Life is Worth Living – Even on Mondays.
My guest had a hankering for a Michelin-starred menu that had really earned the accolade. No problem in Berlin, one would think. But it was Monday, the official day off for upmarket gastronomic establishments.
Fischers Fritz at the Hotel Regent is open on Mondays in theory, but in reality Christian Lohse’s two-star culinary art is so in demand that I couldn’t get a table ad hoc. However, Les Solistes in the new Waldorf-Astoria offered not only the good fortune of free spaces, but also true bliss for every bon vivant.
Les Solistes is run under the watchful eye of Parisian three-star chef Pierre Gagnaire, described by journalist Heinz Horrmann as, “For me, the best culinary artist in the world.” This highly acclaimed chef is rarely found slaving over the stove himself in Berlin, but the head chef, a Belgian by the name of Roel Lintermans who himself has received two stars for his cooking in Gagnaire’s London restaurant, is very close to matching his master’s works.
My guest followed the oriental custom of having all the dishes served at once, allowing us to let our tasting desires run free. We enjoyed the very finest langoustine, sea bass, lobster, and maritime summer vegetables, all accompanied by a 1990 Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru.
And while the menus themselves might look unspectacular (as in all the finest hotels and restaurants, only the best ingredients are found here), with their dishes Gagnaire and Lintermans prove themselves to be unique inventors of a new style of cooking that is far removed from pretentious gimmicks.
Everything presented on the plates here has a powerful aroma and the rustic flavor one would normally associate with a Provençal brasserie. Sea bass, lobster, sole, langoustine, and oysters are served freshly caught and full of the scent of the sea, as if they had come straight off the cutter. The skill of the chefs is to take these hearty flavor notes and to combine them in surprising and sometimes daredevil ways.
Thus, we were treated to sea bass heartily combined with crispy onion rings, beans and carrots, crab and jellied fennel with Bavarian cream. The langoustine is served in a down-to-earth fashion as “Terre de Sienne” from the pan with St. George’s mushroom and almonds; in a terrine variation with algae, chicory, leek, and sake; and finally, as tartare with coconut milk and lime.
My guest, a passionate gourmand who never misses an opportunity to explore a culinary temple, from New York to Singapore, was as surprised and delighted by the refined simplicity of Les Solistes as I was. The enjoyment itself was a topic of conversation here.
But what we liked even more was the fact that eating and drinking are not treated as a religious exercise here. As lovers, you can enjoy a casual meal and develop an appetite together for what lies ahead that evening.
The waiters drift by your table discreetly and unobtrusively; your glasses are refilled and new bottles punctually delivered as if by magic. Not a soul breaks through the cocoon of intimacy around guests lost in conversation and knowing glances. And this is not least thanks to the master sorcerer, maître d’ Vedad Hadziabdic, whose work I had admired in the past in his previous domain, the Aqua at the Ritz Wolfsburg.
In nuce: should you wish to crown your Berlin trip with an exquisite meal, and would prefer not to spend your evening alone, but rather with a woman who awakens and ignites your senses (and is familiar with fine food and good wine), I would like to put myself forward to accompany you – or choose one of the 12 muses available from Greta Brentano®. www.greta-brentano.com
I would be happy to reserve a table for you.
My restaurant recommendations:
Les Solistes by Pierre Gagnaire at the Waldorf-Astoria www.waldorfastoriaberlin.com/deu/Restaurants-Lounges/Les–Solistes
Tim Raue (two stars) www.tim–raue.com
Fischers Fritz (Christian Lohse, two stars) at the Hotel Regent www.fischersfritzberlin.com
„Facil“ at The Mandala (Michael Kempf, 2 stars) www.facil.de
Reinstoff (Daniel Achilles, two stars) www.reinstoff.eu
Gastronomy guides I would recommend:
Four – The World’s Best Food Magazine www.four–magazine.com
Die besten Hotels der Welt by Heinz Horrmann www.heinzhorrmann.info/news/die-10-besten–hotels-weltweit