Posts for the 'Other locations' Category


Le Dauphin Paris

Le Dauphin Paris is from Basque-born self-taught chef Inaki Aizpitarte who set the bistronomy (bistro-gastronomy) scene in Paris alight when he opened Le Chateaubriand. Famed for its accomplished and affordable cooking, it currently holds 9th place in the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurant in the World Awards. Le Dauphin is the baby sister of Le Chateaubriand and is located next door to its elder sibling. The menu at Le Chateaubriand is a no choice set menu, but at Le Dauphin, the menu offers more variety by way of a tapas-style menu with starter size portions.

The restaurant is modern with lots of marble and simply furnished. A number of tables are allocated for bookings, but there is also a central bar area for walk-in diners.

We started with corn velouté with gouda (€9) which was sublime with its lovely sweet corn flavour and beautiful creamy texture. The dashes of gouda cheese running through the velouté provided a robust contrast, and the sprinkling of fresh dill added a lovely aroma to the dish.

Corn velouté

Corn velouté

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la vie – Osnabrück, Germany

la vie restaurant was awarded its third Michelin star on 8 November 2011, about six months after my visit. Many congratulations!

la vie

la vie

I am almost embarrassed to share with you every detail of my recent dining experience at la vie, a two star Michelin restaurant in Osnabrück, Germany, because to do so would reveal to the world my 36 hours of eating gluttony. I dined at la vie at the generous invitation of Chef Thomas Bühner (and for this I can only thank you Chef). Those 36 hours were truly wondrous – we ate like kings – but eating like kings meant not only eating well, but eating a lot. And as I take a moment now to reflect on those 36 hours, I cannot help but marvel at my amazing ability to pack that much food into my body (did I mention that my blog name is A Girl HAS to Eat?).

We were scheduled to have dinner on a Saturday evening, but our 10pm arrival in Osnabruck on the Friday night before meant that Chef Bühner also delighted in feeding us a light supper (‘light’ meaning a three course meal). There was also a ‘light’ five course lunch the next day, which was followed by mini cooking demonstrations and tastings in the la vie kitchen. And all this took place before we sat down to our glorious tasting menu on the Saturday night. Wow!

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Margaux – Berlin, Germany

Grenoble style sardine & toast Mimosa

Grenoble style sardine & toast Mimosa

On a recent visit to Berlin, I went to Margaux Restaurant, a Michelin one star restaurant which came highly recommended from Victor’s Gourmet Restaurant’s chef, Christian Bau. After having had perhaps the best meal of my life at the latter restaurant, I now rate Bau as one of my favourite chefs of all time. So when Bau recommends a restaurant to try, it’s a suggestion that’s pretty hard to ignore.

Located on Berlin’s main street of Unter de Linden, around the corner from the Brandenburg Gate, the restaurant is imposingly striking. There is sleek walnut panelling interlaced with creative ‘mother-of-pearl’ type lighting as the restaurant’s backdrop. The seating is of a mustard colour which complements the white linen tablecloths nicely, and there are other warm and sophisticated touches throughout.

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Chez Dominique – Helsinki, Finland

Chez Dominique

Chez Dominique

There is the saying that all good things must come to an end, and I am sad to say that my trip is finally over. I am back in London now, but as a last hoorah, a decision helped in no small part by the discovery of a very cheap ticket, I decided on a whim to detour via Helsinki for a flying visit to try Chez Dominique before finally dragging myself home. The visit was so ‘flying’ that I literally stepped off the plane, headed straight to the restaurant and flew out the next day.

With less than an hour between landing and last orders (which coincidentally I barely made), there was no time to check into my hotel before going to the restaurant. In the days leading up to the meal, I had been playing out in my head the embarrassment of turning up to a two star Michelin restaurant with ALL my luggage in tow (a handbag, a large battered wheelie suitcase and a small rucksack) over and over again, but living out the reality was worse. What I hadn’t quite allowed for was the fact that the restaurant has neither a partition nor a sitting area between the doorway and the dining room which would have hidden me from sight, even if only partially. No sirree. This meant that the moment I walked into the restaurant I was in full view of all the patrons who faced the door. “Yes” I tried to explain with my eyes to one particular diner who kept staring at me in astonishment during that one looooong minute before the waitress came to rescue me, “I do know that this is a fine dining establishment and not a hotel. Honest.”

