Wednesday 15th February 2017 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
I was the luckiest lady in Munich last night, in getting a table at Michelin 2-star restaurant Dallmayr at short notice, due to a cancellation. I had booked at both top restaurants (with Atelier) in Munich, but due to Valentine’s Day, I was on the waiting list at both restaurants. It made my Valentine’s Day even more special, even though I ate on my own!
While I had sent positive messages to Atelier earlier in the day, and ate at the sister restaurant Garden for lunch yesterday, there was no cancellation at Atelier. Receiving the call from Dallmayr restaurant manager Barbara Engelbrecht, to inform me of the table availability, was one of the aspects which made my day special yesterday. Barbara double-checked my dietary requirements, which we had already discussed when I made the reservation two weeks ago. Earlier in the day I visited the famous Dallmayr Delicatessen downstairs, with exceptional foodstuffs, coffees, and wines, the Harrods of Munich. Many of the ingredients and wines used at Dallmayr are from its Deli.
My coat was taken, and I was shown the table. Waitrons Theresa and Kristina looked after my table, as well as the other six in the same room, while another waitron pair did the other room. I observed how the two arrived at a table together, each removing a plate for a table of two. The two waitrons alternated in bringing dishes to my table, and in explaining the ingredients. They helped me with the English translations of the German food terms, so it was an educational evening for me. I was offered a warm lemongrass-scented cloth to wipe my hands, starting off the evening. Staff wear black tops and slacks, the tops having a rust-colored collar and stripe at the bottom of the top.
The restaurant with its two sections has tables with red leather chairs, with a conservative decor style. Paintings by various artists added life to the walls. The waitrons did not know the names of all the artists whose works were in the restaurant. A butterfly artwork woven into material, by Gregor Törtz, influences the restaurant, in that a white underplate had a pink butterfly on it, an odd touch, one of very few aspects to criticize.
The table was covered with a cream table cloth, with a cream rolled napkin, Peugeot salt and pepper grinders, a glass holder with olive oil and Balsamic (cheap-looking by comparison), a glass container with a beautiful orchid, the butterfly underplate, a side plate with a Xoni butter knife (no other cutlery was on the table, suitable (Italian Chirabon) cutlery being brought to the table for each course and placed on the table (with a glove, a first), and two blowfish made by the famous porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg were on the table as table decoration. French Sommelier Julien Morlat came to introduce himself, but I declined the pairings, to be able to write this Review straight after the dinner. I loved the Bollinger branded champagne cooler in which the aperitifs were being cooled. In the centre of the room was a table with a massive flower arrangement, with magnolias. Next to my chair was a stool with magazines. I asked one of the waitrons what it was for, and she said it was for my handbag, and that I could read the magazines if I got bored ( a bizarre reply). I drank mineral water, which was the Plose brand from South Tyrol, at €9 per liter bottle. (At Garden restaurant at Bayerischerhof over lunch yesterday I had paid €8 for a 330ml bottle of Evian!). Wifi was a welcome service, as it is rare in restaurants, and the taxi driver explained that restaurants have to take legal responsibility for what their clients download! At Bayerischerhof yesterday I was quoted €9 per hour of wifi, even though I ate lunch there! Only accommodation guests receive free wifi access.
Three Amuse Bouche dishes were served, not pre-announced, even before we received the menu. The first Amuse Bouche was served with Dinkelbrot (spelt bread) chips, with a beetroot salad, beetroot foam, walnut cream, and chopped walnuts. It was served in a beautiful white plate, which had texture, the new ceramic trend. It was a pity that the shards hid the salad.
The second Amuse Bouche was a pannacotta of parsley root, pickled chervil tuber, black vinegar, and black cumin, which is different to cumin seeds, I was told by one of the two waitrons. The dish also had what she called ‘caviar of the field’, or ‘Koshia seeds’, giving a caviar look. It probably was the least attractive dish of the ten courses I tried.
The surprise third Amuse Bouche was pig cheeks (yes!), served with variations of kohlrabi – pickled, as mousse, and with miso gel. It too was served in a beautiful textured bowl.
The bread arrived at the table, six rolls attached, two each being made with sunflower seeds, two with beetroot, and two without added ingredients. A slate plate contained three butters, not very neatly presented, looking like blobs to me, one with wasabi algae, one topped with raspberry salt, and one natural unsalted butter.
