Gästehaus Klaus Erfort is maybe not located in the middle of the most fantastic neighbourhood of Saarbrücken. But, stuck in between a tenement and a gas station one finds a beautiful white mansion with a modern extension on the side accomodating the kitchen. From the street, one can observe the chefs through a glass window. Once we passed the entrance, we were directed to the back of the mansion where a quite unique terrasse is located. There you have the most beautiful view on a huge garden with endless lawn and a tiny pavilion on the side. Quite a contrast to the street side of the house and a perfect setting for apéritifs.
Klaus Erfort, the young German chef was trained at Restaurant Barreis and Traube Tonbach. He opened his own restaurant in 2002 and was awarded his 3rd Michelin star in 2008, the same year he was named Chef of the year by Gault Millau. Since he doesn’t appear much in the media, his restaurant isn’t so much talked about. Concentrating on what is most important, one could say: the cooking at his restaurant. His 8 course Tasting menu we opted for is priced at 165 Euro.
Sitting outside with the beautiful weather, we were served a glass of Champagne and the Amuses. A slight drawback was that no menu in English was available. Thus we needed a bit more time since I translated the German menu for my American convives. This seemed to create some jumpiness with the staff as the kitchen was impatiently waiting for our choices. Later, given the sophisitication of the meal I would have understood why. None the less, Jérôme Pourchère, Maitre d’ and Sommelier as well as the entire staff were always friendly, helpful and at the height of a 3 star restaurant. Their advice on wines were also very useful and helped us pick the right bottles.
We were ready to start our meal. The following “Les Délices” are the amuses that were served on the terrasse. A picture of a so called “French Pizza” is missing.
Rote Beete Maccaron / Gänseleber / Räucheraal – Red Beet Macaron / Goose Liver / Smoked Eel
Nice eye catcher and of course an imaginative well-tasting candy at the same time.
Wachtelei / Krosse Poulardenhaut / Trüffel – Quail Egg / Crisp Poulard Skin / Truffle
This was a delicious bite although the spoon was nearly too big for swallowing it. Very rich and tasty.
Spanish ham, maybe the least exciting of all bites
Joghurt / Krokant / Thuna – Yoghurt / Brittle / Tuna
Tuna on joghurt. Very refreshing as a part of the Yoghurt was frozen or at least very cold. Also, I liked how the slight sourness of Yoghurt intensified the taste of Tuna. Smart bite!
Gillardeau Auster / Soja / Apfel – Gillardeau Oyster / Soy / Apple
Oyster with Soy, an unusual combination, at least to me. But it worked, especially with the light apple foam bringing in some acidity.
Foie Gras mit Portweingelée – Foie Gras with Port Gelée
Detail work here with the thin thread of Port Gelée wrapped around a tiny cake of Foie Gras. A classic combination showing off the craftsmanship of the kitchen crew.
Sommerlicher Gemüseacker mit mariniertem Thunfisch, Pulpo & Olivenkrokant – Summerly Vegetable Field with marinated Tuna, Pulpo & Olive Brittle
What a perfect start to the meal. An explosion of flavours. Each vegetable has its distinct and intense aroma. Green and yellow Zucchini, asparagus heads, pea shoots, radish leaves (?), summer truffle. An olive oil-green pea sauce is binding the flavours. Small olive crackers are adding dynamism to the texture. Eggplant cream is as intense as eggplant could get. The tuna is lovely and the pulpo tender. A stunning first course, probably reminiscent of Michel Bras’ Gargouillou which I only know from pictures and descriptions.
Our First white wine, a 1994 Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses from Dauvissat worked very well. It was an intense Chardonnay with no age, that openened up beautifully over a few courses.
Langoustine “Royale” mit Pfifferlingen, grünen Mandeln & Pfirsich – Langoustine “Royale” with Chanterelles, Green Almonds & Peach
Again a perfect course. Simplicity and sophistication united on one plate. A perfectly cooked langoustine, tender and juicy. An intense smell of peach is jumping up to our noses from the moment the plate is put in front of us. Peach sauce is infused with vanilla and creates a nice picture of sweet (Peaches and Langoustine) and sour (chanterelles). Feels like eating a cloud of langoustine, vanilla and peach, with the chanterelles playing the same role that a nice acidity plays in a good Riesling.
