The CPH Crawl (II): Herman

After a short cab ride through snowy Copenhagen (and finishing off our brilliant doggy bags) we arrived at the hotel Nimb at the Tivoli where the one star Restaurant Herman is located. The Nimb is clearly one of the best hotels in town and had been reopened as the New Nimb in May 2008 along with its gourmet restaurant Herman. Soon in 2009 Herman did receive its first Michelin star.

Thomas Herman

Chef Thomas Herman was born in Jutland and worked at Kong Hans, Arzak and La Broche in Madrid. He stresses that the recollection of memories is an important aspect of tasting of a particular dish – he plays with the emotions of the diner by re-interpretations of traditional Danish and Nordic dishes. This is appealing to me – memories of previous encounters with a certain dish or flavour combinations evoke emotions and add another dimension to the dining experience. So, I was ready to experience Thomas’ cuisine…

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The CPH Crawl (I): Kiin Kiin

It’s been some time – but my memories are still so vivid. It was great fun – and not only that – it was also unusual, surprising and entertaining. Unusual because six diners visited six restaurants in the course of one night in one city (well, not really as Holte is not part of CPH). Surprising because some dishes were clearly pushing the border. Entertaining because I had great company and discussed many insights on the culinary scene with them (you know what I mean)…

First stop: Kiin Kiin

A Thai restaurant to start a crawl about Danish/Nordic food… Most surprising but in the course of our first hour there it became very clear why it had to part of the evening.Kiin Kiin is located in Nørrebro which was rather known for occupied houses and street riots. When Henrik Yde-Andersen who had worked as a chef in Thailand for some years was looking for a place for a restaurant together with his business partner Lertchai Treetawatchaiwong this young and upcoming district seemed natural. They opened Kiin Kiin which means ‘eat-eat’ or ‘come and eat’ in Thai in September 2006. Soon in 2007 they were awarded a Michelin star – another surprising point as there are not that many Thai restaurants in the Guide Rouge to my knowledge (well, there is only Nahm in London)…

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The Copenhagen Crawl is Coming Up

When I started reading the international food forums and blogs I almost immediately stumbled on Steve Plotnickis’ Opinionated About – the first post I read was about Steve’s brilliant dinner at Oud Sluis which forced me to go there this very year. A couple of posts later I read that chef Sergio Herman of this very restaurant had called Steve and asked for advice where to eat in New York. Finally, this ended up in Steve arranging the first restaurant crawl with him and Sergio eating at various important NYC restaurants on one night.

A bit later Steve met Jay Rayner who was about to write his book “The man who ate the world” and they discussed whether Jay could follow Steve while he was dining in New York. Inspired by the crawl with Sergio Steve finally proposed a NYC restaurant crawl in search for the perfect meal. The idea is simple: just assemble some of the best restaurants in town, think about their strength & weaknesses and then visit them one after the other which each serving some of the signature dishes. Setting is up, however, turns to be less that easy as Steve reported.

Since these 2007 events attention of the global food scene has moved north to Copenhagen where noma is maybe the brightest star and has a couple of very interesting brothers and sisters which are important in their own right (too bad that Geranium has closed their doors). So, quite naturally, Copenhagen would be ideal for a crawl and Laurent (from Gastros-on-Tour) and Trine (from Very Good Food) arranged the Copenhagen crawl: one city – one dinner – six guests – six restaurants…

The restaurant line-up for Feb 4:

– 17:45 : Kiin Kiin * –
– 18:30 : Herman * –
– 19:30 : The Paul * –
– 20:30 : Noma ** –
– 21:30 : MR * –
– 22:45 : Sollerod Kro * –

The foodie line-up:

– Very Good Food (Danish food blogger)
– High-End-Food (me;-))
– Food Intelligence (French food blogger)
– Opinionated About Dining (US food blogger and restaurant guide owner)
– Gastros on Tour (French food blogger)
– (Belgian restaurant webguide)

It will be very interesting to see how these restaurants show us their aspects of Nordic cuisine, how the different styles and dishes interact and complement each other and how the overal nordic ‘movement’ presents itself…

Stay tuned – besides on Facebook coverage will be provided on each blog…

Maison Troisgros

France has a rich culinary tradition – shining names like Carême, Escoffier and the protagonists of Nouvelle Cuisine (most importantly Michel Guérards und Fernand Point) have left most important marks on Haute Cuisine all around the world. Michelin and Gault-Millau are the guidebooks for any foodie… And, there are places of culinary pilgrimage with a long tradition, most notably L’Auberge de l’Ill (the third star sind 1967), Maison Troisgros (three stars since 1968) and Maison Pic (where three consecutive generations were awarded three stars). Truly impressive, given that outside of France Winkler held three stars for highest number of years…

My affection and love for these ‘great houses’ began in Alsace at the Auberge de L’Ill where the atmosphere, the pride of the culinary heritage, the dedication to the diner and, most strikingly, the implicitness of being top-notch without being arrogant was just impressive. The whole gastronomic theatre is celebrated in the best possible way. For me, the overall experience was just moving.

