Werneckhof is a good sized place that spreads over 2 rooms. Marble tile is on the floor and the lots of dark wood makes up the walls and seating. Benches line most of the walls that match up with comfortable chairs at the well spaced large tables. Low lighting, white tablecloths and napkins, no background music, leaded glass windows on one wall and an enormous chandelier are other features to the room. They have achieved a 2 Michelin star rating because of their great food and superior service. Twin brothers fill the rolls of sommelier, Toby Klaas, and manager, Markus Klaas. They were both totally welcoming and helpful as well as keeping the pacing spot on while attending to your every need. In fact all the service people we dealt with there were outstanding. Chef Tohru Nakamura has been here since 2013 and was also very personable. If you get the opportunity to go, do so cause he makes food you don’t want to miss. The menu offered 2 tastings with 5 or 7 course options with optional wine pairings. The table didn’t all have to get the same thing so we opted to have both of the 7 course options and order our own wines. Some of the courses did overlap.
After decisions were made they brought a moist cloth to the table to prepare your hands.
The first snack was a beef tartar with parsley, créme fraîche and oxtail. It was in the form of a small tart and mildly flavored but very nice.
Sepia was combined with chicory, Katsuobushi, comté and lovage – a dish representing the intersection of east and west. It was topped with the dry grated fish and was tasty. It was a dish of contrasts but they were well balanced and worked together.
The last snack was 2 bowls, one of Chawanmushi and the other Dashi. The first was blue fin tuna topped with wasabi and the latter was bonita in dashi broth. The broth definitely was fish based but the tuna was really good with nice seasonings.
Bread service included a light bread with a good chew and crisp crust and a rye bread. With them were grapeseed oil with chives, that was really green, butter with Japanese herbs and cream.
A Scottish scallop was served with carrot, kombu and rowan. The scallop had been lightly torched, barely cooked and combined with mandarin and purple carrots. Rowan berries were combined with carrots for the dressing. The plate held lots of strong flavors but all very fresh tasting and wonderful.
Aji (Japanese mackerel) was combined with crevettes bouquet, radish tofu and wasabi. Hot saki over the tofu were all accented with a wasabi vinaigrette and shrimp head paste. It was very tasty with a nice balance of flavors. The wasabi was subtle, not screaming and the fish was outstanding.
Salmon trout, from Germany, was plated with smoked chestnut couscous, char caviar and bay leaf. A bay leaf beurre blanc created the sauce and the smoked chestnut couscous was beside the fish topped with the caviar. The caviar had a good pop to the eggs and was fairly mild in flavor. The very lightly cooked couscous was fun and really tasty – a wonderful combination. A celery chip provided even more textural contrast. The sauce was not too heavy to make this a winner of a plate with a pleasant aftertaste.
Line caught turbot from England was plated with Shiokoji, bone marrow and sunflower seeds. Shiokoji is used to ferment miso but in this case chef used it on the rice to make a sauce. Jerusalem artichoke adorned the perfectly cooked, moist fish. The seeds added a bit of texture to the wonderful compilation of flavors. Each ingredient enhanced the others. Great and more great.
Sweetbreads were with Koshihikari which included rice, pumpkin, Hassaku and Nikka whiskey. The sushi rice was under the sweetbread which was poached in dashi. Pumpkin seed oil and whiskey made up the sauce for the perfectly cooked sweetbread. The rice was amazing as was the selection of carrots and pumpkins. A delicious plate of food.
Sea bass was with stuffed mussels, water spinach, XO and black garlic. Some cockles also adorned the fish. The perfectly cooked fish had a red pepper sauce as well as a beurre blanc. It was a lot of elements that worked together well to make another delicious plate.
Kombucha was a housemade beverage of green and black teas that were fermented over a week. It was very refreshing and light.
Saddle of venison was with beetroot, plum, Umeboshi (Japanese plum) and sauce riche. Some perigord truffles accented the sauce made with duck liver. The deer was tender and nicely rare with a terrific assortment of side options to pair with it. All had full on flavor and combined well.
Saddle of lamb was plated with artichoke, coriander and curry. Some of the meat was stewed with the curry and the cabbage was filled with braised meat and cilantro. The other meat was cooked medium rare and was juicy and tasty. The curry was a mild influence and also worked well with the wonderful artichoke. All quite good and a scoop of green cabbage rounded out the plate.
Brillat Savarin was dried fruits, apple and rose water with golden jelly and “cheesecake” ice cream. It was a cool blending of flavors and small textural contrasts for a wonderful end result.
Japanese citrus fruits with coconut and Huacatay was another cool blending of flavors. The soft fruits were creamy and good.
Rum pot fruits with Tahiti vanilla were served beside Baba with Créme Chantilly. The fruits included peach, black currant, raspberry and others with vanilla ice cream. They varied in sweetness but worked well with the ice cream. They were nice but the baba was my favorite. Soaked in rum fruit it was nicely softened and totally luscious with the heavy cream. Lick the plate good.
An open face macaroon was with honey and milk. Sweet, crunchy and excellent it was served beside a housemade fortune cookie. The cookie was tasty and the “fortune” was some seeds to grow at home.
Lastly was an elderberry and ligonberry combination topped with sabayon, berry crumbles and elderflower. Lots of interesting and well flavored berries made this another tasty dish.