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San Sebastián: Mugaritz (Nov. 2013)

November 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Author: Victor
Exec Chef: Andoni Luis Aduriz
Website: www.mugaritz.com/?id=en

November 1, 2013

Mugaritz has been on list for a long time now, and I finally got the chance to eat here when I stopped by Spain. It’s located among very green hills, about a 15- to 20-minute taxi ride from San Sebastián. The restaurant actually wasn’t fully booked when I ate there (granted, it was a Thursday afternoon in the end of October…), so I don’t think reservations there are TOO hard to make in the fall.

Chef Aduriz has a really interesting philosophy about food. I won’t bore you with the details; you can look it up on the website if you’re interested. (You should read about it!)

2A View

The restaurant sets up a tasting menu for each table, and they apparently customize it depending on the season and how fresh the produce and ingredients are. Some dishes are standard for each meal (I googled them haha), but the kitchen staff also mixes and matches a lot depending on what ingredients they want to use. As a result of this philosophy, the tables around me had some of the same courses, but they also had some different courses that I wanted to try. (I’m sure they thought the same thing of some of the dishes I got.) I like how different tables eat different things; it keeps an element of surprise for your own meal.

I should also mention that the restaurant closes from January to April for “creative brainstorming”. During that time, cooks focus on bringing Chef Aduriz’s ideas to life and preparing for the next season’s dishes.

The food here was inspirational, and the wait staff was very warm and friendly. Everyone here just seemed happy to be there, and the food seemed to reflect that. (I know I’m being cheesy a bit, but I truly believe that!) Anyway, here’s what I ate!

Click here to see pictures of the great meal!

Berlin: Hugos (Oct. 2013)

October 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Author: Victor
Exec Chef: Thomas Kammeier
Website: http://www.hugos-restaurant.de/en/

This is the second of the Michelin-starred restaurants that I decided to try during my short stay in Berlin. I wasn’t sure how this would compare to Tim Raue, but I was excited to try it anyway. I saw that they were featuring a white truffle menu, so I immediately went for it. I loooove truffles. Monty says that my love of truffles deserves its own documentary and that it outweighs his love of any single ingredient, but I don’t know how true that is—the man loves uni. I haven’t had a truffle-themed menu for a long time now, so I was SUPER excited to be able to binge on them hahaha.

Like Tim Raue, Hugos wasn’t full while I dined there. It was at about 60 or 70% capacity, which made me sad considering that the restaurant would be packed in NYC. The restaurant has a pretty great location, too. It’s on the 14th floor of the Intercontinental Berlin, so you get this awesome view of the city while you eat delicious food. It’s not a bad place to be on a Wednesday night!

1 Restaurant

Click here to see pictures of the great meal!

Berlin: Tim Raue (Oct. 2013)

October 29, 2013 3 comments

Author: Victor
Exec Chef: Tim Raue
Website: http://www.tim-raue.com/index.php?task=restaurant&section=aktuelles&lang=en

October 29, 2013

I wanted to try a great restaurant while in Berlin, so I looked around Chowhound a bit. The name Tim Raue came up a lot, so I checked out the menu, was intrigued, and promptly made reservations!

The restaurant was only about half-full, and even online I was able to make dinner reservations for all of the days I was in Berlin. Maybe people just don’t eat at fancy restaurants on weekdays in Berlin… It makes me a little sad, because with the quality of the food this restaurant would be full on a Tuesday night in NYC (or HK haha).

There are three options: you can order a la carte, the seasonal tasting menu (4-6 courses), or the “unique” menu (their fancy one). I went with the “unique” one because I wanted to see the best they had to offer. The items I was particularly excited to try included the partridge and Peking duck, but the langoustine ended up surprising me—it was very well cooked, and the concept was perfectly executed.

The meal had hints of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, AND Vietnamese cooking. It’s pretty bizarre… Somehow, though, Chef Raue makes it all work well!

Click here to see pictures of the wonderful meal!