Being infected with this virus I planned to visit the other ‘great houses’ to see whether they can live up to their reputation and manage to create special moments. Last autumn I finally got the opportunity to do so… Somehow I feel that a report about my lunch at Maison Troisgros should come first…

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In de Wulf – A Kind of Magic

The Flemish Primitives are coming up – this urgently reminds me that I owe you some reports on my Belgium/NL trip end of last summer. Although I have written about the Service à Six Mains at In de Wulf, the restaurant itself very well deserves its own post to provide deeper insights into the philosophy of Kobe Desramaults and his team.

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Looking Ahead (I): The Flemish Primitives

I am excited – lots of culinary delights are forthcoming this year. Planning for the first quarter is nearly finalized – although there are so many backlog posts from last year. Unfortunately, my time is rather limited recently – but I promise to report on my latest delights – France/Paris was the focus of last the second half of last year. Oh, and Belgium/NL. And some fine meals in Germany. And some very disappointing experiences as well. In places absolutely not expected…

Coming up – I am very much looking forward to attend a fantastic event – The Flemish Primitives. This convention – taking place the second time in Brugge on February 8 (see Laurent’s account on last year’s event) – wants to reinvigorate the spirit of the ‘Flemish Primitives’ of the 15th and 16th century, a movement of painters who got inspired from techniques from other art disciplines. In this sense this years focus is on fruitful collaboration of some of the best Flemish chefs and their guests with leading food research institutions. Back to the future of cooking – a very good motto I must say.

The interesting thing is that I like the modern Flemish cuisine because of both its authenticity rooted in local traditions and products and its modernity. So, we won’t see technology for technology’s sake – but I guess a modern and thoughtful enhancement of the regional spirit. Well, let’s wait and see. Can’t wait, actually…

The Frankfurt Files (V): Silk/Micro

Fond of electro, techno and house music? Ever heard of the DJ legend Sven Väth? If yes, the Cocoon Club in Frankfurt should be immediately on your mind. If no, but you are food-interested, or maybe a real foodie, you should definitely add this location due its fabulous restaurants Silk and Micro where Mario Lohninger is both chef de cuisine and host… Restaurants in a club, hmmm…

Here the story goes: Sven Väth planned the whole Cocoon project for about three years, got to know Mario when he was chef de cuisine at Danube in New York and then, on Mario’s 30th birthday, Sven’s wife asked Mario whether he wanted to head the restaurants in the new Cocoon Club. This was the starting point of a quite unique gastronomic project.

The Restaurant(s)

Silk is a bed restaurant – a bit inspired by the Supperclub in Amsterdam and the Bed Supper Club in Bangkok. But, to be honest, none of these is so consistent in its approach as Silk and offers Michelin-starred cuisine. Wait, Michelin has awarded a star to Silk (early in 2006), a restaurant without proper tables, proper table cloths and high-end cutlery and porcelain – in Germany?


When it comes to fine dining I am usually somehow conservative in that I very much prefer tables where I can sit and eat properly. But Silk is more than just a restaurant – it is an oasis, a state of mind. It is a place to feel at home, to relax and to abide with all the quarrels of each day. It is even intimate for a romantic and cosy dinner…

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Michelin 2010 Germany – Consolidation?

An anniversary year for Michelin in Germany – the 100th edition. So, time for ground-breaking news? What is very apparent from the stats is that Germany has seen a rather promising development since Juliane Caspar had taken over in 2004 – including the loss of the third for Winkler and Bourgueil, the promotion of Wissler (2005), Bau (2006), Amador, Erfort, Lumpp (2008) and finally Elverfeld in 2009. Moreover, a couple of young and unconventional restaurants received the second star (alone five new ones in 2008). Now, Mrs Caspar heads the Guide Rouge in France (scandale!) and her deputy Flinkenflügel has taken over.

Michelin Stars in Germany

Michelin Stars in Germany

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Thomas Bühner – It’s about Time

It was about time to revisit Thomas Bühner’s La Vie in Osnabrück. My last meal there in December last year was on a very high level yet with some weaker moments, especially on the dessert side. But it showed a clear tendency towards higher laurels, namely the third star. In this year Bühner hired Frederik Robert, a new pastry chef, and had Jürgen Dollase present very promising new dishes in a recent issue of Port Culinaire. So, we went…

Thomas Bühner

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Christian Bau – The Gourmet Vision

What is a vision? Apart from its medical meaning it could be a long-term goal (in management – where does my company want to be in 10 years?), an inspirational experience (in spiritual terms) or a hallucination (a vivid conscious perception in the absence of a stimulus).

Now, infamous German food critique Jürgen Dollase collaborates with important German chefs to elaborate seminal menus which should open up a new world for all senses: the Gourmet Vision series to appear in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in loose sequence. In describing its objective Dollase points out that “besides technical mastery it is the magnetism of a new idea, of the unknown, the very touch of discovery and novelty which transfers us into a state of pure ‘degustation’ ” (some kind of culinary frenzy, I suppose;-)). So, it is likely that he refers to a rather spiritual experience. I will come back to that.

The new Gourmet Vision has a well-known protagonist: Christian Bau. Dollase approached him to work on a “Japanese” menu as a natural continuation and culmination of Bau’s already taken path (already obvious in the last 18+ months or so).

Bau fingerzeig

Where is the Vision?

So, I went to Schloss Berg immediately. To see what new dishes Bau had produced. To see how far Bau can go without giving up his so carefully developed style. To see whether it has sustainable elements which might be able to show us a glimpse of future cooking.

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