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Gourmetrestaurant Lerbach (formerly Dieter Muller)

Lerbacher Weg 51465, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

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Editor's note: the restaurant closed in January 2015 for a major refurbishment, with a planned reopening in late 2015. It is not entirely clear at the time of writing whether the restaurant will re-open in its current form.

Please be aware that Dieter Muller handed over the culinary reins to Nils Henkel in 2008, who was sous chef here under Dieter Muller from 1997 to 2003, and then chef to cuisine from 2003 to 2008.  The restaurant also changed its name to reflect this chef handover; it should be observed that the restaurant retained its three Michelin stars in 2009 through 2011, though it was demoted in 2012. The notes below are from my visit in the era of Dieter Muller as head chef.

This is a lovely old inn with extensive grounds and gardens and generous sized rooms. The dining room is in a conservatory with views onto an extensive garden. A nice touch was the use of multiple candles on each table, which made a pretty effect as the sun went down, and several sets of flowers per table also. Amuse-bouche was a rather ordinary foccacia with beef tomato puree (16/20) but then a fine lobster gelee (18/20), a little veal in pastry (19/20) and a good watercress soup (18/20). The bread was excellent, with hazelnut, onion, rye, white brown and tomato (18/20). The wine list was a huge 52 pages and not cheap, but service was once again superb (a common feature of German 3 star places). My wife had aromatised vegetables, served in a glass dish and cooked with plenty of Perigord truffles; these were fine but really only 16/20. Much better was gossamer-delicate langoustine tempura with a well-balanced langoustine mousse (20/20).

I had sea bass with a crayfish crust for my main course, resting on gnocchi, spinach and mash with a pleasant “red mustard” sauce (19/20). My wife had two fillets of turbot covered with fine celery slices, on a bed of finely chopped tomatoes with a saffron sauce and a raviolo of lobster(18/20). We skipped cheese and went for a dessert of apricots: a cake with apricot compote, an apricot mousse with a raspberry glaze and a chocolate sponge base and an ice cream of apricot, lime and thyme (17/20). The other dessert tried was a cherry plate: a soup of black cherries, sour cherries in a gratin and a chocolate cherry mousse (18/20). Coffee was very good (19/20) though the petit fours were rather ordinary (an overdone tuile, raspberry in aspic, a mango tart, chocolates) at around 16/20. Overall 19/20, with a bill for two of EUR 285 for two, again quite fair compared to London.

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  • F. Smulders

    The restaurant is called "gourmetrestaurant Lerbach" nowadays. we went here on a Thursday evening. 4 occupied tables (8 people), while the “ neighbors “ (restaurant Vendome were fully booked) We had the degustation menu “pure nature” -amuse bouche -Crayfish (cucumber, currants, emulsion of herbs, soured milk) -anglerfish (puro de bellota hame, palbeans in a brew of savory -filet of lake cisco (vinaigrette of eldercapers) parsley- lake cisco caviar -fried foie gras (sugar corn- young peas – vanilla vinegar -saddle of venison with peppers (jus of caraway- beetroot –mushrooms) -plums and mirabelles Chocolate –marzipan – cinnamon blossom – southerwoord -nibbles To make a long story short. The dishes are very well executed 1 exception, the foie gras was bloody and full of veins . Had to return to the kitchen, and while explicitly told I wanted a more “well done” I got a completely red liver back.. The only problem we had is..missing adventure, the “wow” effect.. The dishes and combinations are a bit predictable, and none of the dishes are memorable. Many sort of bread are fantastic, however the petit fours/chocolates etc. fare to limited, and actually disappointing. So yes, perhaps a bit disappointed. So my rating would be (7/10)"

  • Stephen W

    The restaurant has undergone a substantial renovation, along with a name change (now "Gourmetrestaurant Lerbach"). Nils Henkel finally has full creative control, and it will be interesting to see how his intrinsic flavour based approach develops.

  • SMG

    Just adding to Mark Thompson's review above, but the Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg and its sister hotel Lerbach exemplify nothing but class. I stayed at the former and was shuttled between the two places in a BMW 750i (!) and a Bentley (!!!!!), both of which were a little more luxurious than the NYC yellow cab I've been accustomed to. As for the my meal (11/29/08), I ordered the amuse bouche menu, which is a miniature progression that included 3 small versions of foie, 3 soups, 3 fish dishes, 3 meat dishes, and then a circular symphony of desserts. I'll pause here and mention that I ordered an additional dish of turbot with a sea urchin risotto (yum) and algae, and although I was told that this shouldn't be a problem, the dish never showed up throughout the entire course of the meal, I was never charged for it, and it was never brought up by the staff. I mention it here not to complain (I only didn't mention it to the service because I was actually surprised) but to point out that this was the ONLY service lapse in my 3 days in Germany when I ate at six 3-star meals. Anyway, back to the food, which was solid the entire way through and very indicative of 3-star cooking but not necessarily as engaging of some others. The best of the small courses was the foie gras - the first paired a layered torchon with pepper, a nice touch that seemed to temper the richness of the dish; the second was an outstanding foie creme brulee, a dish I've had in several other places (Eleven Madison Park in NYC does a nice version) but one that seemed more silky here; and a perfect if unexciting seared version. The progression of soups was also solid - a creamy chestnut version was enhanced with the richness of white truffles, and a curry and lemongrass soup was quite enjoyable and balanced. And I think the word "solid" is the best way to describe the meal here - they're not sticking to strict tradition, but they're also not going out of the way to re-invent the wheel. I enjoyed the experience but think that Vendome goes above and beyond and offers diners a lot more potential (perhaps an unfair comparison, but as they're only 7km or so apart, it's one that deserves to be made).

  • Mark Thompson

    We stayed at the Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg with their Gourmet Dreams package. The restaurant provided transportation to / from the hotel. We were met in the hotel lobby and taken away in a stretch A8 Audi and driven in pure luxury through the dark countryside. The restaurant was beautifully lit from the outside and upon entering the grounds we were immediately met and taken to our table. The restaurant’s décor is very traditional and we were set in the smaller room at the window (same table as Andy‘s 3rd picture). Our menu had already been prepared and we were greeted by Birgit Müller to make sure it met our satisfaction … it did. Service was excellent which seemed to include the precision of Taillevent, the professionalism of Louis XV, and the friendliness of our Italian 3-star experiences. This is an exaggeration, but bottom line it was great. Our menu included: mackerel & pumpkin, sole topped with a razor clam on a bed of Andalusia tomatoes, rabbit filet on a bed of young peas topped with black truffles, pigeon breast, cream sorbet with Champagne or French cheeses, and dessert. All courses were excellent, with the rabbit, pigeon, and sorbet/cheese being our favorite. My wife really enjoyed the freshness of the cream sorbet topped with Champagne, while I agree with other comment that their cheese cart is fantastic (favorite being the Époisses). At the end of the meal, Dieter came to greet us at our table. I find this is a very nice touch that is not always done. The restaurant staff drove us back to the hotel in a BMW 7-series. This was a top notch experience.

  • Stephen W

    Worth another visit, especially given your love of cheese - Monsieur Thomann's cheese trolley is a site to behold. The Amuse Bouche menu at lunch is also worth trying.

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