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Spondi – Athens, Greece

Note: Chef Arnaud Bignon has now left Spondi to cook at The Greenhouse.

Spondi

Spondi

En route to the Greek Islands I stopped off in Athens to be greeted by sunshine and hot weather. Despite all the charms of Scandinavia, I found it a wee bit cold and grey (not to mention exceedingly expensive). I had considered going to France for some further gastronomic pursuits, but in the end I chose the sun over my stomach. The powers that be must have smiled at my choice for they seemed to stamp their seal of approval by sending some fine and dandy traditional Greek tunes through the taxi radio as I made my way from the airport. It left me reeling with flashbacks of all my favourite scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the realisation that I really was in Greece! I love that movie, and from that point onwards I was a lost cause for the mere sight of the word ‘lamb’ on a menu would immediately transport me giggling to that scene where she tries to explain to her aunt that her fiancé is vegetarian.

I liked Athens. There is of course the Acropolis, but its collection of historical treasures is not limited this to national monument. The Acropolis Museum which opened in June is absolutely spectacular, as is the National Archaeological Museum which surely houses one of the best collections in the world. And interestingly, the subway system is similar to an interwoven network of modern construction and underground ruins.

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Søllerød Kro – Copenhagen, Denmark

Søllerød Kro

Søllerød Kro

After Sweden I made tracks to Copenhagen. The urban population of this city might only number about 1.2 million, but it seems to be developing a reputation as a burgeoning gastronomic destination, and this is in no small part due to the highly acclaimed two starred Michelin Noma. There are also a number of one star Michelin restaurants here, and my first choice among them had been a restaurant called Geranium, which sadly closed a couple of months back, reportedly due to the tough economic conditions.

Next on my list was Søllerød Kro, a restaurant which is housed in a thatched inn dating back to 1677. Its about 16km from the centre of Copenhagen, and en route there I got thinking what would possess me to choose the only Michelin restaurant that was furthest away from town when there were about 10 others in the centre of it. Hmmm.

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Victor’s Gourmet Restaurant – Perl-Nennig, Germany

Schloss Berg

Schloss Berg

I have been looking forward to my meal at Chef Christian Bau’s Victor’s Gourmet Restaurant for many days now – months in fact. Some foodies consider it one of the best, if not the best, restaurant in Europe right now, and the excitement I felt in the lead up to this meal was palpable – “three more sleeps, two more sleeps, one more sleep…”Its the main reason behind why I came to Germany – the pièce de résistance of my short culinary tour of this country.

The restaurant is situated in a town called Perl-Nennig, with the closest major city being Luxembourg City which is about a 30 minute drive away. The restaurant is housed in a quaint white castle called Schloss Berg, but for whatever reason, a casino was added as an extension to it in what looks like a glass monstrosity that is incongruous with the otherwise lovely white stone facade.

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Dieter Müller – Cologne, Germany

Schloss Lerbach

Schloss Lerbach

Dieter Müller is one of the best known chefs in Germany and his namesake restaurant was next on my list during my stay in Cologne. A three star Michelin restaurant, it is housed in a beautiful Relais & Châteaux Hotel called Schloss Lerbach, which like Gut Lärchenhof, is about 16km from the centre of Cologne. Dieter Müller retired as head chef of the restaurant last year and now only acts as its patron. Into his place has stepped Nils Henkel. For better or for worse, I had no illusions that the restaurant would be the same as when Dieter was there. But it was going to be interesting to discover how the restaurant fared given that the chef whose name upon which the fame of the restaurant was founded is no longer in full time service.

Schloss Lerbach is a beautiful, grandiose building housed in lovely lush grounds. The restaurant itself is a statement in formality. It’s classically elegant, if a little old fashioned, and overlooks the gardens which are made all the more visible by the tall glass windows that line the length of its walls. The windows also serve to let in lots of natural light, which on this nice sunny day made me feel as if I was dining in a garden paradise.

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