I booked a room and table at Schloss Schauenstein as a present for my husband's 50th birthday. It is pricy. Its not an everyday kind of thing, but it was absolutely spectacular and the best meal experience we have had to date.
I use the words 'meal experience' because I really felt that from the moment we arrived to the moment we left the next morning we ate and drank such high quality delicious treats as well as an amazing meal that to simply describe it as 'dinner' somehow just isn't enough.
Andreas Caminada is the chef at Schloss Schauenstein and he has 3 Michelin Stars and 19 Gault Millau points. I'll be honest and tell you that I had never heard of him before a friend suggested this as a gift for my husband, but now I am firmly a fan.
Everything about Schloss Schauenstein was just perfect.
We were greeted warmly when we arrived and our car was parked for use whilst our bags were carried up to the 'Luft Suite' in the tower where we were staying. There was a lovely welcome note on the table for us with two beautiful chocolates.
Our suite was AMAZING. a great view of the local countryside and a bathroom stocked with Molton Brown toiletries, big towels and bathrobes. The hairdryer even had a diffuser...
After settling in (and eating the welcome chocolates) we decided to have a glass of champagne on the terrace. As a nice surprise this was complimentary as was a platter of delightful small snacks that arrived alongside it. The terrace was a lovely spot to wind down after the drive and to enjoy the beautiful sunshine that we were lucky enough to experience that day.
A lovely bubble bath followed the champagne before we descended the stairs to the bar for pre-dinner drinks.. and delicious amuse bouche from the kitchen.
Here are a few photos from the interior of the Schloss...
Dinner was 3, 4, 5 or 6 courses with the option to add 2 surprise courses... As it was a special occasion we opted for 6 courses and the 2 surprise courses.... and we couldn't think of a good reason not to...
From the moment we started eating the amuse bouche in the bar to the final plate of petits fours which were served with tea back in the bar EVERYTHING was delicious. In fact the word delicious doesn't really do justice to it.
At the table in the restaurant there was a little packet of cards with a description of each course printed on it. Anyone who has eaten in this type of fine dining restaurant will appreciate how much this really helps when actually eating the food ( and especially if you aren't giving the waiter 100% attention when he is describing each plate)
I have added lots of photos of the food as an album. I'm not going to bore you with descriptions of each dish, and I think the photos are enough to convince anyone how spectacular the food was...
At the end of the meal Chef Caminada came into the restaurant to greet the diners and spent several minutes talking to every table effortlessly switching between German, Italian and English. He is charming, friendly and deserves every bit of praise he gets. I can not say enough good things about Schloss Schauenstein.
The evening ended with fresh peppermint tea and petits fours in the bar..... which was just about as much as we could manage before we rolled up to bed......
The next morning we walked over to a small building alongside the castle for breakfast... which as I am sure you can guess was scrummy. We has champagne (we I did since I wasn't driving) a selection of juices, pastries, breads, cereals, cold meats, cheeses, and fresh fruit before being served perfectly cooked eggs. It was a truly perfect ending to what was an unforgettable experience.
If you get a chance to go to Schloss Schauenstein TAKE IT - you will not regret it!!
It is not easy to get a hotel booking as they are snapped up, but there are often cancellations so it is worth checking back on the website.
Schauenstein Schloss Restaurant Hotel
I had been trying to get a table at Restaurant Story for over a year. Admittedly, Its mostly my fault as I am never sure when I will be in London but beware, Restaurant Story's tables fill up quickly. You need to be on the internet as soon as the new bookings open up to get a table on a Friday evening.
When the bookings opened in August I booked a table for December and was going to arrange a trip around it, that is how much I wanted to go here...
I've been on the waiting list before and never been lucky, until a Friday night in the middle of August. I received a call at 4.30 pm to say there was a cancellation and 3 hours later I was sitting at a table.
