Posts tagged ‘Fine Dining’
Reinstoff is a restaurant in Berlin which had just received two Michelin stars. On a roadtrip back from Poland a couple of months ago I was in Berlin. We were running late to the train station from our initial planning and I had singled out reinstoff as the place where I’d go (after ditching my travelling partners) for lunch. I rushed over there with the iPhone guiding me only to find out that they’re closed for lunch… was I ever disappointed. So when I came back to Berlin for a couple of days this was the first restaurant on my list of must see. I had reserved a table for two, but my fellow food blogger had stood me up and I guess I was like the classic myth of a Guide Michelin tester, single man having reserved for two and then showing up alone. Before you get the menu a selection of small, salty tapas is presented to the diner. The duck liver between dry & crispy duck skin almost reminded a bit of Noma’s sandwich and the herbal iced tea lollipop was a funny way to start a dinner. What followed was a wild succession of dishes which offered superior flavours, interesting techniques and even ingredients that were new to me. I’m not going to ratlle off every individual detail of every dish. The ones I liked best were potato harvest (a potato variety) and the oyster with peas & pistacchio ice cream. The food felt very german avantgarde since the intellectual density and the absence of redundancy due to an enormouse concentration of information in every dish was exceptional. The dish I liked the least were the snails with wheatgrass, papadam and mushrooms. I think reinstoff clearly qualifies as a must-visit for anyone enjoying a sensual and intellecutal relationship with food. It’s an experience you won’t forget that quickly and it does away with the feeling of pity you get when you enter an average german supermarket, which sports sausages in jars and idustrial baked bread. reinstoff is a beacon of light and is the cornerstone of a radical development of a new understanding of food in the bustling german captial. I wish we had a place like this in Zurich. Prices where very steep (consider I spent 30 Euros on beer for the kitchen). A funny story I’d like to share was when I got into the taxi outside, I told the cab to take me to a bar (this was a tuesday night). He asked me if I meant a bar with girls and I replied “sure”. After a couple of minutes I’m put off by his smile and it begins to dawn on me. Awkwardly clearing my throat I tell him, that I didn’t mean a brothel but wouldn’t mind if the bar he’s taking me wasn’t an all male affair. After all this is the gay capital of germany. He laughs at me and says it was good that I spoke up, because he was taking me to an gentlemen adult entertainment facility and was glad I corrected our misunderstanding before we got there. He dropped me off at Savigny Platz, where I grabbed a good night cup at the Zwiebelfish.
What is true joy? Walking into the Restaurant at the Dolder, realizing your the only one in the room, being shown to a table where you can see the Glarner Alps and the Uetliberg plus upon request being handed a NZZ to complement the Blick. Having a flat in Zurich (and so far not having been ejected by a certain female companion over a different understanding of tidiness) I’ve no idea what it is to stay in a hotel in Switzerland’s biggest city. But looking at the dining room at the Restaurant, I’m sure it’s a seriously nice experience. I’ll cut right to the chase, still on holiday and having started my day with a run in the early morning, followed by a rerun of Frauentausch, I treated myself to a Gin Tonic. Now I’m not sure if modern sports medicine has caught on to the trend of Gin Tonic after exercising, but it makes you feel great. Such is the destiny of living on the border of scientific avantgarde. Being not short of time I opt for the five course amuse bouche menu. The amuse bouche to the amuse bouche menu had a very memorable egg with truffles, I was thrilled and the waiter brought me a second one, since he sensed my enthusiasm. Call me bribable or a sucker for freebies, I call it excellent services. As always in these places a selection of bread was presented together with four different spreads. The best one was the most simplistic, pure organic butter, layered finger thick on a still warm piece of bread. To be honest, It doesn’t make sense to list every tidbit served, it’s a fun way of dining, receiving three little intricate dishes with every course for you to taste and try. Personally I’m not a big fan of the sweet orgy which follows after the savoury dishes. Interesting was the red wine ice cream which was served towards the end. Noteable mention were the two gentlemen entering for lunch themselves in the middle of my meal. One of the “blokes” was wearing a track suit…. It seems I wore a suit for nothing…. The other negative thing was, that they serve Hildon mineral water – very tacky to import water with an abundant supply available locally. Of course it was over the top for a lunch in terms of price. If you figure the work that goes into the food, the level of service, quite frankly the 98 CHF for the menu is good value, and if you stick to tap water you won’t rack up something like this:
Continuing our series of Saturday lunch outings, we headed to Andre Jaeger’s Fischerzunft. It actually has a very nice dining room, comfy and classic, an air of grandeur and a bit of Grand Hotel charm can be felt. Something which always startles me if they serve you an amuse bouche before handing you the menu. Ever since I’ve ran into a scam in younger years in a tourist trap, I go into full battle mode, the same way you would do in sleazy strip joints in Eastern Europe if suddenly a bottle of champagne appears on the table. The maitre de reassured me that we will get a proper menu after our amuse bouche and I was able to relax. Gluttony is my favourite sin and I attempt to commit it on a very regular basis. We opted for the menu and added another dish, some Langoustines with fried vermicelli. Look at the pictures and compare it to Didier de Courten. Mr. Jaeger’s artistic line is much less strict, more flowery and elaborate but beautiful and special, just look at the pictures. On the second amuse bouche a truly perfect green asparagus and a piece of salmon were served. Never have I eaten such a perfectly cooked and slightly sweet asparagus. This simple piece of greenery showed perfectly what can be achieved if you buy absolute top quality food and prepare it expertly (taking into account about 25 steps instead of 3 as you would at home). You’ll find yourself balking at anything else you get in normal restaurants if you oversaturate yourself with Michelin star