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Image 1: After a day of exploring Luxembourg, we drove across the Mosel river and entered Nennig, a small village in the German municipality of Perl.
Image 2: After passing through two sets of traffic lights, Schloss Berg appeared from the horizon. This white castle was the main destination of our short fine dining trip packing one meal in each of the three countries - Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany in one weekend!
Image 3: We had a very relaxed journey which we even had an hour to spare before our long anticipated dinner. The main structure of Victor’s Residenz-Hotel was originally a Renaissance castle which was bombed in WWII but later rebuilt into this 5-star hotel. Housing three restaurants, this hotel had become a world class culinary spot since 2005 when Chef Christian Bau clinched the prestigious Michelin three stars.
Image 4: The gourmet restaurant was actually located on the ground floor of the building next to the main hotel with rooms and suites on the upper floors.
Image 5: Knowing that our dinner was booked here for that night, they arranged our suite to be in the same building, just two floors above the dining room. Couldn't be more convenient than that!
Image 6: We were the first to show up in the dining room while Chef Bau and his wife were still busy with briefing the team before service commenced. For a small dining room of no more than ten tables, they had a big team of staff both in the kitchen and in the front of the house ensuring a flawless meal for each guest.
Image 7: I was a bit surprised to see Buddha décor but it didn't take me long to realise that this Asian twist was a reflection of Bau's cuisine. As a warm welcome, the manager got us each a ginger scented wet towel and a glass of sparkling Mosel Riesling. I immediately got distracted by how light the champagne glass was. All wine glasses in this restaurant came from Zalto, an Austria stemware maker known for ultra-thin stemware.
Image 8: Our food journey for that night began with an elaborate set of world class amuse bouche starting with cornet of beef tartare filled with smoked fish cream and crowned with Osetra caviar. The smokiness married very well with the beef without distracting the clean taste of the fresh meat. Very high quality ingredients!
Image 9: What an eye-appealing array of finger food! Diced raw swordfish blanketed with apple and fennel foam; mini disk of tuna tartare with a layer of langoustine mousse; crispy beetroot macaron with foie and smoked eel. The flavours from each bite was exceptionally well-balanced as it was like every component of each item was precisely measured. Wow!
Image 10: Then a colourful dish consisted of a disk of crab meat covered in dashi jelly, cubes of watermelon, fried ball of crab meat, and sorbet of watermelon. Unusual and complex yet a successful seafood-fruit combination with temperature contrast on the palate! Magnificent!
Image 11: And the final amuse bouche was a small velouté of chicken liver with port wine and parmesan foam. Creamy without being overly rich while leaving behind a lovely hint of sweetness. Moreover, the portion was just perfect; enough to satisfy my palate without filling up my stomach! I was very impressed by the opening scene of this meal.
Image 12: The manager then placed our menu of the night in a menu holder! The only other place where I came across a menu holder was at
Image 13: "Japanese Raw Bar"
Island shrimp accompanied by caviar, cucumber, yoghurt balls, citrus oil, and a frozen piece of cockle and verbena ice tea.
Image 14: "Japanese Raw Bar"
Hamachi together with slices of daikon, seaweed powder and drops of bergamot essence.
Image 15: "Japanese Raw Bar"
Gamberoni from Mallorca encased in lardo di collonata topped with green apple and caviar.
Image 16: "Japanese Raw Bar"
Horse mackerel covered in limequat, couscous cream, and bone marrow. The slice from the back of the fish was served raw while the piece of the belly was flamed under blow torch.
Image 17: To wrap up this set of five creative "Japanese Raw Bar" courses was a colourful plate of Japanese garden themed tuna tataki with pickled vegetable, miso yuzu ganache and iced coriander basil cream…
Image 18: ... and a separate preparation of tuna on the side with miso and ponzu cream underneath. Stunning array of sashimi tasting! Every course was based on Japanese classical way of fish preparation but cleverly enhanced by a few European elements. Elegant flavours, exquisite presentation, I loved every one of them! Bau clearly mastered the technique of incorporating Japanese flavours into his cuisine. What a brilliant show of "east meets west"!
Image 19: The arrival of the bread signified the beginning of our tasting menu! They even got an interesting utensil for olive oil. Instead of dipping my bread in olive oil, they had a pump utensil so that I could precisely control where and how many drops I wanted on the bread!
