A dining room always sounds inviting to me, sitting together with friends and family, enjoying the day and being able to talk casually about everyday things. An invitation to a dining room from a hotel owner sounds different – but also very interesting. If the dining room is then not a “family event”, but a 2-star Michelin restaurant, on the one hand the curiosity is aroused and on the other hand also a little expectations. The cozy cuddly sweater exchanged for a beautiful dress and at 19.00 clock I was kindly received – in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer – in the hotel on Pariser Platz.
The Michelin-starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer is located on the second floor of the Kempinski Adlon Hotel, almost directly below my beautiful suite overlooking Pariser Platz. It offers a view that can’t be enjoyed often enough. After a friendly welcome by Hendrik Otto, as well as restaurant manager Boris Häbel and his team, the first look into the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer.
This is how you can define a “family room”. A breathtaking view of the illuminated Brandenburg Gate from almost every table, the 40 seats divided into two areas – in the front the traditional dining room, behind it the library. Also beautifully designed, with a great deal of attention to detail. Great decorations the ceilings, beautiful art on tables and walls and a warm and cozy atmosphere.
I must admit, I was a bit surprised for the first time that evening. If I had expected things to be very stiff and extremely formal here based on my experiences in other restaurants with 2 or 3 Michelin stars alone, I was allowed to experience a casual atmosphere. Where was the tuxedo among the staff – part of the team almost cozy with sweater and vest – it seemed for the first time again for me, like a dining room – with friends…
The choice of seats was taken directly by Boris Häbel and his team in a charming way and not only with me, but also with other guests. “For the lady the beautiful view of the Brandenburg Gate, for the gentleman the view of the lady – so everyone has a beautiful view…” It immediately acted as an icebreaker, between the formal character of a 2-star restaurant and a cozy dinner. One noticed many guests directly, one had arrived and light conversations arose.
The looks wandered over the tables of the other guests and everyone looked already, what there is as the next course, which wine is chosen, which aperitif. The service was not handled according to protocol for each guest, but individually. At the latest after the first conversation with the head sommelier Mr. Shahab Jalali, it was clear that it will be an interesting, amusing and special evening that will not be forgotten.
For a sommelier like Mr. Jalali, who is known for an individual and good wine recommendation, suitable for each guest – recognized worldwide – is a guest like me, of course, a “nightmare”. Since I do not drink alcohol at all, he would theoretically have been out of a job at my table – but even there he knew how to make recommendations, in an extremely charming way, for non-alcoholic cocktails. It is not often that one experiences such a “colorfully” mixed team in star gastronomy, which understands the fun of service, the fun of the product and the fun with the guest.
Boris Häbel, who was previously responsible as gastronomic manager in Frankfurt (“King Kamehameha Suite”) and before that in the Burj al Arab in Dubai, as well as in the Brick (with Volker Drkosch), understands in a pleasant way how to make the evening special and his personal motto “to create a feel-good atmosphere for the guests, with culinary highlights and personal service in front of a grandiose backdrop.” succeeds immediately.
What was missing on the evening now were the culinary delights and highlights from the team around Hendrik Otto – “THE” top chef. Hendrik Otto took over the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer in 2010 and was already awarded the first Michelin star in 2011, the following year already with the second Michelin star, which was confirmed again in 2015.
Gault-Millau awards 18 points and thus three chef’s hats in the 2015 edition and highlights the technical level of difficulty and classic luxury products, as well as the team around Boris Häbel, which is decidedly cheerful. Already Gault Millau refers to the next chef’s hat with the sentence “Here, if everything goes on like this, the Berlin favorite is warming up for the next fourth chef’s hat.”
Hendrik Otto, visited after his training as a chef in the “Kurhotel Lauterbad” and stations as Commis de Cuisine in the “Hearlin” of the Four Seasons in Hamburg, the “Brenner’s Park Hotel” in Baden-Baden and the “Traube Tonbach” in Baiersbronn. Hendrik Otto’s first stint as Chef de Cuisine was then at the well-known “Landhaus Flottbek” in Hamburg, followed by a move to “La Vision” at the “Hotel am Wasserturm” in Cologne, where he received his first Michelin star and confirmed it in each of the six subsequent years. In 2008, Hendrik Otto moved to the restaurant “Vitrum” of the Hotel Ritz-Carlton and was again awarded one star and 16 Gault Millau points.
The description of Hendrik Otto’s cuisine perfectly captures the motto “Tradition is(s) modern”. Had I already prepared myself inwardly again for experimental constructions with sixfold stacked wasabi balls on white chocolate with a touch of snail essence, Hendrik Otto shows with his team, a great combination of traditional cuisine with modern touches. Dishes that you can also enjoy and eat.
You notice immediately – Hendrik Otto is different, the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer is different – and that makes the evening directly special. A beautiful selection of dishes, very attentive staff who take excellent care of the guests at all tables and immediately offer alternatives if a course does not suit in the sequence.
