This is a small restaurant near the river in Kaiserwerth (on the outskirts of Dusseldorf), but sadly with no river view. The dining room is narrow and also has an upstairs area. The decor has a quixotic nautical theme. Bread is a choice of white, brown, brioche or caraway, and was of good quality and had a nicely robust salt content. Service was friendly and superb throughout. The wine list is mainly German and French, though with a few token visits abroad. Mark-ups are fairly high though normal by London standards, about three times retail. As we perused the menu we were able to nibble on cheese straws with ham, and with delightful cones of tuile filled with caviar cream. The amuse-bouche proper was a generous red mullet fillet with a torpedo shape of minutely diced summer vegetables – the mullet was timed to perfection, one of the best I have eaten (20/20).
My starter was scallops, sliced and then reassembled into a cone, surrounded by small pieces of tender lobster and served on a bed of spinach leaves, enlivened with a little caviar (19/20). My wife had turbot with lemon grass and vanilla, garnished with mango segments and served with mango puree. This odd-sounding combination worked quite well, the vanilla carefully kept in check, and the fish beautifully timed (20/20). For main course my wife continued with brill in a red wine sauce. Again the freshness of the fish and the timing were faultless, the fish topped with a little dazzling goose liver, served with an assortment of summer vegetables with a garnish of shredded deep fried leek. The vegetables were remarkable: artichoke, broccoli, carrot and turnip all remarkably fresh and perfectly cooked, with easily the best turnip I have ever eaten (20/20). I had Kobe beef, also served with a set of (slightly different e.g. cabbage, mange-tout) summer vegetables, with a reduction of the cooking juices. The beef was fantastic: better than the version I ate in Kyoto, and the red wine sauce was a lovely accompaniment (20/20). On the side was an unusual potato dish, a cross between rosti and Dauphinoise, which was also lovely.
There was no cheese on the menu. We moved directly to dessert, crisp pancakes with cream cheese filling, served with an apple sorbet, passion fruit coulis and a few wild strawberries, all of which were lovely – maybe a flavour too many, but it is hard to knock execution at this level (20/20). A chocolate mousse was rich and velvety, accompanied by simply the best cherries I have ever eaten (and we have had some dazzling cherries in the summers in France and Germany in top restaurants). Finally a house post-pudding emerged, a remarkable melon sorbet served in a scooped out baby lemon, a fine dish despite my normal aversion to melon. Coffee with excellent petit-fours (truffle, passion fruit tart, mini rum baba around 18/20 level) was a mere 4 euros. The bill for two, with pre dinner drinks, two half bottles of wine and some lovely dessert wine, was just GBP 150 for two, which is remarkably cheap for cooking at this level. A very clear 20/20, much better than many 3 star places in France. There are no rooms here, but plenty of hotels in nearby Dusseldorf.
I was very surprised to see that the 2007 Michelin Guide demoted this to two stars. A knowledgeable foodie friend went in 2006 and had a superb meal, so it is quite hard to grasp Michelin's reasoning.