I received what looked like an envelope, officially closed with a Dallmayr wax seal. When I opened it, it was the two different Tasting Menus, printed on cream hard board. The waitron presenting the menu asked me if I had any questions, and she patiently described terms and ingredients I did not know.
The first item on the menu was the absolute highlight of the dinner, with melt-in-the-mouth foie gras, which was topped with grated frozen beef fillet, beautiful in colour, and the most amazing taste. On the plate too was Rumtopf, a German speciality of overnight rum-marinaded raspberries, black berries, and mulberries. Chervil crème as well as buckwheat crème were also part of the dish.
The second course of my meal was steamed kabeljou, served with caramelised crème fraîche, malt sauce, and pearl onions prepared in red wine and in port. On my request, the onions were served on the side. Interesting was that no fish knife was offered for this dish, but a spoon was a welcome item of cutlery to finish the lovely sauce.
The third course was saddle of lamb, glazed baby carrots, chickpea purée, baby artichokes, and an unusual addition (to my mind unnecessary) of very mildly curried sweetbreads, served with a sheep cheese Brin d’Amour, and a lovely lamb jus. The knife offered for this course had horn in the handle, branded as Laguiole Claude DOZORME.
The fourth course was very unusual, a deconstructed cheese sandwich, which we were instructed to reconstruct as a sandwich – we were supplied with a slice of spelt bread, 24-month aged Gouda cheese, walnut butter, and celery chutney. The bread had a lovely crispy crust, and the celery chutney was cold and sweet, a good contrast to the Gouda.
Course number five was a dessert of pear sorbet, marinated pear cubes, tarragon crème, goat milk soufflé, goat milk foam, black cumin, creating an interesting medley of colours and tastes.
An additional dessert was a deconstructed cheese cake, made with banana and matcha powder. In a separate container was matcha ice tea and banana cream, less successful, as the latter had a watery appearance and the two ingredients appeared to have separated.
The Friandise were not counted as a course, making up the tenth course overall, a very generous portion of chocolate mint shards, macarons with Cassis, hazelnuts enrobed with Dulce chocolate, and truffles with passion fruit and Baileys. I ordered a dry cappuccino, and it was perfect. At this time Sommelier Julian wheeled a trolley filled with post-dinner drinks to each table.
The Executive Chef Diethard Urbansky comes into the hallway when the guests depart, personally greeting them. He started the restaurant at Dallmayr eleven years ago, and achieved the restaurant’s first Michelin star in its first year of operation, and gained a second star in its second year, and has maintained two stars since then. Eight Chefs report to Chef Diethard, preparing the gourmet dishes for the 40 guests of the restaurant. Chef Diethard explains in a little booklet which one receives with the bill that he stands for ‘Form follows function‘, driving his quest for ‘fanatical quality’, as well as ‘Less is More’. His cuisine style is described as ‘Classic Modern’.
The double waitron service was better than that experienced in most restaurants, and the English translations for some of the ingredients were very helpful, in preventing me from having to Google them. With the wifi available, I could Instagram while at the restaurant, saving me time in writing this review. Disappointing is that one of the waitrons did not know all the answers to my questions, and despite promising to find the information, she had to be reminded. After each course the waitrons asked for feedback about the course. I wasn’t sure if all of it reached the kitchen. Not unique, but welcome, was the replacement of the napkin with a fresh one when one leaves the table. One of the waitrons stretched across me to put down the dessert cutlery, even though there was more than enough space to come around the table on my right side. The foie gras course was exceptional, and no other course came close to it.
The cost for five courses (i.e. ten) was €145, having excluded the sole course. With sole 11 courses cost €160, and a longer menu (described as six courses but no doubt more than ten with the extras) costs €160, and €190 for eight courses (but with extras added too). Wine pairings cost €77,50 – €125 extra. All prices include service and VAT, the menu informed.
I booked Uber to take me to the restaurant, and an initial quotation of €20 jumped with a 2,5-fold surge pricing, probably due to demand for Valentine’s Day. The hotel booked a taxi, which cost €10 with the tip. This experience taught me that Uber is not always the cheapest form of transport.
Restaurant Dallmayr, Dienerstr 14-15, Munich. Tel +49 89 2135 100 www.restaurant-Dallmayr.de Instagram: @dallmayr_delikatessenhaus Tuesday – Saturday evening, Saturday lunch.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein