entire house from the ground up as a place for culinary encounters. Everything is from the same mould, the hosts show an authentic friendliness and an irrepressible desire for their ‘work’, which all in all creates an extremely harmonious overall experience. After a warm welcome in the foyer with a dry-aging wardrobe and musical crescendo, you drive up to the living room to relax, have an aperitif (what a superb selection of open champagnes, all of which are explained in great detail) and enjoy the first small snacks. Frantzén focuses but is not limited to local products to offer the very best from far and near.

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Three Stars go to…. MAAEMO!

Very seldom I have been more enthusiastic about a meal, my one and (sadly) only time (so far) at Maaemo in Oktober 2014 was stellar in every respect – fantastic company, chef’s table and an outstanding meal accompanied by great (honestly insane) wines…

So, today, Maaemo received its third star – well deserved and rightly so. So, time to sit back and let my impressions from this meal speak… ENJOY – can’t wait to be back!

It’s authentic, honest, driven by curiosity, telling a story, emotional, and all tastes simply OMG!

MAAEMO welcomes you!
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Snacks to start with

Nyr from Grandalen farm with vendace roe
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Savories and sweeties:

Emulsion of raw Norwegian oysters from Bomlo with a mussel an dill sauce
A classic - a signature
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Maaemo
Schweigaardsgt. 15b
0191 Oslo Norway
Phone:  +47 221 79 969
Web: www.maaemo.no
Mail: booking@maaemo.no
Opening Times:

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Klaus Erfort – Purism at Its Best

It’s been a long time since I last visited the Gästehaus Erfort in Saarbrücken, and in my view the changes are subtle but nevertheless fundamental. To be sure, the wonderful Saarberg Villa is still a gem, especially in Summer when it allows you to start the meal on the fantastic terrace. Also, the service under mâitre Jerôme Pourchère works seamless but also with great respect for the diner and authentically warm-hearted. But Klaus Erfort himself, despite his other projects like the Hotel Fuchs oder the Schlachthof Brasserie, he is really ‘present’ in the kitchen and has further refined his own style: first and foremost it’s puristic, it is sooo focused that the flavors are razor sharp and one cannot augment or reduce the dish, it’s near perfection.

Gästehaus Erfort
The entrance to the villa
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Restaurant Tim Raue – Unique!

I am a fan. Period. I am a big fan of Tim Raue since his days at 44 in the Swissotel, MA in the Adlon complex and now at Restaurant Tim Raue. His cuisine evolved gradually towards a very idiosyncratic cuisine – today, there are few high-end restaurants with this definite style and overall philosophy. In a nutshell, his cuisine is an assemblage of Chinese flavors, Thai aromas and Japanese product philosophy whereas he curtailed the previously sometimes too spicy accents, allowing him to elaborate his intricate sweet-sour dialogues to even greater advantage.

Tim Raue (copyright Wolfgang Stahr)

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Gustav – Authentic-Regional and Yummy

Frankfurt – When Milica and Matthias Scheiber announced to open a second restaurant after their first venture Weinsinn turned out to be a tremendous success expectations were clearly high. Despite the fact that bistronomic concepts are still quite rare in German, the Scheibers did not just clone their Weinsinn but opted for a family concept, with the younger brother Gustav being more progressive in design and more down-to-earth in its clearly regional philosophy.

Hello Gustav

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OAD Dinner (Top100 European Restaurants)

Some stories are there to be told…

… the PAST: one about my personal history with OAD (Opinionated about Dining)…

… the PRESENT: one about the friendship and professionalism of seven chefs serving the OAD Top100 European Restaurants 2014 diner in Brussels last Monday…

… the FUTURE: and, finally, one about the future of fine dining that already shined through at the OAD diner…

The PAST

When I started to get interested in fine dining in a serious way I came across some forums that discussed the latest trends, shared experiences and gave advice from an international perspective. Among them was Steve Plotnicki’s Opinionated about Dining where I found similar minds to share my passion. It was here that, in 2005, I posted about German fine dining and asked why no-ones writes about the German scene. Steve answered that there is nobody to promote those restaurants and the consensus was that German fine dining was a mere copy of French haute cuisine. So, as a matter of fact my whole blogging mission was born out of this OAD threat as I want to showcase and portrait the German fine dining scene, first on the site highendFOOD (that miraculously now belongs to the you-know-who of the German culinary world) and now under this new endeavor culinary-insights.de.

OAD Top100 European Restaurants.

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Amador 2014 – Impressive!

Juan Amador is one of Germany’s greatest chefs. Naturally so, you could think, as he carries three prestigious Michelin stars. But, there is more to it – he is emotional, controversial, thought-provoking and strives for perfection. Moreover, his cooking shows a unique handwriting… Let’s see how he is doing these days….

After the closure of his Langen restaurant, he moved his whole team to Mannheim in August 2011 where he had been operating his second restaurant Amesa. Located in the former Schildkröt area, the restaurant is a bit hidden and only accessible via the Metro parking lot. Entering from there the restaurant is in the left right corner…

Enter the Amador world…

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Carmelo Greco – the best Italian ‘place’ in Germania?

Don’t you have that single restaurant where you always feel at home? People taking care of you? Splendid food? Yes, I think everyone of us foodies has that second living room, somehow, somewhere.

Mine is fortunately in Frankfurt, my hometown. It’s an Italian ‘place’, well, Italian in the best sense when it comes to hospitality with natural warmth. It’s Carmelo Greco’s new Ristorante in Sachsenhausen:

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