Posts tagged ‘Michelin’
What is my main strength in writing about my dining experiences? It’s my relative anonymity. This virtually guarantees that my dining experience is not going to be any different than yours. I’ve met with the Brian from the Dessertblog.ch and
we decided to go for dinner together at the Restaurant Tre in Bad Bubendorf. Little did I know that his approach was subtly different from mine, where I shine in blending into the surroundings, Brian shows up with a large photocamera, multiple umbrellas to direct the light and asks for a separate table to be setup, where he can take pictures of the food. Another aspect was the fact that he called ahead and announced our visit, leading the kitchen to do a special menu just for us, showing off the savoury and the sweet side of their cuisine. Naturally I was more inclined to test the savoury side of things. You’ll spot the difference in quality of the pictures, mine being taken with a mobile phone without any special lighting. On the savoury side I’d like to talk about a couple of dishes. The salmon variations were a crafty, tasty and well designed dish to ease into a meal. Each of the individual components showed craftsmanship, a modest touch to plating and a strong chef’s palate for balancing the flavours. Another one was caviar served on top of an egg, tartare and some potato soup. Personally I found it almost a tad overboarding in terms of the flavor profile (caviar, yolk, beef) and the fact that it was sitting in a soup I thought to be somewhat texturally offputting. I think the chef’s style again nicely surfaced in the main dish, which was a piece of venison, cranberry, celeriac puree and celery. Reduction to the max with a twist sums up the dish nicely. To me this really showed off why the place received a Michelin star. Moving on to desserts, I’ll leave most of the comments to Brian. I would like to call out the Warm chocolate cake with textures of the mandarine and the interpretation of chocolate, chestnuts and vanilla. Both dishes radiated elegance and sophistication, if an ice cream cone is Blues, then these represent Jazz music. Something which not only satisfies the sensory needs, but also the intellectual ones. Now to the big debate of the evening (and keep in mind, noone in the group new who I was) – the meal was essentially comped (on the house). Hence the whole affair was somewhat two-sided for me, the chef and his pastry chef obviously have tremendous talent and are at the top of their game, on the other hand this wasn’t quite your typical meal. On the other hand
without the skill and expertise in place, there’s not a chance that you’ll ever get food at this quality. This leaves me with only one option, I’ll have to go back again, this time alone and without someone lugging half a photo studio along. I was asked by a couple of people who’s responsible for the delicate food, Kay Baumgardt is the master pastry chef and overall responsability lies with head chef Gianluca Garigliano.
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.
Thornton’s restaurantis one of the classier places for fine dining in Dublin. They offer a lunch menu and since we couldn’t decide on which one to go for we decided to add another course from menu one to menu two. The dishes, wait staff and wine list matched what you would expect from a Michelin starred restaurant. The amuse bouche turned out to be the nicest dish in the whole lunch. It was a beautiful piece of red mullet. There was nothing to complain, a good showing of skill and understanding of ingredients. The most surprising dish, was the smoked quail egg which was served with the smoke under a glass. It tasted of the wooden thick smoke and when you bit into it the yolk deliciously flowed through our mouth. All dishes were nicely laid out, good in size for a multi-course meal and inviting to tuck into. I can recommend this restaurant for people looking for a fine dining experience with white tablecoths and a sommelier in Dublin. Prices:
If you’re ever interested in buying a cheap house, Wigoltingen seems to be good place. It doesn’t seem that the corporate real estate developers have discovered this part of Thurgau. Another nice perk is the Michelin starred Schäfli Wigoltingen which is run by Marlis und Wolfgang Kuchler. Arriving for a nice little lunch, we were seated outside between a small fountain and the old barn house. The first dish looked like it was lifted from the cover of the Betty Bossi magazine, it was a crepe roll with some fantastic tomatoes underneath, looks can be deceiving. The first course was a carpaccio, served on some joghurt with chives. A fantastic contrast was made by slightly roasted pine nuts which were drizzled on top. The slight bitterness and crunchiness of the nuts with the smooth and cool beef shows how there’s someone working here who knows his business. Main course was cod with king prawns with ginger sauce served in rosemary potato mash. Simple flavors, nicely executed. What really stood out were the perfectly cooked shrimp, I really enjoy if it has that slight tension to the cooked meat, while still radiating freshness. I wasn’t too thrilled about the cheese selection, one of them was a brie filled with truffle mascarpone, just plain tacky. The chocolate mousse had a silky complexion and a not too sweet chocolate taste, it almost matched my mother’s. The Schäfli is definetly worth a visit if you’re in the area, just make sure you’ve brought the XL wallet:
After literally weeks of trying I finally managed to secure a room and a table at the Schloss Schauenstein. Located in the Domleschg, you take the train to Thusis and the pickup service will drive you to Fürstenau where the Schloss Schauenstein is located. The place is pretty amazing, tastefully refurbished chateau, located on a small rise in the village, surrounded by houses and a small park. The rooms aren’t cheap but certainly are individual and elegant, like you’d expect it at a boutique hotel. Dinner starts by grabbing a drink in the dedicated bar room and snacking on some tibits prepared by the kitchen. If people ask me about fine dining and what makes it so excellent I fall back to the example of a beefsteak tartare with fries and a sauce. If you’re in a restaurant and one of the items is really good, you might actually remember the place. If two of the items are good you’ll think of coming back and if all three are great you’ll like the place and you would recommend