Restaurant Story opened in 2013 and within 5 months Chef Tom Sellers received his Michelin star. The restaurant makes use of seasonal British produce to create an amazing, innovative, exciting and incredibly beautiful menu.
Immediately after we sat down we received our first amuse bouche... the first of many.
They are all pictured below. I think the Rabbit and pineapple and the the razor clams were my fave, but they were all a very nice teaser for what was about to follow...
We chose the Full Story option from the menu which consists of 11 courses.
We had tried several amuse bouche before we decided on which menu we wanted, and they were amazing so there was no way I was going to miss out on anything that was coming out of this kitchen.
Everything we ate was absolutely delicious. There was a clever balance between flavours. the portions were just right, 11 courses need to be small enough to keep you wanting to continue eating but big enough that you can really enjoy the flavours and ingredients.
For me the most amazing course was the bread and dripping. Firstly its the first time I have seen dripping on a menu. It something I associate with post-war time poverty, but having become a new convert to bone marrow, I was happy to give it a try.
It was served as a candle (see the photo at the top of this posting). The candle was lit and the beef dripping melted into the candle holder where we dipped the bread. It was completely amazing. The concept was fabulous, the flavour was delicious and it was hard to stop eating it.
All the courses that followed were amazing. There was a bread course that was somewhere in the middle of the 11 courses and a couple pf palate cleansers too.
The whole evening was a foodie paradise.
If you love food, either eating or cooking, you will love Restaurant Story.
I'm already looking forward to going back when they change the menu.
Restaurant Story 199 Tooley Street London SE1 2JX
Now believe me the irony of this post being written by someone who writes a restaurant blog and posts reviews online is not lost on me.... but bear with me.
I do a lot of online research when we are booking up places to eat during our various trips. I look up the Michelin and Zagat guides and read Trip Advisor. Even if we are choosing somewhere to eat at when we are at home I will still take a look on Trip Advisor to see what people have to say.
I've learnt however, from friends in the industry, that many restaurants use marketing/PR companies who write false reviews. I've also learnt to ignore those people who only write one or two reviews to slag-off a restaurant they had a bad experience at. The last thing I've learnt to do is to read a couple of the other reviews people have written. If I read a sparkling review from Debbie in Dallas (!) and I look at her profile and see that she considers Olive Garden to be a good Italian restaurant then I know I can pretty much ignore anything else she has to say.
I try to review most of the restaurants we go to as I like to think my reviews offer a fairer perspective for others. I review restaurants if they are good, bad or mediocre.
During our recent six week trip to New York City we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant every week.
The choice in NYC is HUGE...these were the ones from the 2014 list that we have eaten at so far.....
Three Stars: Three stars reward exceptional cuisine where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients. Worth a special journey.
Two Stars: Two stars denote excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality. Worth a detour.
One Star: One star indicates a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop on your journey.
Gotham Bar and Grill
Gramercy Tavern - I ate here last time I was in NYC
For 2015 were Betony and Resto were added. Daniel was downgraded to 2 stars and in 2013 sadly, Gordon Ramsey at The London lost his 2 stars.
Now I don't consider myself to be an expert on the criteria for Michelin Stars but I can say that I no longer hold them in the high esteem I once did. the Michelin Star rating is all madness to me.
How Ai Fiori has one star and yet Gordon lost his is a real puzzle to me. We had amazing food and service at The London whilst at Ai Fiori we had lukewarm food, no bread service and empty wine glasses whilst our bottle was sitting unattended near by.
We were once at Joël Robuchon in Tokyo which has three Michelin Stars. It was one of the worst meals we ate in that whole trip. Not only were we very disappointed with the food and bread but I was also served wine from a bottle that belonged to another table.
We left feeling about $400 lighter and also feeling that we really wanted to go and find something else to eat.
So, whilst I will continue to read the Michelin Star list, I'm going to cross reference it with Trip Advisor and also with Zagat before making any more expensive dinner commitments.
However, I do admit it is still all a bit of Madness....
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