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:
Travemünde has more to offer than the fabulous two star La Belle Epoque where chef Kevin Fehling is at the forefront of a new generation of young German to be aware of. Literally across the street, the A-Rosa Grand SPA Resort and its gourmet restaurant Buddenbrooks offer a quite different take on fine dining, yet not necessarily a worse one.
Here, Christian Scharrer impressively proves that he is back on the block, maybe even stronger than ever. After his formidable time at the Schloßhotel Bühlerhöhe where he was awarded 18 points in the Gault Millau and also elected chef of the year 2005 he somehow needed a break in the Frankfurt Airport Club before he started at the AROSA two years ago.
Another great chef from Baden, Scharrer grew up with his grandparents having a local restaurant (“Gasthaus”) and a small farm so that his way into gastronomy was kind of pre-determined. A couple of important chefs are on his CV: his first post was at the Colombi hotel in Freiburg where Alfred Klink served as a tough but technically very elaborate and advanced master. He moved on to work for Jörg Müller in Sylt and, most importantly, as a sous-chef of Harald Wohlfahrt at the Schwarzwaldstube to name just the most important stints he served. So, utmost precision and product excellence can be expected…
Buddenbrooks is located in the Lübeck room of the former Kurhaus which is now part of the AROSA complex: huge and impressive at first sight but still comfortable and not intimidating, for me a place to feel at home immediately. But, I have to admit I am big fan of Jugendstil interior with high ceilings, stucco and the like…
Since September 2009 Munich has a new culinary hotspot: Innegrit Volkhardt, owner of the prestigious Hotel Bayerischer Hof immensely invested in the redesign of the former Garden restaurant and established a new Fine Dining restaurant called Atelier” and appointed Steffen Mezger, previously the chef the cuisine at the Garden restaurant, to lead both restaurants. Very quickly, this new venue won its first accolades with the first star in November 2010 and 17 points in the Gault Millau. Moreover, many foodie friends and some Facebook pictures told me that the cuisine is modern and interesting – so a visit was obviously mandatory☺
This is not one of these usual reviews about one specific menu in a restaurant – it’s praise for someone whose cooking emotionally moves me every time I dine there.
Someone who lets me participate in a revelatory and contemplative dining experience…
Someone who demonstrates that we leverage only a small percentage of the full spectrum of potential ingredients and flavors and that vegetables and herbs offer so much potential for enriching our cooking…
Someone who grows his own vegetables and treats them with utmost respect and immense knowledge…
Someone whose ideas and aroma combinations are singular…
Someone who is passionate about his cooking and takes no prisoners when it comes to product and execution quality…
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 noma we took a large taxi back into mid-town Copenhagen to experience MR – Mads Refslund’s fine restaurant.
MR (thanks to FoodSnob)
I had eaten there before is temporary closure in April 2009 and must admit that I enjoyed it very much, especially his burnt field dish where Mads shows that odour is an important part of the overall ‘tasting’ experience of a dish. In essence, Mads’ cuisine is very similar to noma as he was part of the first hour noma team after René and Claus started the project. After six months the friends did realize that they couldn’t work very well together and departed in friendship. In 2005, an investor offered Mads the chance to open his own venture MR. After this investor went bankrupt in the beginning of 2009, he had to close MR in April and reopened it as a seafood restaurant end of June 2009.
Oysters and sake (thanks Trine)
As the timing at Herman was perfect we could catch up on time… The sommelier of Herman escorted us through Tivoli to The Paul.
As Tivoli is closed in Winter so is The Paul. But chef Paul Cunningham wanted to be part of our tour so he opened the restaurant especially for us – quite nice. Normally he is doing lots of catering and in-house private dining events in Winter and seems to get new inspirations for the upcoming summer season.
Chef Paul Cunningham
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.
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…
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)…
£48 for a five course Michelin star menu – Andy Hayler has shown us how this works in last Sunday’s Telegraph issue. But, you have to travel quite a bit back and forth in the UK (637 miles to be precise). Fuel bill added on top this might not be a true bargain…
In the end, this is exactly what I am after when not hunting down stellar culinary treasures – I want good to very good food at a reasonable price, maybe not for every day but for every other. Therefore I start a new category which will include some hidden gems with a very good price-quality relationship and regionally inspired cuisine.
To start with here’s one of my favourite restaurants in Germany: Landgasthof Adler in Rosenberg. Well, whereas many German foodies know this place I guess not that many have been there due to the somehow remote location about 90 minutes from Stuttgart.
Situated in a former post station* in Rosenberg the Adler was sold to the church in near Ellwangen in 1468 and belongs to the Bauer family since 1858. Josef Bauer took over the Landgasthof in 1972 and renovated the Adler step-by-step now exactly signaling the marriage of traditionalism and modernism.
After parking the car (hard to reach with public transportation) next to the Linde tree in front of the house (planted in 1877) one enters a special world as immediately after stepping in one is exposed to a rather modern room in pure white to the left. Then an old stairway reminds you again of the rather old building. One level up bright colours spring to your eye as the hall has been painted mostly in green in combination with blue which is continued in the first dining room (Professor Alfred Lutz’ handwriting, a local designer). Note that there is no tablecloth on the white lacquer tables – I still somehow struggle with that. But in a sense it is pure and straightforward (like the cuisine).
There is a second dining room in pure white with black Bauhaus chairs (with tablecloth) mostly used on busy weekends.