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IFS

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  1. A recent account of our visit to the Essigbrätlein in Nürnberg: the kitchen struggles in finding to establish new dishes and cannot yet live up to their standard level for some dishes. Nevertheless, the cuisine is quite special, very to the point using mostly vegetables and local produce in a clever way. Definitely worth a visit when around Nürnberg. The full report is here.
  2. Osteria Francescana

    We are planing to go end of July - what menues do they serve there as there is no info on the website? I reckon there is a classic and more contemporary one? What about price and the wine menu? Thanks a lot in advance!
  3. Time for an update - although my meal had some really heights with divine dishes, the overal experience didn't click with me. Main issues were an almost complete lack of textures, unrefined dishes, an unsound menu dramaturgy and a totally overcooked lobster. Still on three level, but much less stellar than expected... One questions puzzles me: is the lack of texture and a step towards modern cuisine deliberate? So, the cuisine is still stuck in Nouvelle Cuisine with the acidulée touch... What do you think? The whole story is up on High-End Food. Enjoy.
  4. @Marc ar fraiche: any official link to the results??
  5. I've been back twice and had the Gourmet Vision a special menu composed together with Jürgen Dollase, Germany's premier food critique, to push the frontier on the marriage of East and West with a focus on Japanese flavours to be sensibly used. It was amazing I have to say. Couple of weeks later I went again to eat a more classic Voyage Culinaire which was mind-blowing again. The level of perfection is astonishing but it is more than that... My verdict from the Vision: "Looking back on Bau's development in the last 18-20 months it is clear that he first mastered the classic French cuisine on a level seldom experienced even in France being more consistent and serious (as my friend Julot would term it). After accomplishing that there was a gradual emancipation from the French tradition and the search for a unique style. "I do what I feel" - deeply inspired by the Japanese cuisine he started to integrate Asian elements step-by-step, had a Japanese chef in his kitchen for more than one year and learned to understand the Japanese approach to cooking... Now, as I already indicated on my last report, Bau's marriage of West and East is seamless: rooted in the French tradition he more and more abides with French dish composition, especially apparent in the seafood & hamachi dish. In this sense his style is far from riding on any Asian fusion trend - it's unique - Bau cooks Bau. No heavy jus or sauces, a balance of flavours and textures and, most importantly, a surprising element which make the very dish special. The dining experience itself becomes explorative and dependent on the diner's way of discovering each dish. One can just indulge or analytically analyse each accord and flavour to the utmost detail. The good message is: it is always a pleasure. In this special menu the Japanese flavours were at the forefront but the handwriting hasn't changed only the ink and the paper. This vision was no hallocination. It was just spectacular - both an inspirational experience and a glimpse of a potential future element of cooking: dishes can be experienced both in a non-intellectual and intellectual way. So, it's the diner who ultimately decides on his very dining experience. Having eaten in some of Europe's finest restaurants this Summer I must simply state that Bau is simply his own benchmark." The full report as always on High-End Food. Read - go - enjoy.
  6. Indeed it was end of May with a slightly changed menu from Foodsnob, Felix and Andy Hayler. There have been significant changes to the menu but the whole journey remains to be the same distant. And, the dishes before the desserts still are rather rustic and seem heavy. My main concern is the dramaturgy and that didn't change at least from the written menu...
  7. As I couldn't join my fellow bloggers dines there I had to go 'alone'. Wissler is still among the best places in Europe, but the self-imposed development of new explorative culinary voyages somehow fails so far. The new grand menu is just far too long... My verdict: "In a meal of 20+ courses one rarely encounters this consistent high-end quality. Every dish was in itself well-thought through, technically masterly prepared and elaborate up to the utmost detail. Flavours were clear, distinct and unique and textures are there to enhance flavours not to be textures for their own sake. Especially the mushroom meadow really did impress me. Coming back to the numbers from the beginning, €245 is a lot but given the amount and quantity of food it does resemble a good price-quality relationship – especially when compared to the most prestigious French houses. And indeed, the overall experience was much better than recently at Troisgros, Arnsbourg or even Bras (reports coming up)… The only downside – the menu composition: on the one hand, after the initial fish courses the tuna and the pork turned out too fatty and kind of overdid it for me. With this sheer amount of food the whole tone of the menu needs to be lighter for me. On the other hand, rustic notes like in the pig dishes, the snails and the Sauerbraten are quite programmatic for Wissler. Thus, to bring a 20+ course menu and Wissler’s style together is a task which I found not yet truly accomplished. One possibility could be to go only for the medium version of the voyage or lighten up the overall menu without compromising Wissler’s style… In this context, let’s come back to the beginning – the new menu concept. The ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the individual dishes is clearly beyond criticism but the dramaturgy was not that new – compared to what Grant Achatz is doing in breaking up the old menu dramaturgy. As Grant says in his book, with the traditional menu dramaturgy diners tend to get bored and overburdened. Not that I got bored at Vendôme but it clearly brought me to my limit to fully appreciate what I was eating. I would wish that Joachim Wissler will also innovate on his menu composition and maybe change something to make the grand voyage even more enjoyable. And, maybe less or smaller desserts would also benefit the experience. If Wissler ‘fixes’ that and continues to create dishes at that level, maybe sometimes a little more playful, it will take the next stage. It is surely in sight. But then his New German Cuisine will be world-class, at least for me." The whole report on my blog here - enjoy!
