Sometimes it is just a pleasure to literally watch how a chef develops. Almost in slow-motion, dishes pass by and tell a story of modernization, of self-discovery… Like a sculptor a chef needs time to set his unique picture, his style free.
At Français in Frankfurt, Patrick Bittner is a fine example how this evolution can actually happen. Having dined there in regular intervals (and increasing frequency I have to admit) one observation is clear cut: whereas his cuisine in 2008/9 was very good but rather classic the first star in November 2008 was a big turning point and milestone in his development. Bittner had been working towards this goal for some years – so the moment of liberation was quite substantial.
How has this impacted on Patrick Bittner’s cuisine?
After the Guides had been out it was clearly time to revisit the Restaurant Français at the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, the only Grand Hotel in Frankfurt. After the hotel and the restaurant have been renovated before the Soccer World Championship in 2006 Patrick Bittner, the chef de cusine at Français, had been cooking with new esteem but the brigade and very much the atmosphere stayed the same.
We made a short-hand reservation and were surprised that a new face greeting us as both mâitre and sommelier. Mr Walter comfortably led us through the evening…
Classic but nevertheless with a modern touch the new Français is far brighter compared to the old interior. It is clearly positioned as a business restaurant with a reasonable lunch offering and opening times only during the week. The audience is truly international – a good showcase of the diversity of Frankfurt’s guests… This clearly limits the array of culinary adventures a chef could possibly create here. Just keep that in mind when reading about the menu. There is a clear need to serve this audience.