The Disaster That May End My Michelin Quest… (Review: Facil)

5 July 2018

Slept okay, thanks to the blowing fan. But another early morning, so I headed out from the rather unfriendly hotel and dragged my bag uphill to the train station. A connection later, I was back on that dodgy Hamburg-to-Prague train that so plagued my journey 2 weeks earlier going between Berlin and Dresden. Thank goodness, this was a fully Czech train (without those awful Hungarian cars), and most of the reserved seats were for Berlin on, so was easy to find a seat and get a little kip…

Rolled into Berlin’s somewhat inconvenient Hauptbahnhof, but luckily my excellent InterCity Hotel nearby allowed me to check in so early — and they also had my suit! I had left it behind after getting no sleep in Hannover due to the heat, and they were nice enough to ship it to their Berlin sister hotel. All better!

I soon headed on out and headed south-west towards Potsdam, to complete the itinerary I didn’t manage on my third day in Berlin. Had a nice time there despite the sun and heat and humidity, happily walking across the infamous Glienicke Bridge — where spies were exchanged during the Cold War. Felt a chill walking across it from former East German Potsdam to former West German Berlin Wannsee

After a bit more exploration of the Wannsee area I headed back as it was getting late. I had to re-pack my bags and do some other logistics before my flight back to the US tomorrow. And I had to get ready for dinner, which will be at Facil. This is the only 2-Michelin place I’m hitting all trip. These days I have my reservations about places with more than 1 star (outside of Japan, that is, where I don’t even care), and I hope tonight goes smoothly.

Thanks to a bunch of roadworks the bus dumped up 2 blocks away from the usual stop, so I walked to the restaurant and got there on time. Then thanks to a dodgy lift that slammed shut on my shoulder, I was in a bit of pain when I got to the host station. I told them about the door problem, they didn’t seem too bothered…FFS, a bad start…

I was led to my table and my server seemed ill-suited for this job, being somewhat flippant and unpleasant just for doing her job. I’m already questioning this dinner, with so many bad omens. And it was bloody warm too…

It took ages for someone to bring me a menu or ask me for a drink…this server… I happily went with the full menu with pairing, so let’s see what happens. No lunch today, so I am hungry… Soon the first amuse arrived…

AB1-veg

A pretty lame assortment of veg, nothing special. Soon after a second came, based on shrimp and citrus.

AB2-shrimp

Well, the latter ate too much into everything. My jaw ached from this item…not a good start. The Berlin acid disease is in full effect here it seems… In any case, soon the main menu began, with a so-so pour of a Pfalz Grauburgunder.

01-scallop

A pretty weak scallop dish to be honest, not sourced very well as it had very little flavour on its own. This dish was all about the passion fruit-based sauce, which is a philosophy that I don’t especially like… Not a good start. And I noticed how the wine works here…it’s not like Jellyfish in Hamburg or Jante in Hannover. This is a strict pour scheme, so they don’t care if you go empty while you wait. I really hate restaurants like this…

In fact, it was hot and I had no wine nor water by this point, I had to go get a server’s attention just to get a water top-up. I explained that it’s warm, so please keep an eye on my water — or leave it on my table. I hate these places…

Then a Riesling is poured and we have the second dish, and prolly the last time I’ll see this dish in awhile as it is my last meal in Germany — asparagus.

02-asparagus

Really, this is pretty cheap and lame. Skimped on the asparagus, and there was so much other stuff on the plate. I have NO idea what they did to the avocado but it was DISGUSTING. For a second I had a flashback of hákarl

I downed my wine and water to get that taste out of my mouth…still puzzled what they did to it. Wow, was it bad. I have to admit the early courses, after that initial gap, was running at a good pace, but where pretty lame. The next dish arrived without the wine pairing, which took another few minutes for it to come…and this is a 2-Michelin place?

03-turbot

The turbot was pretty good at first, but when had more of the leeks, the problem then came with the clash in flavours. The pickled items so messed with how the sauce interacted with the fish, it ruined it really. Just not enjoying the philosophy of this kitchen so far this evening, not to mention the shoddy service…and at this point it’s not just my initial server, but the entire team. Very poor for a 2-Michelin place.

