You have 2 choices at Margaux, the vegetarian menu (€125 although on their website it is advertised as €110) for which it is known and a fish and meat menu (€175 again the website says €140). Our table had decided on the vegetarian menu before we had even set foot in the restaurant. You see, Margaux has its own vegetable garden in the Potsdam area where it grows 200 heirloom varieties of vegetables. Things like Mexican cucumber, a vegetable the size and shape of a kumquat but which looks like it could be a mini dinosaur egg. Good right? Exciting even! (For someone like me)
The aspirations didn’t translate onto the plate. At all. There were entire dishes which were bewildering to my friends and I. One in particular of blanched vegetable sticks lined up on a plate, the way you would do for a child, with packet of store-bought carrot sticks. And look at the carrot stick, it’s not even uniformly cut! You know when we learned that one at Leiths? Day 1, the same day we made chunky chickpea dip. Eating there was like having dinner with someone you know has been made redundant from his high-flying, big bonus job at Goldman Sacks, except he’s pretending like it hasn’t happened and he will still shooting off to Gstaad later, by helicopter, for a spot of skiing. What do you do in that situation?
There were two redeeming dishes that night. Textures of celery and poached pear with dehydrated raspberry, fried dill flowers and beans. If the entire menu had been like those dishes, this would be a very different review.The service was also erratic. Of the three times we got up to go to the bathroom, only once was our napkin folded upon our return. Detail? People, at those prices it’s very much about the details.
I want to say that it was a bad night for them (this is very possible as it took us four and a half hours to eat there, not because we were lingering but because the food was taking so long in coming out) and it was not the norm. But two things stop me from saying that. First, the staff acted like everything was as it should be and second, there is no context in which that vegetable stick dish would ever work.
Like I said, depressing.
Don’t think for a minute the experience was like this because it was just vegetables or that they didn’t use molecular cooking techniques. When I went to the vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu (they also get their veg from their own garden) in Napa valley, the food was so incredible that when the table next to us left the restaurant leaving a couple of untouched caramel coated crab apples on their plate… I ate them. Yes, I ate food off a stranger’s plate without their knowledge.
Unter den Linden 78 (Entrance Wilhelmstraße)
030 2265 2611