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A Memorable Meal at Aqua Sven Elverfeld  

2013-08-10 16:17:39|  分类: 好吃的酒店 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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The purpose of my visit to the small German town of Wolfsburg, well-off the beaten track though not far from Berlin, was to enjoy the food of one of the world’s top restaurants, Aqua Sven Elverfeld. This trip turned out to be a delightful travel surprise beyond a gourmet occasion even for this seasoned world traveller. Other than eating a truly unforgettable meal  in a most sophisticated restaurant, it also leads me to the discovery of one of the world’s best hotels as well as a very interesting automobile theme park.
 

My hitherto ignorance about Wolfsburg was a lapse of judgment on my part. Actually, the town is the VW automobile group's headquarters.  Under VW include top luxury brands like Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche, and Audi.  VW built the Autostadt, or Automobile City, on the picturesque river bank of the town.  While no big fan of cars as I had come for the food, I was amazed by the incredible display of classic vintage cars, as well as modern luxury cars and even a concept car of the future. From the oldest original automobile to today's most expensive cars,  Autostadt has it all. It truly is a museum for the history of cars. The mobility theme park also has fully equipped facilities. While adults look at cars, children have activities to keep them entertained to make a great family outing.
The city's only five-star hotel, Ritz-Carlton, is here right inside  the grounds of the Autostadt. Hotel guests can enjoy unlimited access to all the exhibitions without having to pay 22 euros to enter the theme park.  It is a playground for the residents of Berlin and Hannover. The dream trip for car enthusiasts is not only funfilled but also educational. VW is immaculate in managing the park as their best showcase.


The most refined enjoyment and best restaurants, at a cost, are found only at the Ritz-Carlton. Opened in June of 2000, the hotel is a U-shaped building five stories high, with 174 truly luxurious rooms. Since it's situated inside the theme park, you can take rests in your room after visiting the park each time and set out again refreshed. The hotel has many family guests, and a very amusing swimming pool built inside a manmade lake. The lake has a wooden pier, making the hotel, which is actually built in an industrial area, looks like a seaside resort. Opposite the lake is VW's old power plant, which features four smoke stacks 20 stories high, now the landmark of the automobile theme park.
A glass house for breakfast is at the poolside, where there is a real wood fireplace. The guest rooms and some public areas also have real fireplaces, which gives the modern big hotel a bit of romance to it. The decoration theme is "understated luxury," more family-like compared to the gold and glitter of Hong Kong's new Ritz-Carlton.  Modern living room matches with a  classic bathroom, and the complete bathroom amenities  are all by Bulgari.   There are three phones in the room, over 40 TV channels, free high-speed Internet, bathroom floor heating....representing all  the latest state of the art technology. I was delighted to meet the General Manager, Edith Gerhardt, who I had known as the opening GM of Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental Landmark.
For me, the hotel's biggest attraction even above Autostadt is its world famous restaurant, Aqua Sven Elverfeld. For four consecutive years, the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars, Gault Millau 19 points, No. 25 on the S Pellegrino World’s 50 best restaurant ranking...Chef Sven Elverfeld has also received several prestigious German awards for best chef, so it seems that all dining honours can be installed in this one single restaurant.  While senior greats like Robuchon, Ducasse, and Gagnaire with their past laurels may no longer want or need to innovate continually on more creative new dishes, it is the new generation of mega star chefs like Sven Elverfeld (or Hong Kong’s Richard Ekkerbus at Amber) lead and redefine the art of the next generation of greats.  I was fortunate enough to have tasted Sven Elverfeld's 11-course set (the restaurant only offers tasting menus), and it was simply the most spectacular meal I've had in recent years.

 

Creativity is the hallmark of the chef:   Langoustine and Charcoal Grilled Belly of Pork is one dish that sounds spectacular and it  tastes delicious. The Stewed Topside of Muntz Lamb, on the table, is a highly skilled work of art, when lamb slices and all kinds of accompaniments including Frankfurter green sauce are presented to the eye as a picture of tapestry. From this dish, you can see Sven’s inclination to use local ingredients and regional elements (Frankfurter sauce), while employing the most time-honoured and meticulous cooking skills to create his own unique style. The seemingly endless menu is built with tapa-sized dishes, and through this full array of spectacular culinary presentation, diners not only enjoy the chef's cooking specialty but also his very personal style. The latter is especially important, since many of today's hip chefs pursue creative innovations before taste. But for Sven Elverfeld, taste is always first. I have eaten too many meals that looks far better than they taste, so this delicious meal really touched me.  While the great Robuchon's dishes always remain tasty I have eaten similar dishes in his restaurants in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Macau.  And so in the end of the day, it is Sven Elverfeld's meal that gives me the ultimate enjoyment in both taste and innovation, something I haven't experienced for a long time.

 
Since Aqua is a top restaurant of the world, the full meal, not including wine matching, costs more than 200 euros per person. But looking at the exquisite details of each and every dish (including the Amuse Bouche gems), which takes a lot of meticulous preparation, this price is justified for the highest quality that is offered:  indeed a work of art rather than a meal. Aqua also has the best sommelier, pairing over ten wines for one meal, including a pour of the final Opus One to go with the tender venison dish, to complete my unforgettable dining experience.

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