Then after a rather long wait, the wine was finally poured BEFORE my dish arrived, this time a sweeter Riesling — to go with the foie…

04-foie

Well, the foie was especially cold, and I am never a fan of it at this temperature. It doesn’t give you the full richness of the foie even when it warms up in your mouth because it’s so cold. Plus there was way, way too much other crap on this dish…probably to distract from the poor foie. This is poor. And it took a long time. Really not liking this evening, and it’s costing me probably twice anywhere else on this trip. Sigh…

Then the wine guy came with an Italian red and we have the carabinero

05-carabinero

Finally an adequate dish! It’s not without its problems, such as the stupid use of puffed bomba rice. Again, what bothers me is that the main ingredient never gets a proper setting, it’s full of distractions on the plate — and those distractions are often what ruins the dishes (the turbot and asparagus dishes, for instance…).

Then we have a ridiculously long gap where I have nothing to drink. It took over half an hour for the next dish, and I had to get my server to ask the wine guy to pour my paired wine now so I don’t die of thirst and/or boredom. And at this point there was a table of Asian tourists being extremely annoying, such as loudly tapping their shoes on the parquet floor. Where did you learn your manners? Sigh…

The staff seems overwhelmed, and that’s pathetic for a 2-Michelin restaurant. In fact, this place having stars is just a joke. And when the next dish showed up, my first thought was that this kitchen should be shut down immediately…

06-shabu shabu

Okay, now this dish is labelled as shabu shabu. For someone who goes to Japan as much as I do, this is an insult to what was perhaps good beef. This may be one of the most DISGUSTING dishes I’ve ever had. The salmon roe actually made it even worse. Who in their right mind came up with this??? I dried off the beef from the ridiculous sauce as much as I can and abandoned the rest. This night is turning into a Hall-of-Shame night…

They took it away, and at this point I am not even drinking my wine fast anymore…I just want to get out of here. Piss poor all night from FoH and the kitchen, and it’s stupid expensive. Then my next dish appeared — WITHOUT THE WINE AGAIN!

07-lamb

I see the wine guy hurrying to get to me, but this is just piss poor, way beneath a Michelin place. The sad looking lamb was okay, but the portion is really skimpy once again. I’m sorry but the tamarillo added nothing here, and the artichoke was pretty awful. You just can’t win here…

I think the staff senses my profound disappointment — plus my annoyance with the adjacent table of foot tappers. It’s one thing to tap your feet, but when you’re basically trying to be Alex Van Halen with loud shoes? Come on… Asian people always complain about other people’s manners, but they are oblivious when they themselves have no manners. Geez…

I specifically asked for no pairing for the dessert, and asked for a pear brandy, and that came with the dessert…

08-rock

It’s called “rock” for obvious reasons and I made a joke to one of the better servers who actually appreciated it. This was actually quite delicious, lovely contrasts between the various parts floating between chocolate and fruit-centric flavours. Surprised me, it was the best item of the evening.

At this point trying to get a coffee and my bill was a disaster, and my server (the same one from the beginning) was just completely confused. I actually wrote down on my notes “my server is an idiot” I was that exaspirated… I ended up just getting up and going to the host station to pay and get out.

This was just such a shitty evening, and frankly this will likely be the last time I walk into a 2-Michelin place I’ve never been to. A waste of money and worse, my time. The cooking was poor, with the disgusting avocado and ridiculous “shabu shabu” as some nominees for the all-time Hall-of-Shame. The service was piss poor, unco-ordinated, inefficient, and unfriendly. Things you should NEVER say about any restaurant, especially anything with a Michelin.

Please do yourselves a favour and avoid this place. Frankly, the best thing I ate all day today? The döner kebab I got at the Hauptbahnhof for a few euros…

What a shitty way to end this trip…

Facil
Potsdamer Straße 3
Berlin, Deutschland

* I made it back to NYC and went to visit my old chef’s restaurant Alta Calidad in Brooklyn, and had a wonderful evening there. Almost got all the taste of that disgusting avocado out of my mouth…but not out of my head…