  8. Texture

    Cannot agree more - it's excellent, unique food, good produce and nice setting and service. Can't wait to go back. My experience was easily 1*+/17 points.
  9. Finally: a first review of the latest three star chef in Germany. Elverfeld's cooking is truly brilliant but much different than Amador, Wissler or Bau. It turns out that there is quite some variety among the group of young top chefs in Germany. Moreover, it is surprising that they are all on nearly the same level of excellence and have closed the gap to European masters like Herman or Goossens. Chapeau! Here are some excerpts from my blogpost on High-End Food: "Sven Elverfeld is maybe the most modest and down-to-earth (in the best sense) three star chef in Germany. Born in Hanau close to Frankfurt he was first trained as a pastry chef / confectioner at the Stadtbäckerei Schadeberg in Bruchköbel but then decided that this was not 'enough' and also became a chef - interestingly his second apprenticeship took place at the LSG, the 'cuisine' of Lufthansa, so no-one can really claim that these guys cannot cook, at least theoretically that is... His first commis post was in the Rheingau at Gutsschänke Schloss Johannisberg where Dieter Biesler was chef de cuisine. Biesler is an institution among German chefs having worked as chef de cuisine in the Restaurant Walterspiel. Sadly, he closed his Weinstube Biesler in Hannover end of 2008. For Elverfeld this first post was clearly a stroke of luck as Biesler is re-known for superior craftsmanship in cooking, excellent product know-how and a dedication to perfecting traditional and rustic dishes. So Elverfeld underwent a really solid further development of his cooking skills. Another classic master, Willi Tetz, followed in the legendary Humperdinck in Frankfurt (one of the first fine dining places in town besides the Brückenkeller). Enlightenment, the interest for Haute Cuisine, for the truly special moments on the plate came at Dieter Müller. Quite a stretch coming from Bielser and Tetz but Elverfeld could build on his superior technical skills. Three years in Lerbach from demi chef to chef de partie were formative and also some kind of burden for his development as it took some years to really emancipate himself from Müller's style. On his way Elverfeld worked in Kreta, for Katherina Hessler back in Hesse, in Dubai at the Ritz-Carlton before he became chef de cuisine at the Aqua in the Ritz-Carltron Wolfsburg in 2000. First star in 2001, second in 2005 and finally the third in 2009 together with 19 points in the Gault Millau." Overall No single dish below excellent, some even outstanding - there are not many meals in my life which I recall at that quality, surprising effects and, most importantly, the modification of familiar taste experiences. The latter makes Sven Elverfeld's cuisine truly special and unique: it augments the dining experience by including your mind, your memories and your imagination. In a way similar to what Grant Achatz does with his appeal to our expectations it really creates a body & soul experience. Compared to November 2007 Sven Elverfeld has developed quite significantly: his creations being more mature, the overall level of cooking being flawless and, most importantly, the cuisine less characterized by a quest for harmony. Now, there are some more rough edges as the surprising elements are more punctuated like the frozen sour cream and the tiny bacon bites. So in a way it became even more intellectually appealing without overburdening the diner. It's like being taken by the hand by Sven Elverfeld and being shown his world of cooking. Yes, its is structuralistic but that's what many others do as well - it's more his touch for flavours and the playful interpretation of classics what makes it so special. Service is excellent, warm and receptive, very much too the point and never superimposed but of natural friendliness. Charming mâitre Jimmy Ledemazel makes you feel at home and is a benchmark of a host and mâitre. A big thank you to the whole brigade! Well, Wolfsburg is not the centre of the world but for any foodie this is a must-go - and you can take stroll around in the Autostadt, the VW 'museum' on the past and future of automobiles,visit the Phæno museum or watch a soccer game of one the finest teams in the Bundesliga, VFL Wolfsburg. A must - I will be back soon!"
