Wahabi Nouri was born in Morocco but cooks French food with a Mediterranean influence in this Hamburg restaurant. He trained at two legendary restaurants, Schwarzwaldstube and the now-defunct Aubergine in Munich under Eckhart Witzigmann. The latter became the first German three star chef in 1980, and I still recall a fine meal there, though sadly it closed in 1993 after the head chef was arrested for possession of cocaine. After his training, Mr Nouri moved to an international caterer (Kofler & Company) and became head chef, and then opened Piment in 2000. He gained a Michelin star for the restaurant a year later, which it has retained ever since.
The restaurant is in a row of shops, set back slightly from the road. The dining room is a simple affair, with reasonably well-spaced tables covered with white tablecloths. There was a choice of two different tasting menus only, both at €108 (£85). The wine list was not very extensive, mostly of German and French wines, though with a few choices from elsewhere. Arndt Kobelin Losswand Weisser Burgunder 2014 was €65 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for €16, Luddite Shiraz 2009 was €88 compared to a retail price of €36, and Riesling Dorsheim Burgberg Schlossgut Diel 2013 was €115 for a wine that will set you back €42 in a shop.
The meal began with avocado foam with apricot and tomato chutney, which featured ripe avocado and a pleasing hint of spice (15/20). Foie gras was served with kimchi, pickled cucumber sorbet and nashi (Asian) pear. This was a touch salty, but the liver flavour was good and the acidity of the pear balanced it nicely, the kimchi not too dominant (14/20).
Beef tartare with chakchouka vegetables (a North African breakfast dish of tomatoes, peppers, onions and spices, and usually egg) came with tomato as a foam and pepper as a sorbet. The beef had reasonable flavour and the spices were fine, but there were a lot of different flavour elements and textures here competing for attention, so overall the dish seemed rather unfocused (14/20).
Perigord truffle with celery and sweet potato was better, the root vegetables nicely lifted by the earthy fragrance of the truffle (15/20). Much less successful was pike perch with asparagus, duck ham, lemon veloute and a jelly of sauce Bearnaise (egg yolks, clarified butter and white wine vinegar). The sauce and jelly were fine but the perch was very odd, cooked for too long and with a rather unpleasant aroma; it was essentially inedible (8/20).
The meal got back on track with Miral duck, salsify pastille and radish with cherry and raspberry vinegar jus. The duck was cooked pink and had good flavour, the vinegar nicely cutting through the richness of the duck; again the dish was on the salty side but that did not bother me (15/20).
Vegetarian Caesar salad with Comte, Parmesan, focaccia crisps and vinaigrette foam was next. This was pleasant, the cheese of good quality and the lettuce crisp (14/20). Dessert was mango sorbet, coconut parfait, nougat mousse and Moroccan almond scent. I am not entirely sure what went wrong here but what sounds like a refreshing assortment of tropical fruit flavours actually did not work well. The mousse had a peculiar glue-like texture and the little tuiles tasted perilously like styrofoam (11/20). Coffee was from a supplier called Elbgold and was fine.
Service was good, and the bill came to €144 (£114) each, which is about what you would expect to spend if you share a modest bottle of wine. This was a somewhat frustrating meal as there were several very nice dishes let down by a couple of real duds, the perch in particular being a shocker. At this price point such slips are hard to excuse.