The décor and relaxed atmosphere might mislead you into thinking that you’ve come to a casual little restaurant. What Le Moissonnier really is, is an ambitious and daring restaurant. Its food is what really makes the difference, although the atmosphere alone is worth coming for: No other German Michelin-starred restaurant is this enjoyable.
But back to the food: What makes it special are a few characteristics that are unique, at least in Germany. First of all, every dish is served as a collection of plates around a topic. Not very different from what Pierre Gagnaire or Frederic Anton are doing, Eric Menchon’s food thus offers tremendous variety. A great dish to demonstrate this is a pigeon. One plate carries some kind of galantine of leg meat that comes with braised endive. Here you have powerful, confit flavours of slowly braised meat that just melts in your mouth. On a no less powerful, but slightly more fresh side is another preparation of the breast. Cooked perfectly pink, it swims in a delicious sauce and is topped with a rose salt. It is such a beautiful dish and has all the flavour you’d like from a pigeon. The third element adds an earthy note to the composition, a cauliflower and root vegetable combination. Whilst the splitting up of dishes might appear a bit gimmicky at first, with dishes such as this one it makes perfect sense.
Another great example of an incredibly diverse and still coherent dish is a John Dory. This dish also shows the pretty impressive product quality that is on offer here. The fish is perfectly cooked. Its quality is some of the very finest, one can find in European restaurants and the combination with the sea urchin emulsion is as delicious as it gets. In combination with another little plate that puts the sea urchin more into the foreground, this is another beautiful dish.
However, at times, and this is inevitably the risk with such cooking, the food goes a bit too far. One of these dishes is a blue fish collection. You have some tuna, anchovies and a little bowl with ravioli on the side. The problem here is not that any of the plates doesn’t taste good, or doesn’t work. It’s much more a case of there being very little to say about the anchovies. Whilst tasting fine, these do not have much that makes them stand out. The tuna with soy sauce is a much more tasty plate of food, but it is a bit difficult to see the connection between this dish and the anchovies.
That being said, Le Moissonnier is a cracking restaurant. It brings it all together: the service, the room, the atmosphere and enough attitude to create food that is truly interesting. With places like this, you don’t really mind the occasional dish that doesn’t blow your socks off.