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Residenz Heinz Winkler

Aschau Im Chiengau, (50 miles east of Munich), Aschau Im Chiengau, Germany

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Chef interview

Heinz Winkler is the chef and owner of Residenz Heinz Winkler, at the base of the Alps not far from Munich. He was the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin stars in 1982 at the age of 32.

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In the 2009 Michelin guide Heinz Winkler lost his third star, which surprised many. Heinz Winkler was the youngest ever three star chef (in the UK the food press often claims, wrongly, that the youngest 3 star chef was Marco Pierre Whiite) until in 2002 this title passed to Calandre's Massimiliano Alajmo. Winkler was awarded his third star in 1981 at the age of just 32 as head chef of Tantris. He trained in Germany and briefly with Paul Bocuse before moving to Tantris in 1978.He became head chef and after earning three Michelin stars for Tantris opened his own restaurant in 1991.This gained three Michelin stars in its own right in 1993/94, then from 2000 until it was controversially demoted to two stars.

The Residenz is a relaxing establishment in a pretty Bavarian village, with an attractive view of nearby mountains. For a very fair (by UK standards) EUR 250 you can stay in a maisonette apartment on two floors with a secluded garden and sun-loungers set up. The food that I ate here was perhaps the best I had tried in all of Germany, no slight recommendation given just how good the top German restaurants are. The dining room was decorated imaginatively with a series of murals giving the impression of a countryside setting, and tables were generously spaced.

Amuse-bouche on the first of two meals we had here over a weekend set the standard: a stunning yellow pepper mousse, a little marinated salmon laced with ginger and sublime diced vegetables laced with a hint of spice and encased in pastry (a sort of upmarket onion bhajee). A starter of scallops wrapped in lasagne was very fine, as was a whole sea bass cooked in a salt shell. The sea bass had fabulous flavour, served with a fine cream and chive sauce.

A whole duckling was cooked perfectly and filleted at the table, served with a finely judged balsamic dressing. All the dishes tried during the weekend were to a very high standard indeed e.g. a fabulous dish of turbot through to simple pan-fried and salted cep slices. Cheese was in excellent condition, and if one was being picky then the (relative) weakness would be desserts. A Grand Marnier parfait with orange slices was excellent, as were “tears” of chocolate, essentially fried fondant spheres served in a biscuit case with a coconut ice cream, but they did not quite match the exceptional standard of the starters and main courses. Petit-fours were excellent, including a fine mini lemon tart, a passion fruit praline and fine usual chocolate and nut concoctions.

The wine list was extensive and whilst expensive by German standards was a bargain compared to London. A fabulous 1990 J.J. Prum Auslese was just EUR 57, for example. Service is excellent, with the generally OK prices slightly spoilt by excessively expensive mineral water (EUR 7.50 a bottle). Overall this was a very fine place indeed to eat and stay.

 

Further reviews: 10th Jun 2014

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  • Name unavailable

    ''Indeed to eat and stay''! I have done both and despite its popular as a restaurant, the whole establishment provides a memorable experience to its gourmet clients who can appreciate fine food & accommodation. In my opinion its one out of ten leading restaurants in Europe... and Aschau! A beautiful location especially when i compare it with other fine dining location such as Bray which in my opinion have nothing to offer!

  • SMG

    In early 2008, I struck up a conversation with some nearby diners in New York who raved about Heinz Winkler, and three short weeks later I took my first dedicated food trip solely to eat at the Residenz. At that point, I was a relative novice in terms of 3-star restaurants, though after eating four enormously consistent, delightful, perfectly-executed meals there, I grew to appreciate food to a much greater degree. Fast forward 3.5yrs later and I have now visited every 3-star in the US and Europe yet wanted to return to Heinz Winkler to see why / how Michelin decided to demote the Residenz to only 2 stars. I once again had four meals during my stay. I probably had 90% of the written menu and several other off-menu "house signature" items. Not one - and I stress NOT ONE - course was of anything less than 3-star quality (all were 9/10 or better). Again, I've been to more than 80 different 3-star restaurants in aggregate, and I would easily put this in the top 20. I see no basis for the demotion - the food was just as consistenty perfect and service brilliantly textbook - and believe that there is no greater snub by Michelin on the planet. I encourage anyone who will be in the Munich area to visit Heinz Winkler and see for yourself.

  • Greg Brozeit

    I just reviewed the new ratings and was disappointed to see that Heinz Winkler was demoted to two stars. This is just downright confusing. I've had the luck to have been there twice in the past two years and couldn't disagree more with the new rating. We Americans are obsessed with rating anything--top ten lists, halls of fame, etc--but as I reminded my guests, sometimes you just have to enjoy the quality and creativity of these restaurants and not get too bogged down about rating. Last year I did a tour of four three stars--Winkler, Vendome, Waldhotel Sonnora, and Schloss Berg. Each was completely up to standard and each had a distinctive style and quality. Winkler is definitely an example of the highest standard of the traditonal school--sauces and simple ingredients that bring comfort and pleasure to every part of the palette. In June we dined on a particulary warm evening. The greeting of a cold cucumber and dill soup could not have been more appropriate, soothing, and incredibly flavorful. I can still taste it and feel the coolness it brought throughout my body. After that we were treated to a meal and service that, again, was of the highest standard. I had a main course of breast of squab that literally melted in my mouth and built up a complexity of flavors that emphasized all the freshness of the bird. Both of these dishes are what come to mind when I consider what the unwritten standard of what a three star restaurant should be. I will try to make it back again this year and hope that Michelin realizes what a great blunder they have made.

  • J. J. STIVES

    I agree totally with your evaluation of Winkler's in 2003 and would add only that things have gotten even better in the years since. I have been a Winkler fan for nearly 30 years, from his early days at Tantris, and have stayed at Residenz many times since its opening. As you probably know, he regained the 3 Stars quickly after a bit of a dip inherent to the opening of his new property some 14 years ago and has maintained it ever since. The addition of the "laconium" on the lowest floor, complete with steam room, sauna, pool and Infra Red booth, plus a tanning booth, added to my enjoyment while there and I never once have encounterd another soul in the rooms while I was there. His younger son, Alex, who for many years excelled as a Captain, bringing his superb wine knowledge to my aid many times in the dining room, has recently moved into the kitchen, hopefully to learn at least some of his father's secrets and absorb some of his incredible talent. With some 40 years of visiting upscale establishments in Germany, I have yet to find anything that compares with what Winkler accomplishes daily. JJ Stives, November 2007

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