Anna Sgroi

Milchstraße 7, Hamburg, 20148, Germany

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Sicilian chef Anna Sgroi first opened her own restaurant (Anna e Sebastiano) in Hamburg back in 1987, and was awarded a Michelin star there in 1990 before moving to run a bistro.  In 2002 she opened Sgroi, which lasted a decade, but then transplanted the restaurant to a new location in April 2013, which gained a Michelin star in the 2014 guide. The restaurant is now in a quiet street a short distance from the pretty Alster lake, though there is no view over the water from the dining room. It is a smart residential area filled with elegant town houses. The dining room was carpeted, so noise levels were pleasantly low, though another old-fashioned but less welcome touch was that no wifi was provided.

Bread was made in the kitchen from scratch; today's baking brought a simple but pleasant white bread, served warm (14/20). The wine list ranged in price from €32 to €299, the labels mostly Italian but with some French and German choices too. Kunstler Hockheimer Holle Kabinett 2011 was €62 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for €17,  Siro Pacenti Rosso di Montalcino 2012 was €73 compared to a shop price of €29, and the lovely Jermann Vintage Tunina 2013 was €110 compared to a retail price of €45. The excellent Antinori Tignanello 2013 was €139 for a bottle that will set you back €66 in a shop.

A trio of crostini arrived as an amuse-bouche. The toppings were tomato, which had reasonable flavour, good quality Culatello ham and Roman salad, each with a very delicate pastry base that melted in the mouth (15/20).

Risotto of white asparagus had carnaroli rice with excellent creamy texture. The vegetable stock used, made with rice wine and thickened with Parmesan, had considerable depth of flavour. It was very salty though, even to my taste, and I complain about over-salty food about as often as Jeremy Clarkson complains that his car is too fast (15/20). 

Grey mullet was fried and came with white beans and wild garlic. The fish was cooked a touch long and was not carefully filleted but the beans were very good and the garlic added a subtle extra flavour (just about 14/20).

Dessert was pineapple tortina with ginger ice cream. This was lovely, the little cake having gorgeous crumbly  texture and the ice cream having deep ginger flavour (easily 16/20).

Coffee was from a small Hamburg supplier called Carroux, and was very good, rich in flavour and with the espresso having a good crema. The service was acceptable rather than assured, the two waiters that I encountered coming across as well-meaning but inexperienced. The bill for the set lunch, with just mineral water at €6, came to €50.50 (£40). At dinner and with modest wine, a typical bill all-in would come to about £70 a head. This was a slightly erratic meal but the best dishes were certainly in one-star Michelin territory.



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