In anticipation of dinner at Fischer Fritz: I gave myself a manicure, bought myself a new dress and dusted off my vintage Chanel shoes.
I need not have bothered.
And I will tell you why.
My perception of restaurant dining is an equation that goes roughly something like this price + food + interior design + cutlery + service. Price point is the first and key determinator because it sets up expectations. If you are being charged €4 for a sandwich or €65 for lobster two ways, it’s safe to say, your satisfaction threshold will be vastly lower for the first option. (A few weeks ago, a friend and I donated some cakes to an event here in Berlin and everyone swore up and down that they were the best cakes they had ever eaten; nothing tastes quite as delicious as a freebie!)
Expensive lobster, a €110 4 course tasting menu (€150 for 6 courses) add to that 8+ waiters, heavy silver cutlery and a water menu and I was anticipating some superlative food.
But the food turned out to be much like the dining room itself which featured grand chandeliers, wood-paneled walls, plush carpeting and table flower arrangements of large red roses with their stems cut off in bronze coloured bowls, in a word: old-fashioned.
It was mostly classical french cooking. My chestnut soup was thin. The crispy baked onsen egg (referring to the Japanese method of cooking eggs in hot springs at a low and constant temperature) was fine, but the chanterelle mushrooms were overly salty, the pea soup was just warm and salty and the luke warm foie gras smeared on the bottom of the plate was an unpleasant surprise. My cod was accompanied by a sauce choron(remember that one? I had to look it up in my Leiths Bible). The black mushrooms that came with it were salty in the extreme and even me, the human vacuum cleaner, left them on my plate.
When some ‘crazy’ combinations were tried, they were along the lines of adding coriander shoots to the blueberry salad served for dessert (no thank you) or the star anise ice cream that came with the passion fruit panna cotta (blech).
A lot of the dishes came with the sauces in heavy silver sauce boats and the waiter would spoon it onto our plates for us.
Our waiter (conceivably just graduated from a hotel school) was young and very grave. Like he was the bearer of some bad news. It turned out he was, the bill. Maybe they weren’t used to waiting on such young people (mid thirties since you ask) since everyone else dining that night was considerably older and had much better jewellery (the women all sported enormous diamonds).
I am eating my way through Berlin, so Fischers Fritz was a destination I had to get to. And maybe it was an incredible place, once upon a time when Berlin had less to offer. Today though, if you are going to splurge, treat your sweetheart or eat something you would never be able to make at home: go to Reinstoff (€78 for 5 courses) or if your purse stretches a little more, Tim Raue (€138 for 6 courses).
My husband told me about a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Wolfsburg (1 hour on the high-speed train) called Aqua. It’s in the Best Restaurants of the World listing. The pastry chef: Nadja Hartl was named Pastry Chef of the Year 2011, by Gault Millau. So when my finances recover, that is where I will be going next. That and Margaux, Vau, Facil, the list is long and I accept donations (no, of course not!).
at The Regent Hotel
030 2033 6363