Auberge de l'Ill

2 Rue de Colonges, Illhaeusern, France

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Chef interview

Marc Haeberlin is head chef of the Auberge de l'Ill, one of the prettiest three-star restaurants, on the bank of a river in a village in Alsace.

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The little town of Illhausen can be found off the N83, north of Colmar. The village is tiny, and the restaurant is located on the banks of the river Ill. The dining room overlooks the river and with pretty gardens.  It is part of the attractive Hotel des Berges, which has eleven rooms in all. We began our meal with was a slice of stunning quiche (20/20) and tiny pizza (16/20) with a local speciality, brawn, which is a particularly unpleasant tasting offal. No doubt this was cooked well, but I feel unqualified to mark it, as I have never had it before and never will again. Bread was a choice of white rolls or poppy seed rolls (17/20). I started with a terrine of foie gras in gelée, which was very fine indeed (20/20). Next was sandre (pike) in wild celery sauce topped with truffle - this was better than the version we had tried at Troisgros (20/20). 

My menu continued with a lobster served in its shell with a creole crust and lobster sauce with a little sauerkraut - beautiful lobster (20/20). My wife had “salmon soufflé”, fresh salmon topped with a cheese soufflé, served with a beurre blanc, tomato puree and puff pastry (18/20). For main course my wife had a stunning sea bass, cooked in the same way as my sandre (10/1/0). I tried venison, served with wild mushrooms, noodles (the only let down, a little tasteless), and assorted cherries and grapes (18/20).

For cheese we tried: Munster (20/20), Epoisses (20/20), Brie de Meaux (18/20), chevre au ciboulettes (20/20), Fourme d’Ambert (18/20), a garlic and pepper cheese (19/20), Pont l’Eveque (18/20), all with a fruit and nut bread (16/20). We were then offered some fresh cherries with cinnamon ice cream (18/20).

For dessert, my menu had a millefeuille of raspberries, but without any fuss they swapped this for poached pear with champagne sabayon and pistachio ice cream (18/20). My wife had a remarkable dessert: crepes cooked in front of us on a little burner, stuffed with vanilla custard and wild cherries, flambeéd with kirsch; this tasted quite incredible, perhaps the dish of the whole summer (20/20). Coffee was superb (20/20). With this were: an éclair (18/20), sugared pastry (16/20), a macaroon with lemon filling (20/20), a lemon meringue tart (20/20), a milk chocolate nut cluster (20/20), chocolate and coffee mousse (20/20), a Florentine (20/20), a tart with bitter chocolate (20/20) and an almond tuile (20/20). These were remarkably consistent.

The accompanying  wine was Zind Humbrecht Riesling Grand Cru 1992 at FF 250, and a glass of vendage tardive Riesling Dopff (not that great) at FF 50 for a glass.  The total bill was FF 180 and the set menu was FF 720.  Service was wonderful throughout and this was without doubt one of the very best meals I ate that year.

Further reviews: 14th Jun 2018 | 23rd Oct 2015 | 01st Jun 2002

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