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Review: Weinhaus Uhle

4 July 2018

I actually had a pretty okay sleep, the first since Prague I think… My train wasn’t too early this morning, so I took my time before I headed to the Hauptbahnhof. Thanks to a delayed train, I missed my connection — forcing me to walk a long way with my bags. Not too thrilled to do this in the heat, and to be greeted at my hotel by “CHECK IN IS AT 3PM” before I even said hello… Oh yeah, I am really back in the former DDR now

I dropped my bag and went for a long day of exploration of Schwerin. Most importantly for me was to see the castle, a place I’ve wanted to see since I was a child. This was a bucket list thing for me, so I really tried to enjoy it from all angles… I spent the next few hours there and in the Schlosspark to the south. A wonderful morning and afternoon, and I headed back to my hotel. Stuffy small room, but they had the foresight to have a fan in the room…oh, perfect way to cool down with a big thing of fruit juice…

I relaxed until a bit later, when I had another stroll around the old town before going to dinner. Tonight it’s a place called Weinhaus Uhle. I found it by accident during my research and the menu looked fantastic. I smelled a lot of smoke outside, so I happily asked for an inside table — to not have a repeat of last night’s debacle in Bremen. Unfortunately it’s as warm in here, but thank goodness it’s a large room so not that stuffy…

I relaxed and they brought a perfectly good martini — the first good one I’ve had in weeks — and I looked over the menu. I decided on the long tasting, why not. I relaxed and then a tiny snack appeared…

AB1-crisp

Nothing special, these cream crisps are just boring to me unless they do something like clean my palate…ah, speaking of that…

AB2-tomato

A nice wee tomato treat, not bad. Then I just enjoyed my martini for awhile…and awhile… Huh? What’s going on? It seems everything has stopped. All there was for me was water for about 20 minutes…and then a Grauburgunder (pinot gris) from Pfalz is poured, finally, and…

AB3-halibut

Huh? This wasn’t on the menu? Is this another amuse? If it is, it’s huge… It’s halibut, and it’s not bad. But I was puzzled…did the menu change? Or is this something else? Well, it seems the kitchen wasn’t exactly prepared for someone ordering a full tasting menu, so…oops…

Sadly this is what happens at a place that is often beseiged by cruise ships and day-tourists… But they then got their act together. The same wine was poured again and now we have the menu as printed, with the first dish curiously called “Frühlingserwachen“…

01-Frühlingserwachen_edited

Well this “Vernal Awakening” was pretty good, featuring a local prawn with sorrel and other garnishes. Not a bad start. A little annoying that the only other table decided to mess with media on their phones…what is with this generation? Ugh… But I think they got the hint when this grumpy old man sighed louder than expected…

Then a nice Nahe Grauburgunder (pinot gris) is poured and we have the veal sweetbread…

02-sweetbread_edited

Good quality, bringing that nice creamy quality nicely. Though the menu advertised morels, I see other fungi here… A little disappointing, but understandable and the mushroom varieties here were quite nice. And now it seems the kitchen is in “normal” mode after earlier, and we have the third dish — asparagus.

03-asparagus_edited

Yep, can’t avoid it in Germany this time of year. Tasty dish with a local white, the kitchen letting the fresh produce speak for itself. The wee cheese roll was a nice touch. Good stuff. And the young group has left, though they never turned their media on again…the joys of being a grumpy old man… A pour of an Italian chardonnay and we have the next dish, eel.

04-eel_edited

Hmmm… This was a ginger overdose to be honest, which really ate into the natural flavours of the key items. The eel itself was good, and the fried black pudding was pretty good. I joked with my server if the blood for the Blutwurst came from the eel…

Anyway, so far a pretty adequate dinner, better than I expected here in Schwerin. Then after a little break, a French red was poured for the local salt-marsh lamb…

05-lamb

Not bad, but not as good as the really nice lamb from Jante a few days ago in Hannover. Overall pretty good, the ramsons a nice little side, and I was pretty full at this point so happy it was the final dish.