  10. The big Voyage Culinaire (10+ courses with lots of amuse) is €180 and the excellent wine pairing about 70 if I recall correctly...
  11. Pforzheim is indeed a nightmare - there is literally nothing noteworthy in town. About 15km you find the Villa Hammerschmiede (1*) but after my last Sunday lunch there it is a clear "Can't recommend"... There are some bib restaurants around Pforzheim (10km away) where I have not been yet - just try Viamichelin...
  12. hi brian im just looking at making atrip to oud sluis can you tell me the name of the guest house or is it the one linked from the restaurants website? also is there any modern food in brugges itself? dont fancy the old 3 star there apologies cant spell it ← The guest house is called chico y luna and can be booked via the restaurant. In Brugge don't miss De Jonkman which is really great especially with respect to PQR... See my review of my last meal here. Hertog Jan is alos good but not at that level. Filip Claeys has worked at Oud Sluis and Karmeliet for many years...
  13. Can only endorse your view, felix! but this is only part of the good news I think there more potential to be unlocked - Christian Bau has just begun to free himself from the chains of classic French cuisine. This voyage will take him further and sharpen his unique style even more... As you rightly say the level of perfection is astonishing and every foodie needs to go there... I had a quite similar meal as felix a cuple of weeks earlier and it was truly memorable... The full report is here.
  14. Noma

    I finally managed to write up my first noma experience and I am still dazzled, it was simply wonderful! My summary: "When René Redzepi opened noma five years ago people thought he was crazy - radically concentrating on only Scandinavian products in a modernized way was a big step especially in Denmark where people had not been into fine dining that much. Before noma fine dining (at Kong Hans for example) was a domaine of French haute cuisine in Copenhagen restricted to the wealthier. So how did noma develop to its current state? Backed by Claus Meyer noma did have the patience and the endurance to steadily grow and advance towards a spearhead of the new Scandinavian cuisine. From the beginning René and Claus made use of their network to bring chefs to Copenhagen so that European chefs could experience their work. As part of the international avantgarde community they could create the necessary buzz to attract more and more advanced diners and chefs to noma. Simultaneously, also the Danish discovered noma and got attracted to it - maybe it just appealed to the Scandinavian soul and pressed the right buttons with its unique mix of modern design and Scandinavian authenticity. Proud to be Scandinavian without showing off. This brings me to my central point: noma is unique as it is an incorporation of the Scandinavian soul - it is modern where needed, natural and pure, rustic at times - everything with a very modest, relaxed and unpretentious undertone. To "judge" noma one cannot simply report on the individual dishes - to be fair not all of them are outstanding in the categories of the usual Guides. No, the food simply touches your soul and some dishes are just wonderful in both purity and taste. So, in the end one should not apply the usual categories when talking about the noma experience - the overall experience is so unique and trend-setting that one simply has to go and experience this. As a natural complement to this almost the whole white brigade come out in the course of the dinner and serves their "babies" with pride, respect for the product and knowledge while explaining the dish in length if you want. This kind of completes the picture as you can see and feel the passion and seriousness about what they do. Moreover, the atmosphere in the front part of the kitchen you can see from the dining room is always relaxed and the cooks act like in an organised harmonious choreography. But it is still somehow vibrant and full of creative energy - amazing. When we had a quick chat with René and Daniel Texter (in charge of the wonderful desserts) René said that this is a difficult time of year as most winter products are not available anymore and the spring products are not there yet - so we should come back soon to see the other seasons or faces of noma... And we will be back for sure..." The full review with picture on High-End Food - enjoy!
  15. Would strongly endorse Gresca and Rías de Galicia. Our experience at Comerc24 was mixed... For the higher end I would do Abac, Cinc Sentis, Lasarte or Moo if you don't have the time to go to Girona and do Roca (which is a MUST in the region). Reviews on Gresca, Rías, C24 and Roca on my blog High-End Food for reference in case you are interested (Sep/Oct 08). Enjoy!
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