Im Schiffchen

Kaiserwerth Markt 9 (11km from Dusseldrof) , Dusseldorf, 40 10 50, Germany

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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.

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  • Barbara

    On Saturday the 6th of February we had dinner at the restaurant Im Schiffchen in Dusseldorf.I booked this restaurant after I found it on your website and read the reviews. Unfortunately for us the dinner was a big disappointment. I have written the restaurant an email with our comments and complaints. After I re-send the email I still haven't received any reply from them. See below the mail I send to them. Dear Sirs, Last Saturday we had dinner at your restaurant. What we expected to be a wonderful experience was a complete disappointment. We chose the menu with the advised wine menu. The start was very promising. The appetizers were very tasteful. After that we got the appetizer with the oyster and the sake. As nothing was explained to us we thought the sake belonged to the first course of the menu; the dish with the foie gras. We received this course and the taste was really marvelous, but when we all almost finished this course, the wine which belonged to this course was poured!! Without any excuse from your staff. For a restaurant with your reputation this is un-acceptable. It was also clear that you were in a hurry to get us in the same serving schedule of the guests which arrived earlier. We started at 19.30. The courses followed each other to fast; we didn’t have time to finish the wine of the previous course. This resulted in half empty glasses were taken away, without asking, as the new wine for the next course was already poured. We chose the wine menu as we trust upon your judgment that we receive the best wines in combination with the food. Unfortunately this was not so. The wines served (except for the sake and the wine served with the foie gras) were tasteless compared to the food served, they were no addition. In a restaurant like yours the wine food combination must be in such a way that the flavors of the food and the wine together intensify the taste sensation in your mouth. Especially the Champagne served with the desserts was too dry and of no taste in combination with the sweetness of the dishes. You better had served a fine sweet dessert wine, to intensify the flavors. The warm dishes were lukewarm, these should be warm. Also warm dishes should be served on warm plates but this was not the case. Our men chose to have cheese for a course as well. They had to ask for an explanation of the cheeses on the cart. When you serve cheese we advise you to serve Port wine as well, at least ask if the customer would like a glass of Port wine with the cheese. When we received the desserts, both times, these already melted and were floating over the plates!! Furthermore in your restaurant it was extremely hot. The window was opened for a little while but this caused al lot of draught and was not pleasant for the people next to the window. Other tables and your staff also suffered from the heat. Some of the staff was afraid to talk to us and let the explanation over to another colleague. We are Dutch, but speak German and English as well. And when this is the case don’t discuss this at the table but in a room were the customer can’t see this. It looks unprofessional. In the restaurant it was not clear who was in charge of the staff. This was clearly visible as staff didn’t know what to do and kept on looking to and asking each other. There must be a manager who can over look the doings of his staff, which guides them and knows what is going on at the tables. At the end of the evening the bill was presented, total of €1086, - for four persons (we didn’t even take coffee or tea as we were too disappointed). When you spent an amount like this you would expect to receive the best of the best food, wine and service especially for a two Michelin stars restaurant. We have a lot of experience with dining at Michelin star restaurants and can compare our experiences. The price-quality ratio at your restaurant is out of proportion. We especially went to Dusseldorf for your restaurant so you can imagine that we are disappointed after this evening. If you have questions or need additional information you can always contact us. We are looking forward to your reply.

  • P Jones

    We went here earlier this year and felt rather let down. Service was very poor all round. One guest couldn't eat gluten and although we told them two times in advance there was no alternative bread available and they made no effort to make imaginative dishes or work-arounds. They also charged full price for dishes where they removed elements. Very lazy. This restaurant has taken its foot off the gas and one-star restaurants in Germany offer more interesting food and much better service.

  • foodlover

    I've been there last year and I'm still dreaming of the wonderful dining I was having with my partner. Recently we've been to Ciel Bleu in Amsterdam who has also two michelin stars. It was nice but im Schiffchen is much better in every detail. The personel was correct but still friendly. The food was exceptional. Mij only regret was that I had to skip the cheesebuffet because I was too full. I have never seen such an impressive cheesebuffet. I think that they had about 100 cheeses. Everything was perfect ! If you have the chance. Go ! You will go to foodheaven.

  • Allan A. Eimert

    We had the pleasure of dining at this restaurant last week and it was the most wonderful experience. Having dined in many other 3-star restaurants, it is very difficult to see why a star has been taken away. I trust Michelin will correct this mistake next year

  • Joshua

    Having heard only the best about Im Schiffchen, and then having been surprised by Michelin's recent decision to drop one of its stars, I was quite interested to see what the place held in store when my girlfriend took me there as a birthday gift in February 2007. What awaited me was impeccable cuisine, adventurous yet firmly planted in classic tastes, all served with precision and framed by a lovely setting. A stone building on a winding street is home to Im Schiffchen. One passes by the one-star restaurant on the ground level on the way to the first floor, where the decor features quiet, subdued brown wood, embellished with a somewhat rustic feel by scattered paintings, plates, and bottles. Nothing extravagant – just quiet, assured comfort. The service immediately established itself as attentive without being fawning, friendly but not intrusive. After an excellent recommendation on a reasonable and aromatic French white, placed before us were scrumptious cones of caviar on cream, as well as tasty bread-sticks tipped with Parma ham. More followed: a picturesque quartet of a surprisingly and delightfully spiced Scottish salmon; a single frog's leg; tuna, and a Thai-style coconut soup. These dishes mirrored the menu's balance between a firm grounding in the French classics and a sense of intrigue with Asian flavours. My brioche, from a diverse assortment of bread offerings, was just right: crispy outside, fluffy within. My appetizer was dubbed 'Heinrich Heine's Travel Log' – allegedly a combination of the favourite dishes encountered by Dusseldorf's most famous poet on his travels. The dish, served in a large bowl, truly looked like a forest: amidst broccoli, carrots, lettuce, and other vegetables were oysters, shellfish, and pork. The whole concoction was given a consistency with a light oil-and-vinegar dressing with some other gentle spices – just enough to pull everything together, yet nowhere near heavy enough to drown out the fantastic individual tastes in this rather unusual assortment. A dish interesting visually and textually, it was hearty while also refined. As a main course I opted for the cannelloni of calf's liver and truffles, served with small pieces of rabbit meat. Again, a total success: the pasta itself was just strong enough to hold the dish in place but so light that it tore with a mere tug, exposing a marvellous mixture of rich liver and not-too-heavy truffles. Additional flavouring came from the cinnamon butter around the plate's edges, which became a foam over the pasta itself – a bit of a shame visually in covering up the almost translucent pasta, but a lovely topping for a great dish. Next came a nice assortment of cheeses. The German offerings, in particular, were rather interesting. Afterwards I had the apple dessert: four small apple pastries, served with four dipping sauces – passion fruit, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream. The apple, especially in the bright and tangy passion fruit, was delicious. The restaurant then brought essentially another full dessert, its version of an 'After Eight' mint. Layers of chocolate, peppermint, and cream combined impeccably – and in the interplay between the oozing dark chocolate and the cold mint and cream was particularly impressive. As if one needed more, a generous helping of good petits-four was served, accompanied by, and perhaps overshadowed by, two sticks of caramel, a salted and a sweet. Rich, chewy, this caramel was wonderful – if only one had room to finish it all . . . Im Schiffchen is a destination restaurant! A wonderful evening awaits.

  • Jens

    Sounds delicious, I had the pleasure to share my flat in Fulham with a nice guy who worked for two years as cook in the "Schiffchen" best, Jens