places… The most interesting dish was the duo of lobster served in two glasses. One was upside down filled with black tea smoke around a lobster navarin, really displeasing, the flavours were off and the smoke a joke at best but it certainly didn’t add to the experience. On the other hand the lobster cocktail was perfect. A combination of lobster tiered with an advanced adaption of a cocktail sauce and a biscuit like layer inbetween. You got the creamy- and crunchyness as well as the distinct lobster taste and texture. I’m not sure if this is the Ying and Yang concept of having a screwed up and a faboulous bit of food on the same plate. The dish which made me chuckle was the intepretation of roesti and eggs with some Vacherin cheese. Quite frankly, Mr. Jaeger’s roesti is nice but it isn’t stellar. Such a comfort food must be done in larger portions, I’m here to try the sea urchin sauce and necessarily the roesti. He took a risk on that dish and it only played out partly. The funniest thing were the other guests in the place, a gay couple around 50, celebrating the birthday of one of the gentlemen. It became quite clearly who was the wife and who was the husband in this group. The elder of the two kept ordering for both of them. It’s very strange if a 50 year old grown man states that Mr. So-and-so will be having this and that as if Mr. So-and-so was an 8 year old boy…
Moving over to the salon, where smoking is allowed, there is a huge cognac bottle held in some kind of tipping contraption to pour for guests. Only Mr. Jaeger is allowed to operate this machinery and the price for a glass is rather steep with 36 CHF. Speaking of prices, even if you only stick to tap water the hit is rather steep, and I once again let censorship prevail:
So I had dinner here on Saturday the 11th and on Monday the 13th it was announced that Sankt Meinrad has 15 Gault Millau points (plus one from 14) and is the hottest up and coming restaurant in Switzerland. Therefore I’m uploading the article out of turn and I still stand by my opinion:
I heard excellent things about this place Sankt Meinrad just next to the Greulich. Rumors were flying around that it’s about to get its first Michelin star and that a massive increase over the current 14 Gault Millau points was just around the corner. So naturally I was very excited to turn up on the doorstep and enter the restaurant. For dinner there are two options either the tasting menu with or without matching wines (your choice of 0.5 dl or 1 dl per course) or choosing of a selection of about a dozen of individual courses. My expectations got raised when I was told about the snack in front of us. Two Grissinis one with sepia and the other one with saffron were accompanied with parmeggiano meringues and a small sryinge filled with smoked oil. Drizzling the oil on the meringue gave it a really nice flavor and I was getting horny for more. But something also got me thinking. By matching the plates to the courses (eg. Grissini holes and meringue drops) on the pre-amuse-bouche, I wasn’t to sure what to expect next. The amuse-bouche was 100% overboard. A custom-made contraption with three dangling items, one a spoon over a shot glass of tomato foam with aubergine soup and two small plates dangling of thin chains. One was holding a metal toothpick with a crispy fish ball (salmon and something else) over a grape and sauerkraut, while the other one was a dried meat over a walnut mousse. Is your head spinning? Mine was – the amuse bouche was way to complex and I didn’t like the combinations. The aubergine soup was bland, the tomato foam was okay. The other two dishes didn’t connect – sauerkraut and fish ? Walnutpuree was just to desserty for the dried meat to do any good. But hey – I was thrilled playing with dangling plates.
Next was a duck liver terrine with toasted brioche, fresh almonds and almond puree. The duck liver was accompanied with Centenario Crudo which is a type of chocolate. The taste of the duck liver with the chocolate was excellent. The crunchy sugary taste of the chocolate matched the rich and fatty taste of the liver. I didn’t care for the almond stuff on the plate. The portion as a whole was too large, the terrine literally was a huge cone. Now I’m a big eater but I had to leave a part of it left over since it was just too much. In places like this I alway order two appetizers since I want to sample a broad range of dishes. The poached egg was served on pumpkin spaetzle with bacon foam and straw. The waitress asked me wether I’d liked the dish, I hesitated and had to say no. The spaetzle were oversalted and the bacon foam was plain ridiculous and out of place. Bacon straw and poached egg were okay. Moving on to my main I had the same type of wild boar I had at Stef’s a week earlier, this time it was cooked with Kerala pepper, served with rocket salad (senf kohl), pomegranate sauce and polenta rolls. I love boar but this one was simply overcooked. Pomegranate sauce is something I’m personally not too fond of and the rocket salad was again too salty. The real idiotic thing was the polenta roll which literally was a spring roll filled with some polenta. I only ate one of the two, since I didn’t care about its taste and thought it to be an incredible overfussy way of serving polenta. We skipped deserts and had a coffee, which was accompanied by an impressive plate of friandises – chocolate mousse, candied fruits on a toothpick, and two two types of chocolates. Seldomly have I been so upset and churned up after a meal as the one I had here. I was tossing in my bed and thinking through the whole evening I had there and I came to a simple conclusion. The team at Sankt Meinrad is trying too hard, their food is overcomplex and fussy, they seem to put more emphasis on trying to impress diners with frills instead of the food. The cook is coming up with overconceptual dishes instead of focusing on the food, which is lacking quality in execution. Getting a Guide Michelin star doesn’t mean 17 components on a plate and if you don’t believe it try something from a Gordon Ramsay restaurant (who was just awarded his 12th Michelin Star for his place called London in NY). Comparing the wild boar I had here to the one at Stef’s, Stef’s wins hands down, because it was simpler, more focused and better executed and in the end it was the much better dish. I don’t see this place getting close to a Michelin star. They seem to be putting in a tremendous amount of effort but parts of it in vain. The other thing which struck me strange, that with a friandise offering so large, whose actually going to order a dessert ? Prices are okay (upper range), but if they do get a star (which again would be a huge surprise to me) they’ll rise rapidly: