As my regular readers will know, Schloss Berg is amongst the 5 best restaurants in Europe and I try to return as often as I can. Over the summer I had the chance to have two meals here, both of which were simply superb. What is striking with Christian Bau’s food, is how far he goes in perfecting every single element of the individual dishes. Take for instance his china. Whilst having been among the first to use the beautiful Hering plates, he now considers them too common and has ordered a series of plates from a Japanese artisan. Can you tell me other restaurants that go to such lengths in order to manifest their individuality?
However, it doesn’t stop there. The food has (mostly) become more pure and elegant too. Apart from a tuna dish, which was still rather complex, it now seems even more reduced and direct. One rarely gets dishes as powerful as his gamberoni with rice broth and cauliflower. Here, the product really speaks for itself, and all Bau does is create an altar for it. This particular dish must be among the finest to be had in European 3* restaurants at the moment.
Another fantastic creation was an artichoke variation. The vegetable was presented in a multitude of textures and structures (the latter is his description), resulting in a real firework of flavours. Here one really gets an idea of innovative vegetable-based cooking. He doesn’t simply serve a slice of tomato, or beetroot, but takes the simple artichoke and elevates it to something quite precious. A gem of a dish.
During both meals I was able to try a turbot dish. The first time it was paired with soft shell crab, leeks, citrus fruits and crab jus. Boy, this was good. The deep-fried soft shell crab on its own would be worth a trip. A little bowl of those would satisfy me! But, the turbot was of course not bad neither. No. It was fantastic as it usually is here. With the jus and puree it was another remarkable dish.
His new turbot dish combines a few favourites of his with a new "prima ballerina". Iodine-tapioca, carrot chutney and Thai-asparagus create a magnificient background for a tranche of beautifully cooked wild turbot. This is cooking at the highest level, which one does not find in all that many places.
One cannot repeat it often enough: Christian Bau is undoubtedly one of Europe’s best chefs, and the fact that he is still relatively unknown outside of Germany (and even within it) shows how little quality and talent have to do with popularity. For anyone who has a serious interest in food, a trip down to the Mosel is in order!