The Frankfurt Files (IV): Villa Merton

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,Ā  like catering food created to be easily assembled in a large lot. So interesting to see how the new chef would do…

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this. The local magazine you mention is a joke, their food competence is zero. Key criterion for success is to agree to do cooking classes for them. Disclosure: I worked with Bittner in Francais some years ago. M.

  2. Thanks for this. Ideed, Villa Merton seems to get more and more a caterer’s place. The plates that where served to you look as if they could ‘ve been part of a dinner to celebrate “Der deutsche Fernsehpreis”. (After putting off cameras…)

    • @Michael: you are right – but this magazine still has some regional importance for gastronomes…
      @Christian: exactly my impression I don’t know how long the guides will keep the ratings…

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