Felsenrotbarbe mit Escabeche Sud & Coco Bohnen – Rock Red Mullet with Escabeche Broth and Coco Beans
Perfect cooking of the fish, a fruity intense tomato cream puts a nice accent. The escabeche is savily mixed with fruity and spicy notes, maybe a hint of saffron. A very good dish.
We were now getting used to perfect cooking of fish. And it was here again the case. The red mullet is as tender and juicy as it could be. The Seppioline are sliced so that they look like small spaghetti (reminding me a dish at Athens restaurant Varoulko). The chorizo broth is hearty and fiery and maybe with a hint too much salt in it, but it doesn’t bother really- I even wonder if it isn’t intended. The Paprika cream intensifies the impact of the chorizo and the tiny artichoke also manages to put an accent. Alltogether a wonderful mediterranean picture. And compared to the last dish it even more feels like a small trip to the Catalan coast.
Gegrillte Gänsestopfleber mit Holundergelee & Holunderjus – Grilled Goose-Foie Gras with Elderflower Gelée and Elderflower jus
Nice compositon. A mix of soy sauce and sweet and sour elderflower is perceptible in the jus. It elevates the tender Foie and the dish alltogether works heavenly with our 2002 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos la Truffière from Carillon. The thin cracker with hazelnut adds texture and – together with the small cep on top- slight earthy notes.
Rehrücken mit Szechuan Pfeffer gegart, Nespoli und Selleriepurée – Back of Venison cooked with Szechuan Pepper, Nespoli and Celeri-purée
The transition from the sea to the solid grounds was thus established and we went on with a perfectly cooked back of venison (deer). So tender I could cut it with the spoon. It is lying on a bed of tiny Chanterelle bits and a dark jus has been drizzled on it. The Nespoli, an Italian fruit, parent of the peach tastes a bit like peach but at the same time feels unfamiliar. It adds a complex fruity and acidic note to the meat. Wonderful.
A bottle of 2005 Centgrafenberg R Pinot Noir from Fürst which decanted since the start of the meal makes its first entrance with this dish and is a stuning match. It feels light and silky and has everything except barrel and thus never overpowers the dish but only complements it. Hesitating over the Knipser Cuvée X and this wine before the meal, we now knew we made the right choice (with the help of our sommelier)
Käseauswahl von Maître Antony – Choice of cheeses from Maitre Antony.
The cheeses from famous affineur Bernard Antony were all matured to the point
Zartbitterschokolade mit Popcorn & exotischem Fruchtsorbet – Dark Chocolate with Popcorn & exotic Fruit Sorbet
Desserts can be a quite boring end to some of the most creative and inspiring meals. Not so here. An intense sorbet of exotic fruit ( mix of mango, passion fruit and pineaple) contains small bits of effervescent powder that pop on your palate. The chocolate is tender and of excellent quality. An exciting mix of ingridients.
Interpretationen von der Zitronentarte mit Himbeeren – Interpretations of Tarte au Citron with Raspberries
I was starting to get quite full, but the freshness and acidity of this dish makes it irresistible even after so many courses.
Nos Petites Sucreries
Finally, a vanilla ice cream truffle on a stick was handed to us with the coffee.
Wow, this was an impressive meal, and even after a few days I still am excited about it when I look back.
There are many things to like about Klaus Erfort and his team.
First, quality and execution. They were just perfect. Such pristine products and skillful cooking technique that you want to scream of joy with each bite.
Then, the style. I would qualify the restaurant as Classic French with a modern Meditteranean touch. Chorizo Jus here, aubergine mousse there, fish and seafood remind the Catalan Coast and Southern France.
There was practically no use of local ingredients, maybe a German Asparagus or eventually a salad leaf. Well, maybe the venison was somewhat a German dish.
But the Classic was more concerning the technique, because the compositions had enough creativiy that you felt there was some genius thinking behind.
In fact, Klaus Erfort manages to put together on a plate very few, but intense ingredients. For example, whenever there was a use of eggplant cream, tomato cream, pepper cream it had the most intense yet pure taste.
Sometimes the combinations were even so creative that the boundaries of Classic were definitively burst, like with Oyster and Soy or Venison and Nespoli. But one could also say that he manages to keep his creativiy in a shell of Classicism. The Foie Gras with Smoked Eel in a Macaron would be my example here.
What I retain foremost is that this was without a doubt a genuine and most satisfying 3 star experience. I would love to hear and read more opinions and thus urge you all to visit this restaurant.