These dishes came quick enough for me not to be annoyed by the heat that’s really built up inside, but now it’s starting to be annoying. And I smell smoke seeping through the window, so no point in opening them…

For dessert I wanted a local tipple to pair, but they had nothing local, so went with a sweet wine. A nice pre-dessert focusing on berries and apple…

pre-dessert

Then after a little we have the full dessert, which was chocolate-centric…

06-chocolate_edited

Pretty good, liking the chokeberry and rhubard components too, but the heat was really getting to me now, so I ate it quickly. I was really in need of some fresh air, so I found my server to settle up. She brought the bill and a little closer…

p4-01_edited

I thanked her and headed out. There was still some light out at 10pm, so I took a stroll back out to the magnificent castle…

20180704_221832

A pretty good evening considering how few people come to Schwerin for the food. I think there’s a lot of potential in this place, as the kitchen did a pretty good job. If they were a bit busier — if people don’t just come to Schwerin as a day trip or as part of a damn cruise — then I can see this place developing into something really good.

This very long trip is starting to come to a close, and I both feel relief and sadness. I’ve gotten so used to being in Germany, but also sick of these overheated rooms — and the smoke. So after a nice bit of cool evening strolling, I headed back to my hotel, glad that they had the foresight to provide fans in the rooms…

Back to Berlin in the morning…

Weinhaus Uhle
Schusterstraße 13-15
Schwerin, Deutschland

Review: Das Kleine Lokal

3 July 2018

Well, I was spent after another long afternoon hike in the hot sun during this German heatwave. That huge lunch at the Ratskeller did not really help, though I admit it provided sufficient fuel… Back to the hotel to sort out more trip-related problems, I relaxed a little before heading out to my dinner destination, Das Kleine Lokal.

I was hoping for another nice evening like at Jellyfish in Hamburg and at Jante in Hannover, as I sense a similar feel to this place. I arrived and as the indoor area was boiling hot with no possible air circulation (it was just below ground), I happily took a seat outside. Ah, another beautiful night for al fresco dining…

I relaxed and looked over the two menu choices, and happily chose the second with wine. Then a wee snack appeared…

AB1-snacks

Not bad, nice to clear the palate with the cranberry. Nice wee beef treat too. Then after a little while they poured a nice while from Franken and brought the second amuse…

x

A nice little cheese raviolo with the prawns. Not bad at all. The place was not busy but a group of three perched themselves on another table in the small outdoor area. I’m surprised there was a party inside as it’s stifling hot in there. Then the first proper dish of the night comes out, Schwertmuschel

01-Schwertmuschel

Now I love razor clams, but just as I was about to start eating this, the group next to me starts lighting up…shit… The dish was pretty good, the watercress giving a crispness to perhaps just a little too much cream, the smoke starts to become insufferable…

So I literally picked up my food and moved indoors…into a very hot and stuffy dining room. Seems the selfish jackhole trio of smokers enjoyed me having to move… The selfishness of smokers…I won’t even get into this now, but it basically ruined the evening. My server totally understood why, but probably failed to see how much this has damaged this evening already…

I finished the dish with fading interest and chugged my water, as it was really stuffy inside. I’m having the razor clam sweats FFS… I wasn’t too excited when a white from Pfalz was poured and the second dish arrived…

02-Seeteufel

The monkfish wasn’t bad at all, nice with the morels. But it’s so bloody hot it’s hard to enjoy this. What should have been an excellent dish I just didn’t enjoy it. The only breeze we ever got was a waft of cigarette smoke drifting in with it. Ugh… The dictatorship of the smokers

Next a South African chardonnay is poured, and at this point it’s just for hydration as it’s become uncomfortable. When they brought my dish, I asked them to trim my tasting menu down an item. There’s no way I can eat cheese when I am covered in sweat… In any case the next dish arrived…

y

Well, this poussin wasn’t a galantine as advertised, but thank goodness. Not bad at all the way it is. The foie was pretty good as well. Worked well with the wine, but really, when I am overheating this much it’s really hard for me to enjoy anything… Then a Franken red is poured and we have the pork belly…

04-belly

This dish overall did not work. First of all, the knife they provided could not cut anything. Second, the green onion was a total mess, tasted awful and would not cut even with this knife. Third, the pork belly was lacking in flavour. And frankly, pork belly in a boiling hot room is not the best combination, with a room temperature (of a very hot room) red. If anything, this dish just defeated me…I was spent.

