Bareiss is a spa resort and restaurant at the base of a lovely Black Forest valley. The nearest airport is Stuttgart (though Zurich is also feasible), and is about a 70 minute drive away (90km). If coming by car then be aware that Bareiss is listed in some car satellite navigation systems under Mitteltal, a tiny village next to Baiersbronn. The 99 room hotel opened in 1951 and has lovely views over the pine tree covered valley.
The restaurant opened in 1982, and chef Klaus-Peter Lumpp gained the restaurant a third Michelin star in 2007. Mr Lumpp did an apprenticeship here at the Kurhotel Mitteltal (which later became the Hotel Bareiss) and worked in the military and at a variety of restaurants including Louis XV in Monaco as well as at Tantris under Heinz Winkler and Eckart Witzigmann, before returning to the hotel in 1987. He became head chef at Bareiss in 1992.
The carpeted ground floor dining room has well-spaced tables covered with particularly high quality linen tablecloths, with an attractive central flower display of roses and lilies, amongst others. A quartet of initial nibbles comprised kingfish sushi with cucumber, chickpea tart with lemon, a cheese tart with basil and a savoury crisp sandwich of carpaccio of beef fillet with pea mayonaisse. The chickpea tart was the pick of these, the beef also good, but the kingfish sushi had cold rice (unthinkable in Japan) and wasabi that was coloured horseradish rather than the real grated root (17/20 average). Tasting menus were available at €168 (£134) and €210 (£168), as well as a full a la carte choice.
The wine list had over a thousand separate labels, with extensive coverage of France and California as well as Germany, Italy and Spain, starting as low as €30, with markups that were quite kindly. Carl Von Schubert Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Alte Reben Trocken 2008 was €50 for a wine that you can find in the high street for €30, Trimbach Cuvée Frederich Emile 2001 was €100 compared to a retail price of €66, and Chateau Leoville-Poyferre 2001 was €200 for a wine that will set you back €90 in the shops. The lovely Chateau Leoville-Las Cases 1990 was €500 for a wine that retails at €360.
Bread was bought in from a local bakery, the bread made to the restaurant's specifications. Rolls of white and brown bread, potato and corn bread, saffron roll and tomato and chili bread were pleasant, but this was by no means outstanding bread (16/20). It was interesting comparing the bread with the evidently better bread the night before at Schwarzwaldstube, which was also bought in, but from a different local bakery.
A pretty amuse-bouche of marinated mixed vegetables came presented on a base of creme fraiche flavoured with herbs and an olive crumb, with a cup of gazpacho on the side. The carrots, courgette onion and mushrooms garnished with edible flowers were very good indeed, and the olive crumb worked well as a textural contrast with the creme fraiche (19/20). A further nibble of fried sea bass with crisp skin came with polenta, lemon and olive sauce, an octopus salad and a foam of octopus. The sea bass was excellent, the octopus tender and the sauce having a pleasing citrus freshness (18/20).
Red prawns were fried and served with candied tomato, pesto and a vinaigrette with melon and a few Parmesan crisps. I am not sure what the melon really added to what was otherwise a very natural Mediterranean mix of flavours, but the prawns themselves were superb, the tomatoes having deep flavour (easily 18/20).
Langoustines came in a dizzying array of styles, presented on five separate plates in the style associated with Pierre Gagnaire. Carpaccio of langoustine came topped with a fried langoustine tail, with Marscapone topped with caviar. There was a tartare of langoustine with olive oil cream, a separate sautéed langoustine on a spoon of intense crustacean glaze, cucumber foam with cucumber and lettuce, and finally a tempura of langoustine with cabbage and apple. The langoustines were from Brittany and of high quality, sweet and having lovely flavour, precisely cooked. If I am to be picky, the tempura batter would not shine in comparison to a specialist tempura restaurant in Japan, and the cabbage was a touch sharp. However this was all most enjoyable, and clearly showed off a range of culinary skills (18/20).
Turbot with cauliflower and curry sauce came with an accompanying courgette flower deep-fried with chickpea filling. The turbot, again from Brittany, had lovely flavour and was precisely cooked, the spices light and working well with the fish, the chickpea courgette flower lovely (19/20). My roe deer main course was sourced from the hunting estate of the hotel, some of which is within sight of the dining room, so as local as it is possible to be. Saddle of venison came with celeriac mousse and celery, poached leg of deer with elderberry jelly and chanterelles, the shoulder of the animal was poached and served with apple salad, fillet of deer was served with a risotto, and finally there was a ravioli of elderflower, which was quite sharp. The venison had excellent flavour, and the celery in particular was impressive, while the other elements of this complex dish all worked quite logically (19/20).
Mousse of Marscapone came with rhubarb and praline nougat, cheesecake with rhubarb ice cream topped with pistachio powder, rhubarb and ginger ragout with butter crumble and Tahitian vanilla. The ginger flavour in the ragout was excellent, the rhubarb itself enjoyable tart but carefully in balance with the other dish elements, and only the rather bland Marscapone mousse seemed a little lost amongst the flavours (between 18/20 and 19\20).
Variations of raspberries consisted of raspberry and chocolate tartlets with raspberry sorbet and cocoa crumble, creme fraiche with lime and raspberry jelly, raspberries with yoghurt and verbena, white chocolate mousse with marinated raspberries and lemon, and finally pineapple with a raspberry vinegar stock. Although another very complex dish, this worked particularly well, with the flavour of the raspberries themselves superb, the balance of the elements very finely judged, the technique on display faultless (20/20).
Coffee came with petit fours of chocolate cake, cranberry tart, passion fruit sponge, chocolate filled with liquid apricot and a cornet of Black Forest cherries. These were also top drawer, the tart having very delicate pastry, the cherry cornet lovely (19/20). At this point, just in case you were still feeling peckish, a large tray of yet further mignardises was wheeled over, including with fruit jellies, a vast selection of pralines presented in a cigar box, fruit and assorted cakes and tarts.
The bill came to €249 (£199) per head. If you ordered three courses and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical bill would come to around £180 a head. Service was very capable, the staff friendly. Overall this was a very good meal, with good quality ingredients and impressive kitchen technique. Dishes were quite complex, with the Pierre Gagnaire motif of multiple variations on the same core ingredient happening with several dishes. I am not sure this necessarily adds anything to the experience, other than to show off the admittedly impressive kitchen technique. However, overall this is still undeniably accomplished cooking, and at a relatively modest price point for food at this level.