Exquisite cooking at the highest levels in the Black Forrest of Germany
This 3 Michelin starred restaurant is one of the pinnacle restaurants in the world. Not only has it maintained the highest accolade of 3 Michelins stars since 1992, but at least three chefs who went on to earn 3 Michelin stars in their own restaurants also started their training here under the original head. The head chef is now Torsten Michel and has spent many years here as Soux chef. Everything about this meal was utter attention to detail in a beautiful setting. The manager of the restaurant came to our table to say hello as did the head chef and the food was intricate beyond measure. This is a true 3 Michelin starred restaurant of the highest order in a beautiful setting of the Black Forest valley.
The restaurant itself is located in the Black Forest of Germany (hence ‘Schwarzwald’ with Stube referring to a homely place within) and directly opposite the Tonbach hotel – both lie in a pine tree valley which, at Christmas, which is when we went, looked magical. Tonbach hotel is a 5* hotel and spa resort and provided a huge suite for two adults and child for the 3 days stay at a far more reasonable rate than you might think.
Jumping into the wooden-beamed Schwarzwaldstube, we were looked after with impeccable service throughout by waitresses in traditional, German country uniforms. Snacks started with squid rice cracker with mackerel tartare, tobiko caviar, coriander mayonnaise, crustacean jelly and red bell pepper. This was smooth and enjoyable. Next up was amberjack, curry, guacamole, onion & quinoa which was outstanding, followed by a fillet of beef with calf cream and a chive like marinade which was grand.
The amuse bouche here was probably the best one I have ever been served. Char was served with beetroot jelly, horseradish espuma cream of egg yolk and tiny element of citrus as well as luxury with a yuzu marinade & lemon zest – this is definitely the best char dish I have tried full stop, but for amuse bouche it was also sensational preparation, based on the fact that this was a mere addition and welcome greeting. Rye bread, baguette, ciabatta with olive were served with Normandy butter.
The soups were spectacular. It’s actually a trend I’ve picked up having lived in Germany for 2 years, their soups are actually the best I have ever had at the higher level and this first one with saffron was beautifully spiced and was essentially the perfect blend of protein, carbs and fat in a consommé. The saffron itself was sourced from 1,800 metres above sea level, reportedly hand-picked by old men, then dried for 80 minutes. The overall effect was superb. The second soup was a mushroom consomme of superb clarity from the stock and perfect pastry on top. Foie gras using perfectly seasoned duck foie gras with Perigord truffle and beautifully viscous was just was wonderful.
I thought it could not get better, but then one of the impressive desserts in a long time was presented. This apple mousse coated in a thin coating of sugar has 20 years to get right and the chef reported to us that it is such a complex procedure that roughly 30% has to go to waste in the making of each one. This was literally the most impressive sugar sphere I have come across, the prettiness not in question and all the flavours of the plum sorbet, bonbon of wild plum brandy and plum compote worked really well.
A cheese course was opted for at the end but not in the normal way – melted Vacharin Mont-d’Or, with “La Ratte” potatoes, small dandelion and lamb’s lettuce salad in a nut oil marmalade was another knockout. For the €15 it was also an absolute steel for what it was (a beautiful blend of melted and mousse cheese with supporting parts. It was so good and such good value that we ordered another to take back to the room in the hotel afterwards. Being an establishment of wonderful service, this was absolutely not in question and we carried this back to our room. Petit fours in themselves were worthy of some of the best mini desserts imaginable.
The total bill for this meal was €248 for two with alcohol meaning roughly £110 per person. This represented very good value and I would put a flight price and hotel on top of this for the sake of having more food here. It was literally worth a special journey and if you are ever anywhere near this region (closes airport is Stuttgart by the way), I would absolutely recommend this restaurant in a heartbeat.
Food Grade: 97%