I kept wondering how nice this meal would have been if I hadn’t been forced to move inside, would this have been another of the excellent evenings? But the difference is that Jante and Jellyfish perhaps recognise their Michelin star status and made it far more comfortable; Jante’s outdoor dining area appears to be no-smoking. But one of the trio specifically asked the server here if smoking was allowed, and she said yes. The balance between being a local haunt and getting Michelin accolade is not an easy one in a city like Bremen, which is fogged by cigarette smoke anyway, so I can’t blame them.

But I don’t like it, and my business goes accordingly.

Oh well, I’m glad I cancelled the cheese course. I could barely acknowledge the red from Alto Adige that’s being poured for the last savoury course, the venison…

05-venison

Sadly this was not a good dish on any day. The meat was not of good quality, especially compared to the excellent one I had at Bean & Beluga in Dresden. The chanterelles were the best part of this rather meh dish… A sad ending to a sad night.

I really was in a hurry to go, and made my own pairing of a Williams pear brandy for the dessert…

06-dessert

A so-so dish focusing on Quark cheese and apricot, but again I was melting far more than the subject of my attention. I quickly consumed it and my tipple and asked for the bill. I needed fresh air…

I headed out, walking down the street with the laughter from the trio chasing me… This is a perfect example of how a perfectly good set of dishes could be ruined by the act of a single individual who is not part of the restaurant, how dining out is an experience, not just consumption. One smoker ruined my evening, simple as that. And don’t tell me I’m intolerant, this is why it’s banned in so many places — even for outdoor dining areas. They light a cigarette, take maybe 3 or 4 drags, but the whole time it burns and annoys (and poisons) everyone else in the vicinity. Now that is selfishness at its core.

The only pleasant surprise of the evening? The AC in my hotel room actually WORKS and it’s actually not bad when I got back there… Thank. Goodness.

Das Kleine Lokal
Besselstraße 40
Bremen, Deutschland

Review: Bremer Ratskeller

3 July 2018

A better night’s sleep, thank goodness, but had to get up early to head south — back to Hamburg, and then to change to go to Bremen. Arrived early, but my hotel let me check in very early — which was most appreciated. InterCity Hotels are just excellent. I didn’t stay long, I headed into town (with my free transport ticket).

I’ve never visited Bremen before, but for me it’s close to my heart as another key Hanseatic city — like my adopted home town of Tallinn. But if anything, Bremen is far more like Riga. But what a beautiful city

20180703_111718

For lunch I dropped into the historic Bremer Ratskeller, the celler of the historic City Hall. This place has been serving folks wine for centuries, and some of the barrels are beautifully historic.

Wine Barrel - 01

I relaxed with a nice local white…

Wine - 02

…and ordered lunch. It came soon, and I was worried…

Dicke Rippe

Oh the size…this dicke Rippe was indeed thick! This braised forerib was better than the similar one I had at Bredovský Dvůr in Prague about a week earlier, far tastier and less dependent on saltiness. I think it worked very well with the wine as well, as the beer in Prague just helped to fill me up too much. Yes, that’s Speck!

Anyway, I slowly enjoyed this as I also enjoyed a bit of comedy when a group of Japanese asked for ice in their beer. You should have seen the waitress’s face…

I finished it finally and needed a tipple, so had a nice pear brandy. I thanked my waitress (she was happy as I was the only German speaker in the entire place) and headed out for more exploration of this beautiful town. The sun was blazing, and I just had a huge lunch. What can go wrong?

Bremer Ratskeller
Am Markt
Bremen, Deutschland

A DDR Experience in BRD… (Review: Pier 16)

2 July 2018

I did manage a bit more sleep thanks to the fan, but not that much. Thank goodness for that excellent dinner at Jellyfish last night. But again a very early morning, and I was off to the Hauptbahnhof for my train to Kiel. I’m exhausted from the lack of sleep and lengthy hikes, but there’s quite a bit more left on this trip…

I got to Kiel and dropped my bags off at my hotel and headed out for some exploration of this key port city. My first impression…wait, Kiel was in the west, but why does it remind me so much of the east?