I have experienced it differently that it is better not to ask the restaurant manager and chef if you can change a course and there were only reproachful looks – “after all, the chef thought of something…!”. In the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer it is the opposite, they always try to guarantee a feel-good atmosphere through the evening and so it is no longer surprising when the bread is served in a bowl with hot stones and the menu sequence says “Grillspieß Schwager Art”.
Had I some days ago still the question whether it is possible to get in a 2-star restaurant, meals with a table grill before my eyes prepared, then I can confirm this now.
Since I was relatively early in the restaurant that evening, many guests kept looking at my table to see what I was served as the next course. If in such a dreamlike scenery, with view of the Brandenburger gate, a table grill on a affectionately and suitably decorated carriage is driven in, the attention of all restaurant visitors is certain.
Of course, the stories about how it came about to include a table grill in the menu sequence and why the grill skewer was also called “brother-in-law style” are especially nice when it comes to serving. These moments not only lighten the mood in the restaurant tremendously, but also allow many guests to talk to each other briefly. “What did you order – but that looks good – do we get the course too?” and the original “stiff” thought of a two-star restaurant was gone for all visitors. Unique to experience and so far incomparable – only in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer.
Hendrik Otto knows how to highlight traditional dishes with subtleties, a touch of haute cuisine in a modern form – an interplay of small details and exquisite sauces. Hendrik Otto and his kitchen team of the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer take the guest on a journey through all senses – it is an experience and every course enchants anew.
A furtive glance at the menu – how will it be arranged, what sauce will be served with it. Which details and decorations one discovers again on the plate. You were there from the beginning and enjoyed every single moment.
For those of you who would like to know what other dishes were served during the evening in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, after the excellent “amuse-bouche”, the “greetings from the kitchen”, I have attached the menu of the evening with the two respective alternatives.
Menue at the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer
coffee, plum, orange peel, raspberry, stewed milk, truffle
Smoked paprika, aioli, grapefruit, cucumber, sea urchin caviar, kidney, dill
Celery, tomato, zucchini, tarragon
Dorade belly / fish extract
Calamaretti, lime, lettuce, pickled pearl onions, marjoram, coriander
Mackerel / white bread
peppers, pineapple caviar, green gazpacho, walnut oil, mint
fennel / country bacon / spice broth
confit tomato, pomegranate, lemon, chickweed, thyme
Barbecue skewer “brother-in-law style”
Bamberg croissant, frozen goat curd cheese, 5 herbs mixture
Saddle of rabbit / ragout of broad beans
ham, eggplant, tomato, rosemary
Short Rib / Borscht
root vegetables, horseradish, buttermilk, marjoram
Salt meadow lamb / Roast vegetable juice
Onion, celery, chickpea, curry, tarragon
Baked camembert / Perigord truffl
Lamb’s lettuce, currant, fig
Port wine, olives
Chocolate air & cream
Blackberry, sea buckthorn, rosehip, oatmeal, spiked sheep’s cream, lavender
Sorbet of grapefruit
tonic, yogurt, white chocolate, Tahitian vanilla, sourdough bread
Picking a personal favorite from the menu sequence is just way too difficult. The dishes at the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer were each perfectly coordinated – each course an individual highlight.
Of course, the prices in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer are not comparable to the restaurant Quarré, but still very fair compared to many other star restaurants. So you have to calculate for a main course about 60 EUR, for a 4-course menu about 120 EUR. Which is to be considered thereby naturally, there are still the “greetings from the kitchen” in addition, as well as the experience and the unique view.
Of course, you don’t go to a 2-star restaurant every day, but on special occasions or when you want to have a special evening in Berlin.
LORENZ ADLON ESSZIMMER – MY CONCLUSION – 2-STAR RESTAURANT
Hendrik Otto with his kitchen team, Boris Häbel with his restaurant team at Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer manage to bring the dining room atmosphere to life and immediately take the guests on a journey. Culinary delights, coupled with the special team of employees create a special atmosphere that you would not have expected.
The motto in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer by Hendrik Otto “Tradition is(s)t modern” is perfectly implemented and is a special experience for every visitor. Hendrik Otto shows how it is possible to interpret the classic dishes of European cuisine in a modern way and to form them into small – but edible – works of art.
An evening in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer now also means to have found a new alternative – it can be cozy with family or friends on the couch, at the table in the dining room with nice stories, but also in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer in the ADLON Hotel Kempinski in Berlin. The special moments, the stories to tell on the next family visit, you will also experience there.
No longer an insider tip in Berlin – but an unqualified recommendation for a wonderful evening with great people. Hendrik Otto, Boris Häbel and the team from the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer show in a pleasant way how you can provide upscale star cuisine with a feel-good factor.
For me, it was certainly not the last visit to the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer and if you ever consider combining the Berlin experience with the breathtaking view of the Brandenburg Gate and a special dinner, you should of course reserve a table in advance. This is possible under the telephone number +49-30-2261-1960 as well as under the email address lorenz.adlon (at) kempinski.com.
Thank you for an unforgettable evening in the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer with wonderful people!