Dinner at Essigbratlein

Dinner at Essigbratlein

at Essigbratlein on 23 August 2022
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Andree Köthe and Yves Ollech are true revolutionaries. They are self confident but very reserved and humble. Their language is not bold but very subtle. And they are obsessed with their plant based cuisine which tries to use every single part of any ordinary plant. They spend a lot of time finding shoots of already harvested kohlrabi or the lower part of withered sunflowers. Then they use them in their kitchen to create extraordinary dishes. But unlike others they do not seek the limelight and become preachers, they simply focus on feeding their dedicated fan base.
The menu at Essigbrätlein (the Franconian version of a Sauerbraten) is a 7 course menu which gets fronted by 5 amuse, all of them with the exception of the main dish plant based.
The amuse might be just a spoon with the already mentioned withered sunflower, dried and rehydrated paired with a droplet of cream. Or the shoot of a kohlrabi (the German turnip) which developed after the main head has been harvested. It symbolizes the attempt of the plant to continue to survive after it has been cut off. They roast it and put dried raspberry powder on it. This creates a wonderful bite, lush and succulent, pairing bitter and sweet aromas. They also give you a stalk of salad filled with celery which was so good that we had to order seconds. Unbelievable.
Plate after plate, each one dominated by one vegetable in variations one cannot think off, but executed expertly and deeply satisfying.
For example the humble cucumber, it gets dehydrated to change the texture but also makes the taste more concentrated, they get served on rice with a sauce of the cucumber. It is a play of layers of texture and flavors which one would never expect when reading the simple description “cucumbers with chervil”.
The plate simply called carrots is another masterpiece, the carrot is cut in cubes and put on top of red beets and tomatoes and topped with flowers. The instructions were to eat one cube of carrot with each spoon. Again a wonderful play of flavors and texture, a great delight.
The chanterelles served with reddish was an unbelievable umami explosion. Simply unbelievable.
The only meat course of the 12 course menu was a duck, steamed and then grilled, served with lavender cream.
To finish the meal, the Chefs kindly do not sugar load the diner, they only serve one semi sweet dessert, in our case the radish ice cream with dried herbs, a restraint dish but wonderful. However, there is more. The petit four were four slim leafs of chocolate topped with a variation of nuts and berries. One cannot think of a better way to finish a great meal.
The wine pairing is one of the best one can get, local and international wines, most of them served out of a magnum bottle, some of them bottled in magnum only for the restaurant so the back label still says 0.75l. The juice pairing is also one of the best with glasses dominated by vegetable juices and thankfully without use of the now ever present kombucha.
Why this places is not one “must go” list of the international foodie caravan is inexplicable but one must be thankful that it isn’t.

Vegetarian
New German
10 / 10

cucumber, geranium, quince

salad filled with celery

Okawari!

dried watermelon peel and chive blossom

Roasted sunflower cream and juice of the sunflower

Red cabbage shoots with dried raspberries powder

Sourdough bread with green bean butter

Cucumbers with chervil

Carrots

Kohlrabi

Fioretto

Chanterelles

Duck

Radish ice cream with dried herbs

Chocolates