Lots of walking, but one of the main reasons I came to Kiel is to track down the grave of the historian Georg von Rauch, whose research helped me begin my own research into Interwar Baltics back in the early 1990s. It was a hell of a trek in the Waldfriedhof — and this was indeed very much a forest cemetery. I almost needed a machete to reach my destination…

A long hike out and after many hours on my feet I needed a break, so headed back towards the centre. A disgusting late lunch that involved undercooked chorizo that should never be thought of again, and I headed to my room to deal with some logistical issues that sprung up in the last 2 days, as well as getting a little rest. Thank goodness the windows are wide open here and the room is out of the path of the sun…

Later I headed out to dinner. Kiel is not a place with many good options, and sadly the few good options were all closed on Mondays…great timing. So I found the best possibility, Pier 16. Got there and it was pretty empty, and smelled of cleaning fluid…weird… More and more, this entire city reminded me of the Eastern Bloc — except I have to keep reminding myself Kiel was in the west!

I sat down at my table and it was a bit confused already, so I just ordered and asked for a glass of wine. I relaxed and a tiny amuse arrived…

AB

Nothing to write home about, so I won’t. Then my starter arrived…or did it?

1-soup

Well, they brought the wrong thing. Goody. I asked what this was, and it seems my server just made a mistake and had no inkling she brought the wrong thing. I was too tired to argue, so just had this. If this is crab in the soup then I’m Willy Brandt. The sour gherkin soup didn’t go down well at all…

I just tried not to think too much, as I can’t imagine what the main is gonna be like. Then it came, the horse fillet…

z

Well, the quality was so poor it tasted like mystery meat. I honestly could not tell what animal this came from… I’ve had excellent horse before in Canada and Iceland, and this — if it is horse — is one that perhaps would have done better in a glue factory…

Oh well. I was done. I settled up once I found my server. This was just awful. I just saundered back to my hotel thinking I’ll get some sleep as I have another early morning tomorrow. But this dinner certainly did not help…ugh…

Back in the DDR…or it seems…

Pier 16
Raiffeisenstraße 2
Kiel, Deutschland

Review: Jellyfish

1 July 2018

Well, I regained consciousness before I had to go to dinner, which was good. The eel lunch was good, but it was too heavy for a day like this. Thank goodness this hotel’s window opens, and there’s a little breeze at the moment… I got ready and headed out for dinner at Jellyfish.

This is one of the odder Hamburg Michelin-starred restaurants. Small, cash-only…and at this point of the year, in midst of some terrible construction. It seems the city is doing some crazy construction on the road and pavement, which has ate into their outdoor dining area, so this is my unconventional view from my shaky table…

construction

Despite issues with this odd set-up, such as the narrow pavement for pedestrians, it was kind of fun in a weird way. It’s much too warm inside, so this was perfect. I relaxed with a dry sherry and then my first amuse arrived.

AB1-oyster

A rather nice oyster, though as always I feel unless the oyster’s not that fresh I don’t need the side items. Then the menu was brought to me on a chalkboard, and it looked good, so I went with the full menu once again. Despite my bad luck with food in Hamburg (flashing back to some of the most horrific “cooking” I’ve ever had at inexplicably-Michelin-starred Se7en Oceans), I had a good feeling about today. As I kept working on my sherry, the second amuse appeared.

AB2-prawn

A nice take on a prawn salad. The prawn itself was delicious, the salad added a bit of crisp. A good, refreshing combination, with a touch of acid that’s very balanced. Good snacks. After a little pause, a Riesling from Mosel was poured and the first dish arrived — hamachi.

01-hamachi

Surprisingly good, with nice fresh fish; the oil was just fantastic, the jalapeño really adding a good dimension to this dish. A nice start! Then an Italian orange wine is poured for the gazpacho…

02-gazpacho

An interesting take on the cold tomato soup, the nice herbal base is accompanied by burrata foam and the tomato “jelly” — all working in perfect balance. A lot of chefs can learn from how they balance acid here. A nice and visually pleasing dish. So far very happy, and service has been very good — even as the poor server has to deal with the city’s construction mess as a terrain challenge.

Soon a local sauvignon blanc is poured and we have octopus.

03-octopus

Surprisingly good, you never think Germany does good octopus, but here you go. Beautifully grilled, the octopus was tender and tasty, not mushy nor too chewy. Well-sourced and well-cooked. The kohlrabi was also quite good here, all in a salsa verde. Nice once more.

