MUNICH, Germany – Dallmayr is an institution. It is one of Germany’s first luxury grocers (called delicatessen in this part of the world), dating back to the year 1700. It’s located on Dienerstraße in the historic part of Munich, and it’s a foodie wonderland. It’s simply one of the most beautiful places on the planet to buy food. And it is also a restaurant in Munich.
In this series of articles, Cédric Lizotte visits some of the best restaurants in Europe. From France to Switzerland via the Czech Republic, here are the best places to sample the delights of some of the best chefs on the planet. Follow it with the hashtag #CedricInEurope.
It therefore makes total sense that Dallmayr would have a white-tablecloth restaurant. Restaurant Dallmayr, hidden on the first floor above the famous grocery store, holds two Michelin stars. And it absolutely represents the institution Dallmayr became, and in turn, the city of Munich.
Working like clockwork, formal, simple, classic, pure luxury, meticulous, regular, smooth, always on time. Chef Diethard Urbansky and his team are serious professionals.
Although each movement is of paramount importance and the structure is strict, within this framework, occasionally and in timely fashion, there are some small explosions of joy, a few reserved smiles, a few fascinating winks.
The restaurant Dallmayr and the city of Munich are closely linked.
There, I’ve eaten a meal that slots in the top of the list of my personal favourites. It was frankly superb.
Here’s how the meal took place.
Dallmayr, Restaurant in Munich: The Meal
The serving team welcomed me with all the bows that can be expected in a double-Michelin-starred restaurant. Moreover, since French is my native language, the whole service was held in French. That’s an attention I didn’t expect!
Once installed at my table, sommelier Julien Morlat comes and tells me that he’s taken the time to select a wine pairing with all the dishes I’ll eat tonight. Great! Besides, the wine selection at Dallmayr is spectacular. There are hundreds of wines, often available in several vintages. That’s exciting…
We begin with a flute of Champagne. Jacquesson, Dégorgement tardif, Cuvée 734. Serious bubbles!
Here we go with the first appetizer: in a scallop shell, on a nice pile of mussel shells used as decorative plate, a petit four crowned by two perfect mussels sit. It’s a light first bite, and it’s so pretty!
Then, a second mise en bouche: marinated shrimp, avocado, sour cream. Exceptionally delicate, crazily accurate; the avocado is tasty, the dish is full of contrasts. It’s a promising beginning.
Then Mr. Morlat offers me a glass of the house wine: Koehler-Ruprecht, Riesling, vintage 2013, “Dallmayr Edition.” It comes with the first course: one bite of fermented red cabbage, candied potatoes, roasted onions, sitting at the bottom of a cute verrine. Is it not a nod to a German classic?
Third wine: Ried Grub 1 Kamptal Reserve, 2013 – the grape is Grüner Veltliner. I smell it without tasting it. From what I get, it’s a rather sweet wine, which makes me all the more curious about the next dish.
I am presented a spectacular and precise assembly, and I guess that there are many things under the first layer, however all I see are almost translucent slices of carrot! “Confit scallops from Norway, ponzu vinaigrette, pine nut panna cotta,” says my waitress. Now I’m speechless.
The dressing is thick and shiny and reminds of aspic; the carrots are shiny and brightly coloured; a bite of a little bit of everything reveals a dish that’s smooth and light, and the seasoning is accurate. But this dish passes from very good to superb once paired with the wine. It is mineral, fresh, intense, and tastes like kiwi. Combined with the dressing of the dish, you get a taste of green mango, and this association cuts the fatty dish like a sharp knife. Phew!
Let us continue. The wine: Lieben Aich, Manincor, Sauvignon blanc, 2013. The dish: stuffed quail breast and its vinaigrette. The caramelized and peppery quail plays with the buttered side of the sauvignon, the meat is extra tender…
And: Rainer Sauer ‘Ab Ovo’ Escherndorfer Lump, Silvaner Trocken 2008 (what a name!) This wine is served to accompany a steam carp fillet, pumpkin leaves, verjus. The wine plays with the pumpkin, and it tickles the taste buds! And did you notice how spectacular the dish looks?
Then: The Bournais François Chidaine, 2014. This is a Chenin Blanc. It is mineral, it smells of spices… And goes with a dish full of Japanese influence: umeboshi tea sauce, otoro, nashi pear, Greek yogurt. This dish is almost sexual (sorry, this is the only way to describe it.) One bite and a sip of white. The wine goes very well with the tea. But it is the slice of fish that is central to this wonderful dish, and I love it so much that I keep myself a bite, after eating the rest of the plate, to enjoy its delicate flesh, naked, with a sip of wine. It’s divine.
This meal is far from being over: Klingenberger, Pinot Noir, 2012. This wine is almost smoky, peppery. It goes with one of the most elegantly presented dishes that I have ever eaten: thin slices of mushrooms, duck consommé and duck offal. It’s so pretty… and the consommé is very concentrated, very tasty. Again, the dish is delicious.
A bit more! Clos les Lunelles, Bordeaux, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004. With a fleshy and strong red wine, it is reasonable to expect meat, and that’s exactly what I receive: fawn, salsify, cream of malt and sea buckthorn. What a list of ingredients! Sea buckthorn is sour, the malt cream is sweet, and the meat is beautifully tender. Besides, it does not seem to be seasoned at all. It is unique, special and unusual. The wine is a little harsh compared to the extra-delicate taste of the fawn, but the ferrous side of the meat still reaches and marries well with the glass of red.
Then we are served a surprising dish: snails with Corn Flakes and dehydrated raspberries! This time I am overwhelmed. The dish seems to be an eccentricity more than anything else. To go with it, we are served a sweet wine: Château Schembs, mixed grapes, 2011. The wine is superb, complex, aromatic, delicious, but, for the only time of the meal, I lost my bearings.
Quick, a drink to get back into the rhythm of the meal! Jorge Ordóñez Selección Especial, Muscat Alexandria, 2010. The wine is similar to grape juice. I also detect tropical fruits and citrus. And this one goes with the desserts, plural.
First: Coconut Cream, supreme and sorbet of tangerine, chocolate cake pieces.
Second: Stuffed passion fruit.
Third: assortment of sweet desserts, including a macaron with white chocolate as well as cute little chocolate truffles.
What a meal. What a meal! Chef Diethard Urbansky allowed me to live one of the best nights of my life, nothing less.
Dienerstraße 14, 80331 Munich, Germany
+49 89 2135100