The Haeberlin family and their restaurant Auberge de L’Ill is a culinary monument carrying three stars since 1967. Generations of chefs have been trained by Paul Haeberlin who died last year in May at the age of 84. A big chapeau for his lifework!
Our experience? Well, it was Spring and we had the pleasure to have our champagne outside on the terrace with an amazing view on the Ill. It looks like they have created this postcard romantic especially for the restaurant. Across the river there was a small boat and some fisherman and we really wondered how much they get paid for being so authentic.
On the inside they have modernized the ambience in 2007 – now it is really a benchmark location – just have a look here.
I opted for the Menu Haeberlin – six courses for €148 and exchanged the lamb main for ris de veau. As a first course I had Le cocktail de chair de tourteau, guacamole, mousse légère d’oursin et gelée de crabe. This was probably one of the best cold starters I had so far. Different textures, light sweetness (the gucacamole), acidity and amazingly fresh elements and a rich and intense crab gelee on the bottom made this dish really outstanding.
Second course was another benchmark: Le filet de sandra poêlé, risotto de riz rouge aus grenouilles, jus d’herbes à l’oseille. A perfect zander, crisp on the outside and amazingly tender on the inside accompanied with a wonderful risotto of frog’s legs (earthy, meaty) and a fresh jus of herbs (mainly sorrel). So, great cooking does not need modern techniques but outstanding products, utmost care and precision and some idea of creating some suspense on the plate – whether in textures or flavours. Excellent to outstanding.
Then, the Asian element: Le foie d’oie chaud mariné au sukiyaki, bouillon de poule corsé, parfumé aux feuilles de shizo. Well, after the bird flu the quality of foie to be served warmed or roasted has deteriorated. Nevertheless, this was a nice modern iluustration of how to treat foie. Crisp, slightly caramellized on the outside and not to fluffy or hard on the interior it was perfect, but the quality itself was not equal to the outstanding roated foie I had at L’Arnsbourg the year before. The pairing itself was sublime and the very good chicken bouillon could stand the strong foie whereas the shizo slightly kissed the whole dish. Excellent.
My main was dissappointing I have to say – I had ris de veau with chantarelles and potato puree. Looking at the plate there was hint about this being served in a three star restaurant. The sweetbread was too well done and the topping (I forgot what it was) almost ruined the dish.
But my collegue got another benchmark: veal with morels and white asparagus. Woah nelly, this was good. The meat was so tender of an astonishing quality – a classic dish which cannot be made better. Outstanding.
Dessert were on the lower end – nice in presentation but really at three star level. I experienced that before and a new patissier would do…
Would I go back? Surely as it created some memorable moments. But, it doesn’t warrant a trip only to this restaurant – if you are around you should go but planning a tour for the Auberge would be too much. Yes, cooking is classic there but I have the feeling that the transition between the more modern dishes and classics is not yet done. So this makes this place to put on the watchlist.