I’m rather happy this evening. Lovely breeze now, and it’s a bit comedic watching people go around the construction zone. My excellent server returns with a big pour of a white from Pfalz and we have the salmon…

04-salmon

From the Faroe Islands, a very delicious specimen. I usually don’t like eating salmon out because I personally can cook it better, but this was just lovely. Floating in a nice mustard sauce, it worked well with the very mild miso. Wow, one of the best salmon I’ve had in a restaurant in years…

Really happy with this evening so far, I think my Hamburg curse is broken. Then a Weißburgunder (pinot blanc) from Austria is poured and we have the cod.

05-cod

Surprisingly good, the quality of the dish is excellent. I’m not a big cod fan, but they did this very well, with a touch of honey balanced out with the slightly acidic base. The eel was a nice bonus. Visually very nice dish, but it lived up to it taste-wise.

I’ve got little to complain about this evening, though it’s a bit slow between courses, running at over 25 minutes between each dish. They do top up the wines and make sure it’s never empty, so for me that’s acceptable. What I hate most about a wine pairing is when they leave you sitting with absolutely nothing to do, no wine to drink, during long pauses. Here I can live with this. Then we have the final savoury dish with a nice red from Württemberg…

06-onglet

A beautiful onglet, really nicely cooked. Tender and juicy, this is the type of beef dishes I love. Jus is excellent, but the beef stands on its own here very well. Cabbage, cherry, and other sides here, all nice. But the beef was fabulous. What a fine final savoury dish! One of the rare nights that there were no weak dishes!

A little relaxation and a French sweet wine is poured for the dessert, based on banana.

07-dessert

This was nice, working well with the wine which is not too sweet. The various components of this dessert is focused on banana, but also a bit of passionfruit, a nice combination. I enjoyed this!

I relaxed with a tipple, enjoying the last moments of this excellent dinner. I’m very impressed here, and I’m glad my bad luck with Hamburg fine dining is broken. I settled up, not before making a joke pretenting I didn’t have cash…I’m glad my German is good enough for all this (I’ve not spoken English since the day before).

I headed out very happy, but knowing I’m heading back to a stove of a hotel room. It was indeed as hot as a stove when I got back, but they were nice enough to bring up a fan — which really helped. Perhaps I was going to get some sleep after all tonight…

But a wonderful dinner, that’s 2 nights of wonderful experiences in a row after that excellent dinner at Jante. That don’t happen often anymore, so I’m extremely happy. Highly recommended!

Jellyfish
Weidenallee 12
Hamburg, Deutschland

Review #2: Alt Hamburger Aalspeicher

1 July 2018

It was not a good sleep, and I had to go early. Ugh, this place… I got to the train station for the trip to Hamburg, and thank goodness it was not busy this Sunday morning so I could get a little sleep… Again, if it wasn’t for that fabulous evening at Jante… Got to Hamburg early, dropped my bag, and had a very long morning hiking in the north of town…

I was knackered, but I decided to go to lunch at a place I always like visiting when I’m in town, Alt Hamburger Aalspeicher. This is one of the places you can always get good and plentiful eel in whichever way you want, which is the best part about this old-school family-runned place. It was already late afternoon when I arrived, so only a few tables were still busy.

A beer was brought and I ordered, and I relaxed…now things feel normal again. Then my starter, which I questioned why I ordered it as it was rather hot and sunny today, is a hot soup…

1-eel soup

Very rich, as you can imagine eel soup can be. Too rich and too hot, but most unpleasantly, way too salty. I was getting sweaty again, plus the salinity, so needed a second beer… Then after a little, my main course arrived.

2-grilled eel

A nice spiced butter-grilled eel… Nice stuff, I love eating eel like this, instead of the usual smoked version. The glorious oil needs to be at the forefront for any eel dish! Lots of potatoes on the side, which helped this very rich dish. I finished and was spent…

I settled up, thanked the owners and headed back to my hotel. Good lunch, but too heavy on a hot and sunny day after such a long hike with such little sleep. I got to my hotel and guess what? Dead AC once again, and it was ridiculously hot once more. I think I passed out again…

Alt Hamburger Aalspeicher
Deichstraße 43
Hamburg, Deutschland