the restaurant in question to your friends. Now in a top notch restaurant that beefsteak tartare with fries and sauce is just one small part of a group of components in a larger dish, but still matches the quality of that restaurant you would recommend. One of the tasty tibits was a tartare in a crunchy cornet (reminds me a bit of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry style) and nicely fits into the mentioned example. A lovely tartare, expertly seasoned matched by the crunchiness of the cornet makes this a perfect small bite. The love in every detail here is stunning and even though it looks like just a small cocktail snack, it’s simplicity and beauty are hard to match. And that was just one of the small bits served while you look at the menu and made up your mind. A nice touch is that with every dish you get a small card which says what you’re eating. The same cards explain in the bathroom the rationale behind “Fuck like a beast”…. The food is light, creative with impeccable detail and love. The favorite dish was a saibling. The only thing at this level which was a bit strange, was that the same herbs were reused multiple times (maybe a concession to winter) and the cheeses weren’t as exciting as I would have liked the to be, as an example a extra spicy (extra rezent) Lumbreiner has more Oomph than the selection here. Still this is my absolute, undisputed, new gourmet heaven in Switzerland. To let the evening slowly end, head up to the room with the fireplace, smoke a cigar, have a digestif and read a book. You’ll feel like at your imaginary grandparents place. Funny thing was that the next morning when Andreas Caminada himself drove us to the train station and I stated that his job must be tough, he just smiled at us and said yes, especially if you’re out until 4 AM and have to work again at nine. My kind of guy. Unfortunately not quite my kind of bill (I did order every course possible):
The number one restaurant in San Francisco is the Fleur de Lys run by Hubert Keller. Leveraging a not quiet truthfully filled out OpenTable.com account a table was secured. The place was packed on a Tuesday night and had a very weird vibe. With stuffy interiors, heavy rugs and aged seats it looked more like a victorian wet dream than a fine dining establishment. This is what french restaurants on the tv show Columbo used to look like. Being a bit weary as what to expect, the first course blew me away, Asparagus with pate and truffle served in a cream sauce. The truffle took away from the asparagus and maybe one could argue that the not so elegant interior was mirrored in this dish, it was perfectly executed and set the pace for the evening. The second course was near perfection, simple in it’s concept yet thrilling in taste and beautifully plated. A brioche toast with portobello mushrooms on a basil sauce, paired with halibut and pine nuts on a tomato reduction. The flavours were strong and vibrant, the two separate elements paired beautifully and played nicely off each other. Some cheeses followed, funny enough there was a Tete de Moines among the selection, originating from Switzerland, it almost felt as if I’ve been followed by cheese halfway across the globe. Dessert had some lovely bits of Meringue on top of a chocolate mousse on it, the presentation reminded me a bit of what you get at a chinese restaurant, but focussing on the extreme delicate made up for it. I liked Fleur de Lys (do not be put off by the stuffy interior) it certainly was the best classic restaurant I was in San Francisco (do try the exciting asian restaurants) but there are two downsides. Service is rushed with a staccato like precision, it probably pays to order one course after the other, because there was almost no time between courses. Also since I prefer the savoury to the sweet dishes, I would have like to see a menu incorporating more of the savour dishes, instead of just two. Fleur de Lys is a place which is worth the visit if you’re in the area, do not forget to get some extra cash ahead of time US ATMs sometimes only dispense a 100 USD at a time…
Mesa a nice place. After you look at the website or at the latest when you walk in the door, the restaurant makes one statement – fine dining. Formal attire is not necessary, but wearing a jacket doesn’t hurt. Luckily, my commanding aura makes me look I belong here in any place. Mesa sports 17 Gault Millau points and one Michelin star. To kill the suspense, it does so rightly. Interestingly enough, the amuse bouche gets served before you get to look at the menu. This startled me a bit, since I remember an incident at the Birchegg, but was reassured that we’ll get the menu after the amouse bouche. Marcus Lindner offers a Symhony of the Senses, which is essentially a six course menu. The trouble the hardest dining man in Zurich has, is that the excitement of the food clouds his memory. While this is never a good sign for a detailed field report, it’s a sign of excellence in regards to the food. The only place Mesa compares to is probably Spice. While Spice is a bit cleaner in flavors and a little less playful, Mesa is a bit wilder on the combinations of products, eg. mixing pomegranate with fish and bacon. Still the plates are great fun, sometimes the tidbits are a tad small, since you want to try out different combinations of flavors, and the permutations are thus limited. Stay off the bread, even though it’s excellent and save some room for cheese. If you compare Mesa directly say to Greulich you see why Mesa has a higher rating. The charming lady (speaking the dialect from Bern), knew everything about the dozen cheeses she showed us, whereas in the Greulich it was read of the piece of paper. Another sign for the professional charm was the fact, that even though we showed up at 20:00, we dined until almost 23:30. Not once were we rushed and even the cook Mr. Lindner stuck around until we’d finished the main courses and personally came to say hello. Dining at Mesa comes with a very hefty price tag, as most places with a Michelin star do. But think of it this way – 450 CHF was spent on food consisting of two amouse bouche, eight appetizers, two main courses, two desserts and two cheese courses. Doing the math ends you up at a price per course of 33 CHF. Now if you factor in the quality of the work and of the ingredients, you end up with a decent value for your money. The absolute numbers obviously still mark this as a very special event: