Editor's note: this restaurant closed in May 2015.
Amador is situated in a pretty wood-framed building in the small town of Langen. Chef Juan Amador (who is originally from Granada) is the Heston Blumenthal of Germany, producing very modern food using the latest kitchen alchemy techniques. The rather traditional dining room, with its stone walls, tiled floor and exposed wooden beams is something of a contrast to the cooking.
As you arrive some nuts and olives appear with the menu: almonds and peanuts covered with wasabi, as well as a peach bellini with soda. The menu began with a flurry of nibbles from the “micro menu”, followed by either a choice of two tasting menus. The “fall” menu we followed was EUR 189, though it is possible to have a truncated version with just three courses at EUR 119. There was, as seems to be the fashion these days, an elaborate water list with about twenty mineral waters, each with notes and even a picture of the bottle, mostly from EUR 6.50 to EUR 18.50; Evian is EUR 7 a litre.
The wine list was chosen by Michael Broadbent of Christies and runs to 51 pages. Examples are Kuntzler Riesling Trocken at EUR 49 for a wine that costs about EUR 16 in the shops. 2003 Alion from Vega Sicilia is EUR 149 for a wine you can buy retail for about EUR 40, while at the higher end of things Vega Sicila Unico 1981 is listed at EUR 749 for a wine that costs EUR 225. The wine list concentrates on Spain and Germany, but there are selections from elsewhere.
Little macaroons of beetroot were very light, offered with an apple wasabi cream that you squeeze from a customised toothpaste style tube. The apple gave a freshness and the wasabi a welcome bite to balance the earthy flavour of the beetroot (18/20). Next was a “reset”, the blossom of a Szechuan flower with a powerful mouth-cleansing taste. Iced duck liver was excellent, sprinkled with “space dust” (popping candy), which was a bit of a gimmick but did not distract too much from the superb taste of the liver (19/20).
A jelly of whisky with pineapple and cotton candy was a less obvious set of flavours (17/20). Goose liver with mango was a nice combination, the mango offering some acidic balance to the rich foie gras (18/20) while bacon, quail egg and chilli of Parmesan was pleasant, the breakfast ingredients combination a natural mix (17/20). Oyster and cucumber soup was less successful, simply because the soup tasted so little of its constituents (15/20). Minced belly pork with capers and herring caviar was excellent, the flavours again working well together (19/20).
Tomato textures with beetroot powder and anchovy was next, a sphere with a liquid centre of tomato juice a modern but effective touch, with lardons of pork fat and a foam and sorbet of tomato (18/20). Prawn marinaded in barbecue sauce was served in a sealed glass jar, letting out smoke as it was opened; again a gimmick, but the prawn was superb (19/20). An icicle of radish with passion fruit cream was a less balanced combination, though well enough made (17/20). Bread was slices of baguette and nut bread, which were merely pleasant (16/20).
The menu proper began with Norwegian lobster with smoked olive oil on a bed of perfect mash, with a garnish of bacon and a lobster bisque served in a test tube. One can debate the presentation but not the superb taste of the lobster, with the bisque in particular having remarkable intensity of flavour (19/20). Next, sole was served with parsley and a chicken bouillon with Parmesan gnocchi (which in themselves were pleasant but not top drawer in terms of texture). The fish itself was superbly cooked and the bouillon had really good, deep taste (18/20).
Next was a scallop with birch mushrooms (described unappealingly as “forest soil”) with pumpernickel butter, the scallop wrapped in a thin layer of pork tongue, and cooked carefully (17/20). Pigeon from Mieral had lovely flavour, served with jellied coconut milk, mango and “purple curry” (just some oriental spices) with mango cubes and a coriander leaf as garnish. The rich pigeon was a reasonable foil for spices and a little mango acidity (19/20). Next was iced apple with goose liver, goat cheese and argan oil, which for me was a flavour combination too far (16/20).
Lamb from Aragon was tasty and cooked carefully, served with coffee (which did not taste as odd as it sounds), superb celeriac puree and walnut (18/20). For dessert, first up was “peach melba”, a jar of raspberry crumble poured into a peach foam, which was an unusual idea with properly executed components (17/20). A rice pudding with cinnamon was served with a smoking stick, giving a wood smoke aroma, with a ball of rice pudding inside – again nothing if not modern, but the tastes worked, which is what counts (18/20).
Finally a modern take on Black Forest gateau had excellent chocolate mousse and a meringue casing containing cherries (18/20). Some petit fours were on the weird side, with iced pina colada, chocolate lollipop and cotton candy with passion fruit, plus some caramel variations and a wasabi and beetroot strawberry with yoghurt (17/20). The coffee was excellent (19/20).
Service was extremely good, attentive and helpful. The bill for two was EUR 508, based on the tasting menu at EUR 189. Overall I was impressed with the cooking, which although certainly tending towards the theatre of ultra-modern technique generally used taste combinations that were enjoyable, with the modern techniques on show at worst a distraction and mostly being quite effective. For me this was a very good 18/20 level meal, with elements that were better than this.
I'm afraid the pictures are poor, since the lighting was very low in the dining room.