Image 20: First course of the tasting menu - Scotland razor clams with kohlrabi sauce and bergamot sorbet garnished with black garlic drops. The clam was crunchy, the sauce was addictive, the sorbet was aromatic, and it was the savoury seaweed and black garlic binding all components together. Superb course!
Image 21: A cute looking second course - Terrine of Landes foie gras wrapped in a soft seaweed and topped with a thin shitake crisps and tiny foie balls. The foie was top quality needless to say, but the amazing part was the thin layer of soft seaweed which added a fun textural element to the creamy foie. Moreover, the acidity from the few drops of sudachi juice balanced very well with the rich foie.
Image 22: Another gorgeous plate! Grilled Saint Jacques scallop with chicken, pumpkin purée and mushroom powder. I preferred the scallop by itself and this course was no exception. The pumpkin was too sweet whereas the powder was too salty. Even though they suggested to eat a bit of everything together, the scallop would simply be better by itself. The chicken had a very fine texture as it was from deboned wings, however, it was not needed at all.
Image 23: The seafood menu continued, not that I was complaining. Langoustine served 'Thai-style' with broccolli and Jasmin rice, garnished with macadamia nut and finished off with a shellfish sauce. Bau definitely sourced the best ingredients that he possibly could and this langoustine was another good example. The sauce was very appetising; lots of flavours with a lovely fragrance from kaffir lime.
Image 24: Blanketed under oyster foam was pan-fried turbot, grilled and purée of cauliflower, candied kombu and yuzu. Though the kombu had a great depth of umami, the course was still too bland overall.
Image 25: Well, with the arrival of a steak knife, it meant that the seafood section of the menu was over.
Image 26: After experiencing all the top notch ingredients from previous courses, I expected no less from Bau! A piece of well-marbled Wagyu beef from New Zealand in two preparations - the loin was seared and the short rib was braised for 36 hours, came with yamroot, caramelised chicory and Japanese hollandaise. The remarkable mouthfeel from the smooth blend between meat and fat was a dead giveaway that it was a premium cut of beef! Wow!
Image 27: To signify the end of savoury course and as a foreshadow to sweet section of the meal, my serviette was removed and replaced by a new serviette. Attentive service!
Image 28: A small palate cleaner - Sorbet of shiso leaf partially covered in plum wine foam with diced mango at the bottom. The only other time I had shiso leaf sorbet was at
Image 29: The first dessert was a play on rhubarb - poached, sorbet, and crisp, with ginger-buttermilk parfait, whey, and raspberry crumble. I rarely enjoyed sharp fruits like rhubarb but this one was very mellow and sweet.
Image 30: Next was a fun mix of textures from exotic fruits. Surrounding the inner part of the plate were coconut pearls, lychee bonbon, melon sorbet, passion fruit coulis, pina colada ice cream, and mango encased in coconut shell. Similar to every single course we had so far, beautiful with vivid colours.
Image 31: Last course of the menu, Bau's interpretation of Chocolate banana split! An incredible amount of precise hand work put onto each plate!
Image 32: Laid on a circular pastry based were a layer of banana cream and a layer of chocolate ganache decorated by little balls of frozen banana, banana purée, and a piece of paper thin banana crisp leaning on its edge. As if that wasn't complex enough, behind this banana split was banana ragout topped with vanilla ice cream and an almond biscuit filled with dark bitter chocolate! A sophisticated and rich finish to the tasting menu!
Image 33: I knew Bau won't end the night with simple petits fours. A box of passion fruit and rhubarb praline and a box pâte de fruits of blood orange and pear.
Image 34: Deconstructed cheesecake composed of sour cream, raspberry ice cream and freeze-dried raspberries.
Image 35: Miso-sesame chocolate macaron and mini caramelised lemon tart.
Image 36: And last but not least, aerated matcha white chocolate and coffee truffle chocolate. Though I was very full, I refused to leave any food behind from such an impressive meal!
Image 37: Palate-wise, it was clear that an extraordinary amount of fine tuning had gone into the menu to create such a precise cohesive flavours on every course. Presentation-wise, it was a demonstration of perfection that each course could only be constructed by skilled craftsmanship.
Image 38: I truly admire Bau's talent in creating complex yet harmonising flavours utilising many ingredients on each plate. Furthermore, the distinct aspect in my opinion was the Japanese influence which definitely set this meal apart from other fine European cuisines.