Restaurant Atelier is located in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel. The chef has been here only 4 years but already has 3 Michelin stars, a very quick attainment of that rating. There were only 8 large tables and a larger party table in the back portion of the room. Each of the well spaced tables had its own service table and were covered in a single beige cloth with a matching napkin. Places were set with really heavy, large charger plates made of stone. Lights were lowered and faint music played in the background. The staff all wore wrap coats, with the colors seeming to identify them. (The sommelier was the only one in red). Two tasting menus were offered with varying numbers of courses for each. They offered to move or delete things as we would want. We chose the Atelier Seven course menu and ordered our own bottles of wine. At the end of the meal they nicely brought a copy of our menu with the names of the wines included. Service was moderately friendly, portion control was good but pacing was too slow. Service also was a bit unattentive, like not re-filling wine and water glasses and it took forever to deliver the ordered cocktails.
The first set of snacks were Profierole with salsa verde and calf’s head, Bozner sauce and chives in a crispy spring roll dough and Cider meringue, St Maure and apple. The profiterole was tart stuffed with a salad-like filling that was fairly intense. The cider meringue was creamy and topped with lemon. The really crispy potato thin was filled with eggs and onions – really tasty with good texture.
An amuse bouche was octopus, fennel, saffron, grapefruit and coriander. The coriander was in the sauce or foam and was accented with tart grapefruit. The dish burst with flavors and the octopus was totally tender and nice.
The last amuse bouche was Sot-l’y-laisse, chestnut, quince, celery and brioche. The chestnuts were roasted and surrounded by a sherry sauce mixed with smoked eel and quince. It was excellent. The brioche was on top and so you could mix as you liked. The eel really didn’t taste of much smoke and thus blended in to make a good combination of ingredients.
Bread service included French baguettes, a bacon roll and an anise bread. They were accompanied by cottage cheese with bacon, olive butter pesto, unsalted butter and sea salt. It was a course in itself.
Breton sardine was served with Don Bocarte anchovies, grapes, pistachio, Parmesan and Rieslingverjus. They dry their own grapes into raisins and added them to a sauce with Riesling, green grapes and pistachio. A fried fish backbone was on top, which was completely edible, and it added a great crisp to the dish. The parmesan was a dominant flavor in the excellent dish. Everything blended well and was wonderfully filled with flavors.
Fried scallop was with couscous, green Thai curry, coconut and combava. The pan fried scallop was topped with rice flakes and sitting on couscous. Mandarin and pumpkin was mixed with the coconut and cider jam. It sounds like a bit much but it sang with flavor. The scallop was perfectly cooked and tasted great but was a bit stringy. No matter, it all blended beautifully and had a terrific final effect.
John Dory was served with cabbage, avocado and sauerkraut. The fish was pan fried with the avocado underneath and a sauce of sauerkraut. The large flake fish was cooked perfectly and went well with the tart sauce. The effect reminded me of a tasty Reuben sandwich, which I adore, so I’d call this one exceptional. The tart sauerkraut was enhanced with a bit of dill and mustard seed and some really tiny croutons were there to add a textural component.
Sweetbreads with black salsify, kumquats, hazelnuts and tarragon was next. The salsify was prepared as long crisp strips and the tarragon was made into a foam. The sweetbreads had a bit of a pasty consistency and were overshadowed by the bright green sauce. Lots of strong flavors in this dish that worked pretty well. The bits of kumquat added some tartness, too.
Atelier Radler was a drink of lemon, vinegar and sake in the top half of a beer bottle. It had a “slushee” consistency with the bitterness of beer mixed with fruit of lemon. Fun and interesting in a unique serving container.
Pigeon breast was grilled over Binchotan and served with mushrooms, pearl barley, lemon mayonnaise, turnip, pear and whitefish caviar. The pear was in slices on the top of the breast along with turnip. The pigeon was tender, rare, firm and not a bit mealy. The rutabegga gave it a hint of bitterness that contrasted nicely with the sweet pearl barley. It had a tasty overall effect, with everything blending well. Lots of sauce made it even more fun.
Brin d’Amour with kaki, bread and honey combs was the cheese course. Kaki is a local fruit that we would call persimmon. The cheese was creamy and nicely paired with some proscuitto and fruit. A good combination and tasty.
Tangerine was paired with spruce needles, roasted quinoa and pumpernickel for a pre-dessert. It was supposed to mimic a walk in the forest soil without much rain. It was dry on the top with the pumpernickel and parsnip and then under that was the moist quince and cream and underneath there was the spruce needle granité. The spruce gave it a bitter flavor and in spite of the nice piece of orange I would call this one not so fun.
Caramelized Felchlin, “Edelweiss” parsley, cucumber and ginger ale was dessert. The caramelized chocolate was accompanied by white chocolate milk, cucumber ice cream and parsley biscuit. The fresh cucumber contrasted with the dried parsley powder to make a very vegetable-like dessert. Not sweet, it was more tart and very green (as was much of the meal). Too many leaves and not enough sweet in this for me.
Last treats included macarons of styrian pumpkin seed oil, buckwheat and apple syrup, and licorice and cranberry. At the same time there were chestnut flower tartelettes, pralines and foam kiss. The pinkish ones were meringue with red shiso topping. The clear were quince foam and so-so. The chestnut tartelette was nice. None of the macarons would rate more than an okay from me.
Lastly were chocolates filled with pecan, mushroom, vanilla, coco butter and macadamia. These were much better and finally satisfied my sweet need.