Fond of electro, techno and house music? Ever heard of the DJ legend Sven Väth? If yes, the Cocoon Club in Frankfurt should be immediately on your mind. If no, but you are food-interested, or maybe a real foodie, you should definitely add this location due its fabulous restaurants Silk and Micro where Mario Lohninger is both chef de cuisine and host… Restaurants in a club, hmmm…
Lunches at fine dining places can be difficult. Well, difficult in the sense that some restaurants serve only business lunches with a limited offering at a very reasonable price. While I appreciate that and am always curious to get a small bite on the cuisine’s menu it has an inevitable danger: given the price tag it is naturally hard to offer the same product quality as in the evening when the same amount of courses cost you about 2-3 times the lunch price. On the one hand I like that because it could lead to serving more regional products off the beaten path. On the other hand I expect execution to be at the same level as in the evening such that any award will still shine through.
Keeping that in mind it is very well possible to draw some conclusions from a 4 course business lunch. So recently I had a lunch meeting at Villa Merton in Frankfurt after Hans Horberth had left (yes, the last stone of the 2008 chef domino in Germany). Young sous chef Matthias Schmidt had taken over mid 2008 and kept the Michelin star but received a one point downgrade in the Gault Millau (now at 15 points). The last visits under Horberth were quite disappointing as the cuisine was soulless food, like catering food created to be easily assembled in a large lot. So interesting to see how the new chef would do…
After the Guides had been out it was clearly time to revisit the Restaurant Français at the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, the only Grand Hotel in Frankfurt. After the hotel and the restaurant have been renovated before the Soccer World Championship in 2006 Patrick Bittner, the chef de cusine at Français, had been cooking with new esteem but the brigade and very much the atmosphere stayed the same.
Ha, this is not a Frankfurt restaurant strictly speaking, you might say and you are right. Großfeld’s Gastraum der Sinne is located in Dorheim, a part of Friedberg about 20 minutes from Frankfurt. But, my files files intend to give you some orientation on your journey to culinary delights when you are in and around Frankfurt. Maybe the “around” enlargement is due to the fact that in Frankfurt itself good fine dining is rather rare.
Not only since the recent financial crisis eating out and especially fine dining has been very difficult in Frankfurt. Why one is tempted to ask? In a city (previously) full of wealthy investment bankers, consultants and the like one would think of plenty of money pouring into gastronomy which in turn could lead to an increase in food quality on average. It turns out that in fact prices are (still) very high on the one star level (about €110 for 5-7 courses for what you get a nice “small” menu at most of the three star places) and the average quality below the starred restaurants is generally perceived as quite poor – some exemptions will be covered in separate later post….
Reasons? I can only suspect that the normal Frankfurt fine diner is more of a business client who wants a decent lunch or dinner and is not that much interested in breathtaking experiences which could interrupt the flow of business. One piece of evidence is that three of the one star places are closed on the weekend (Erno’s Bistro, Francais, Villa Merton). Only outside of Frankfurt, about 20 mins south, Juan Amador has successfully established a high-end restaurant now carrying three stars.