Last month top grub guides Michelin and Gault Millau released their verdict for 2012. We reduced some 2000 pages into a digestible portion for your easy consumption.
If you were thinking of treating your special someone to a lavish night of luxury nosh this Christmas, don’t bother with Fischers Fritz in the Hotel Regent. It’s rubbish.
Although it is one of only three restaurants in Berlin with two Michelin stars, and you can spend €135 on a bit of lobster there, the latest edition of top restaurant guide Gault Millau submits a withering judgement: “There are no ‘Aha’ experiences.”
They surely didn’t mean to say that there is an unforgivable lack of 1980s Norwegian pop piping through the sound system. In the rarefied gastro-verse of German restaurant critics, it translates as the damning verdict that Fischers Fritz top chef Christian Lohse is becoming too obvious, too predictable, too same-y. Consequently, Fischers Fritz has lost its place as Berlin’s top eatery in next year’s Gault Millau guide.
But if seafood is your poison, lobster is last year’s deal anyway. This season restaurant critics can’t muster even a semi hard-on unless there’s a piece of fish maw involved.
Fish maw, or swim bladder, is the gas-filled organ that a fish uses to control its buoyancy. One of them can cost you around €100 – though you’d probably get them cheaper in a Beijing market – and Tim Raue, top chef and eponymous hero of restaurant Tim Raue in Kreuzberg, likes to fry them up with pickled vegetables and melon chunks in wasabistock.
This infernal concoction, among many other alchemical innovations, sent the “Aha”- ometers at Gault Millau sky-high, propelling Tim Raue to the top of the charts.
Tim Raue thus beat Fischers Fritz to second place this year, scoring 19 points from a possible 20 to Christian Lohse’s paltry 18. Like we said, rubbish. What’s wrong with a lovely bit of swim bladder, you loser?
But the food-nuts at Michelin have also just published their own gourmet guide, which reveals that Berlin has gone up in the estimations of the top tyre merchants.
Michelin traditionally rewards the more conservative cooks, and seems to be unfazed by the hype surrounding the culinary feats of a mini-gangster turned mega chef – meaning Tim Raue has to make do with one Michelin star, while Fischers Fritz’ Lohse is still their number one joint in the capital city with two stars.
But there are two other luxury nosh-troughs in town that can proudly display two étoiles Michelin: the Lorenz Adlon, the restaurant in the ground floor of that big hotel on Pariser Platz, and Reinstoff restaurant in Mitte, where chef Daniel Achilles offers a more experimental menu based on the ‘molecular’ school of cooking.
The Michelin men seem to like Berlin. The capital boasts more starred restaurants than any other German city (13, to Munich’s 11 and Hamburg’s 9), though if you go by state, Baden- Württemberg heads the list, with 61 starred eateries.
Of course we’re still far behind other European cities. Paris (surprise, surprise) boasts a total of 77 star-restaurants, and London has 53. But Tokyo steamrolls them all with 173 starred eateries.
The thing our catch-up capital lacks is a three-star Michelin chef, but then so do all the big German cities. There are nine of these in the country, and they are all in the provinces. So if you want to check out the latest triple-star restaurant on German soil, head 400km west to La Vie in the distinctly unglamorous northern town of Osnabrück