November 30, 2013
Snap Suit on (naked-for French Snap’s (it’s their right) ), Check!
Snap Shoes Polished, Check!
Snap Bag polished and ready (its my preferred travel location), Check!
A short Snap through the Alt Stadt (old city), up the hill, and to the villa. After many years passing this somewhat modest Villa up on the high part of Bautzner Straße in the neighbourhood of Weißehersch here in Dresden we finally had taken that final turn to experience Stefan Hermann’s infamous Restaurant, Bean and Beluga. Oh the Drama, what can we expect?? Having been awarded its Michelin Star, and being perhaps the only restaurant in Dresden of this status we where very curious of what this local Chef could offer us for an experience and how this compared to the competition across Europe. I mean we stayed here in Dresden when Berlin is so close and France an easy flight.
Naturally from the second we entered the doors we where greeted by friendly hostess who had no problems, or even a slight hesitation in speaking with the Snap’s in both English and German. They had caught on to the Canadian Snap’s accent and replied in English. We where pleasantly seated in the main dinning area on the second floor in a nice slick, clean and seductive room. Perfectly sized tables that where well laid out, and no crowding between guests with just a slight view to the kitchen with a slight head turn. The decor I would suggest as more modern and clean but of high quality. Silver cutlery with 5 prong forks, crystal, the normal high quality points for this level of dinning.
After seating we where naturally presented with a nice list of pre-dinner cocktails, spirits. Very fine selection with the 3 Snap’s choosing Monkey 47 gin, and the choice of 3 tonics (ours Fever Tree). There was no hor d’oeuvres but this is a tasting menu and the choice of 3 to 9 courses with meat or with out meat is available, and with or with out wine pairings. The Snap’s had the full 9 courses with wine.
The Marshmallow and Salmon hour d’ouvre was a very interesting and surprising taste. With the marshmallow coming first there was a nice and creamy, with a hint of sour taste. The salmon was more towards the sweeter side but equally delectable. This was shortly followed with the menu and then the first wine and food pairing.
First Tasting was a surprise from the kitchen and not on the menu, nor part of the 9 courses that was made of. The first tastes where so next level that we almost forgot to take Snap’s. You may also notice we did not mention the wines (should be sin) as they where also perhaps the best pairing we have had. Yes some of the best even including other higher Michelin Star restaurants that the Snap’s have experienced, including famous wine regions in France.
Now if this was not enough to get the ball rolling then the Goose Liver Pate was with out a doubt a rich dance in the seductive. Paired with a sweet wine, very close to a dessert wine it was made including a top layer of nougat, pistachio pure/paste, and fig. Shortly after the goose liver came the second tasting of the langoustine with highlights of celery, yogurt and apple. There was a light tempura also wrapping one of the pieces to add just the right amount of texture touching like the a fine brass layered ever so lightly in the orchestra. The picture below may explain better.
Third level in the journey was the modern art creation of scallop, dill, and Kohlrabit (German turnip). To have tasted dill so much like dill, yet so smooth just melted perfectly against the scallop. The scallop was cooked to perfection and very deep tastes of the sea and although the dill was strong is was very subtle but it played excellently with the scallop.
But what about the Salad you ask?
Perhaps a Caesar would be the taste to take the words out the mouth of Snap’s. Although this was a the fashion of 80s, and often terribly done, this step was such a new tasty play on a classic that we did not realize the familiarity of the original till this OMG moment clicked. Think of the savoury and salty tastes from anchovies, but reduce the fishiness, add all the creaminess, and finally the finest, richest, little egg. Melt this into a direct infusion into your soul and welcome home 80’s decadence but with out the cheesy cliches.
This one is a bit tricky to translate as I could not find direct English foods to translate. Basically translated it is Sweetbreads which is a rather hard to get part of a calf with white truffle and black salsify. This was just very rich, yet light, but I think the picture here is worth the 1000 words.
To know a Snap is to know that things that fly drive them absolutely crazy. If you are the Bonjour Snap the Goose is king, if the Monsieur (me) then the Duck is everything. A wild duck was OMG! and the absolute crescendo of the meats that had my Snap mind blown. After dreaming of eating the Mandarin Duck down at the ponds on a many a sunny day well sun tanning, I never dreamt the wild duck would do this to me. The lack of picture was simply because of forgetfulness due to the immediate attack of a primal Snap need. Yes it was that good, and deserves a special Snap Snap mention. 🙂
I am going to say for me this was one of the finest high-lights to the meal and a perfect closing after the duck. Anyone who loves cheese plates will simply be floored with this dish. The ever so lightly crusty outside with the most smoothest and richest cheese. This is straight up there with the best cheese plates I have tasted in France, Copenhagen, etc. Slightly pungent, slightly edgy like a strong swiss, creamy as a triple cream from grass fed cows…. One could go on and on here but its futile to explain the depths of this baritone/alto tones, and a very fine show of refinement. Being a French Snap the only thing one could wish was 10kg version as cheese is French Snap crack.
Finally we are smoothed out towards the tail end of the chords with the ice cream dish including fresh coconut (not sweet), pineapple, and lemon-grass. Ever so rich yet airy it does not taste in the slightest way to what the ingredients suggested.
Sadly this was followed by perhaps the most interesting dessert we have experienced:
Red beets with hazelnut and wasabi was the final tasting. We really regretted not getting a picture of this stage as the combinations where a total fresh taste being rich and sweet but well balanced. As writing this there simply is not enough words to not make this sound so cliche but I felt this represented this region in a manner most people here miss. In an analogy this was the walk through Dresden after living here for 5 plus years, but for the first time noticing the hills, architecture, green, air, etc because something jolted you out of your mind set.
With an ending note all the Snap’s are in agreement that this is a very well exacted and top end cuisine. Perhaps out of the meals we have had around the world that range from 1 Michelin star to many in different regions this had the best wine pairing to date. The fact that that we did not mention them all, or take pictures stands as a tribute to such a fine experience. With out hesitation it can be said this is simply the best dinning experience you can have in Dresden. This is also one of the finest dinning experiences in the world and should be experienced. To have a great meal is one thing. To make a well paired meal is even more important. However to combine all things into a moving experiences is why one searches out such fine chef’s, and why the Snap’s share this experience with you.
Thank you Mr. Hermann for making the Snap’s Anniversary a night to remember, and thank you again for all the handwork. Your team and staff deserve the highest respect and recommendations, and we will be back again to experience your next adventure.
p.s. If I can get a wine description I will add this after.