Sunday, January 18, 2009

gesellschaftsraum

This weekend we went to dinner with our friend Martina at Der Gesellschaftsraum. They have a lot of unconventional pairings and ingredients that they incorporate into the dishes, so we didn't know what to expect.

Something I definitely didn't expect was our 4 course menu to take 4 hours. We were one of the first tables to be seated, but slowly the restaurant was filled and the courses seemed further and further apart.

A lot of the menu had to be translated even for the native German speakers, because the methods and ingredients would often be word plays, so we wanted to make sure we knew what we would be eating.

The evening started with a variety of breads in a paper bag. It felt slightly like we were opening a gift, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The breads were an interesting mix - one with red beet, another with curry, and finally one with banana.

After sampling the breads we had an 'amuse-gueule' which consisted of pork, parmesan, and fish, with celery and was oddly fashioned in a foil ashtray.

My next course was a Lobster soup paired with a thickened walnut cream and a walnut crostini (Hummerkokosupper mit Stopfigenwalnuss crostini). Martina had the same and we both felt it was too sweet to come pre-meal.

Next, Martina and I both tried the basil sorbet with pineapples. Nearly all of the fruits and vegetables were rendered unidentifiable after sitting in various soaks and marinades.

I was expecting something like the basil sorbet that I tried and loved at Cocoon, however this was once again on the overly saccharine side. Served alongside the basil sorbet was a vodka shot that was in a syringe with a packet of 'Ahoi Brause' children's candy, which is effervescent and slightly tart. Stefan had an interesting jasmine tea with beef broth with pumpernickel cubes (Gebrüht Jasminkalbsessenz mit Pumpernickeläsche).

He also had the smoked lamb with tuna (Rauchlammnuß mit Topiko tuno im Tamarillokohlrabibrunnen) which he enjoyed. Martina and I both really enjoyed the wasabi caviar on his dish, which they told us was made by soaking the caviar from a 'Fliegende Fisch' in wasabi powder.

Our Hauptgänge (main course) consisted of: Adlerfish with Ostrich and cinnamon cucumber paired with a chocolate drizzle corn strudel (Adlerstrauß mit Zimtgurke und erfrischendem Kornstrudel) for Stefan, and the vegetarian nut filo dough with a quinoa type filling paired with black root and chicoree (Nussiges Seithan cordon Bleu auf Schwarzwurzel und Chicoree) for me.

For dessert we opted to try three of the four options. Martina and I had watched the cooks create a variety of dishes through the window, so we tried to pick a few with the most distinguishable ingredients. We ended up with a coconut hops ice cream on a maracuja celery foam (Kokoshopfeneis auf Maracujasellerieschaum), a BBQ chocolate mousse on vanilla quince with pop rocks (Eletrisiertes BBQ schokomousse auf vanillequitte), and my absolutely favorite from the entire meal - the sesame cheese with pumpernickel apple ice cream with chili marmalade (Sesamtaleggio mit Pumpernickelapfeleis).

What I appreciated: The unpretentiousness and the ease of experimenting. The cooks used cereal and candy in several dishes, which is fun because it's unexpected and unrefined.

What I didn't like so much: It seemed like there were so many ideas running wild and they could have been edited more. Often times it felt like there was too much going on on the plate and things were competing. There also seemed to be one unidentifiable flavor that ran throughout the meal and was used in a variety of dishes.

What I enjoyed most (besides the company): The small elements to create universal appeal, like using childhood candies, interesting serving wear, and the presentation. The Sesamtaleggio and pumpernickel ice cream was also my favorite.

Looking at the crowd we deduced that people probably come for a special event or as a small group, but this isn't a place that gets regulars. The evolving menu may inspire people to try things again, but that also prevents people from finding a favorite menu item and returning to 'play it safe' and have it again and again.

Martina had been to Essneun, which is a similar concept, with less exotic flair. We'll have to sample that sometime soon!

2 comments:

Oom Munich said...

This restaurant sounds really interesting (and the meals look elegant and pricey)!!!
I think it's good to try out special food from time to time. My husband and I have not been out to restaurants that often (and we should!).

To answer your question: my regular Asian shop is called OrientShop on Rosenheimerstr. outside Motorama (across from Gasteig). Hong Kong Shop is okay but it's the most expensive among others.

JoernandAllison said...

Sounds like a wonderful concept taken just a bit too far. Kudos to the restaurant for taking chances, something you can only do in a city here in Germany. I love how the name of each dish was a mouthful in itself, which was a no-no on Top Chef.