Picturesque ex-3 Michelin starred restaurant and hotel sat riverside in the village of Illhaeusern
I always thought that the Waterside Inn (Bray) was a spectacularly pleasant setting in the summer overlooking its river with large, sliding doors – but this I’m afraid is the Waterside Inn on steroids. I had lunch in winter and although weeping willows were obviously barer, the picturesque setting for this restaurant is wonderful, as its name lives up to (Inn overlooking the river) and please just cut straight to the pictures if you want know more. At the time of my visit, the restaurant was 3 Michelin starred but alas lost one to become a 2-star restaurant in 2019. Signature dishes here are first-class still and for a romantic retreat, this is a stunning restaurant with wonderful service all round. The 7-course set menu for €132 in a venue of this calibre represented very good value for money compared with Paris and other lavishly expensive areas of France.
An assortment of homemade breads were offered with salt from Brittany and these were reassuringly good, even the pumpkin & gingerbread which had an unusual but interesting flavour. An amuse-bouche of sour cheese cream, grilled onions, matured tuna and tarte flombé, (cream ham & cheese) was served at the start and I frankly could not have wished for anything more – decadent, classic and utterly gorgeous. The whipped sour cream was beautifully light and although the tuna was slightly drowned out, it was enjoyable the whole way through as a combination.
A terrine of goose foie gras with beef and port jelly was prepared at the table and in the classic French tradition, the portion size of this was gigantic which although is not brilliant on the cholesterol level, it is better on the wallet. This was superbly smooth and another brioche was offered the second I was on my last brioche piece.
One of the reasons I went for the ‘lowered’, set menu (starters on the a la carte ranged from €45-118 and mains from €48-150 for sharing) was the fact that it included one of the staple dishes of the restaurant – the Salmon soufflé a la Auberge de L’Ill. This is a mousseline of salmon with roasted salmon encased in a mousseline made from cream and egg, baked and served with a cream sauce. This was the height of classic cuisine in its simplicity and the delicate nature of the mousseline and the wonderful sauce surrounding a quality piece of salmon. Full marks here and was a pleasure to add to the experiences.
Fillet mignon of veal with pumpkin purée, mushroom, gnocchi, ‘brown’ juice and lemon confit was the choice of main. Surprisingly this was actually quite bland and felt very much as a quick, bottom end, set menu dish as the veal barely had any flavour, but at least was succulent and well cooked, combined well with a light jus and sweeter than norm vegetable.
The cheese trolley could be smelt from the back area of the restaurant and was included as a course within this lunch menu, followed by a pastry dessert of apple sorbet, apple match sticks and compote. This had a lovely thin pastry base, gentle hints of cinnamon with the sorbet being the hero and so deep in apple flavour. The meal then concluded with an almost endless array of petit four that were inevitably too much for the whole meal.
There was such good hospitality at this restaurant with genuine care going into asking if everything was alright as opposed to the usual, loud and unmeaning delivery experienced at many mediocre places in day to day life. If only other venues followed this fine suit. The total bill came to €152 which, for where I was and what I received I view as a bargain and rarely am I bowled over by the awesome beauty of a place, but this was one of the most wonderfully designed and picturesque restaurants I have ever been to – God knows how even nicer it must be at Spring and Summer which I thoroughly recommend you put on a bucket list if you need some inspiration.
Food Grade: 86%
Location (Click google logo for directions)