German Thoroughness at s’Laurent

S’ Laurent is a nice Bib gourmand awarded low key restaurant serving delicate interpretations of the German cuisine offered generously and in large portions.

The Entrance to s’Laurent

On the way to our vacation at the Italian Riviera we stopped in the town of Ludwigsburg, and for a very special reason. Around this time last year we also stopped for the night in Ludwigsburg, as we were in the area by chance. I had read about Ludwigsburg being an old pretty town, and I imagined that we after a nice dinner could stroll around and enjoy the view of the old baroque buildings and experience the scent of some German history. But for an unknown reason we ended up in the sleepiest and dullest part of Ludwigsburg. When we had checked into the hotel the concierge told us that the hotel restaurant was famous for it’s kitchen. I wonder why. What a gross disappointment. The dinner was one of the worst I’ve had for years (powder based asparagus soup with canned asparagus and a leathery not chewable rump steak). The evening walk took place at the church yard, as this was the greenest part of this suburb.

Anyways, I couldn’t stand the thought of Ludwigsburg having caught me off-guard like that. So, back home I spent hours browsing the web and leafing through the red guide to find a nice hotel and a good place to eat. I wanted to give Ludwigsburg a second chance, so to speak. The Hotel Favorit and the s’Laurent restaurant were my choices for this years’ stay.

S’Laurent is the brother restaurant of the French cuisined Alte Sonne which is awarded with a Michelin star and I believe that they share the same kitchen.

Herrings with horseradish

We started off with “Matjesfilet in Meerrettich-Gurkenvinaigrette auf Bratkartoffelsalat und Ruccola.” I’m not sure I really liked this first dish. It was interesting and well composed, but not exactly my taste. Still, the horseradish did a good job in matching the fatness of the herring, which showed a couple of bones when cutting it. The fried potatoes underneath should have been left out as they blurred the dish. I found they disturbed the intensity of fish and the rucola with the vinaigrette and horseradish that together were quite elegant.

The Sweet Potatoes Soup

The creamy sweet potatoes soup was very nice and I bet that it was spiced up a bit with ginger. Nice and crispy Roggen bread crumbs on the top. I liked the small size of them as well as the taste.

The zander with liver pâté sauce and pasta

The third course was comprising zander with crispy skin and it was wonderful, my favourite dish of the evening. The fish had been placed upon a base of pasta (resembling ravioli but without the cave in it) with a delicate liver pâté sauce. The pasta was seasoned with flavours of orange and the citrus theme reflected nicely in the fish skin. Decorative watercress on the top.

The Pork

The extremely large portion of the main course contained impressions and flavours that had appeared in the previous courses: The intense, reduced and fantastic sauce, the horseradish, a variation of spätzle, and the watercress. The corned pork was very good and very tender.

The Salad

On the side I got a huge salad of sauer kraut, potatoes and carrots amongst others.

The rhubarb dessert

Again a robust serving. Strawberries in ice cream and in fresh form, rhubarbs, and vanilla pudding, well and harmonious prepared. All very nice, indeed the rhubarbs; I just love those.

The Ellwanger Nicodemus Candidus

As for the wine, I consulted the kind sommelier. I was looking for something local. In a highly narrative way he explained us about the term “Weingut” – I asked because my German language capability is rather limited. So is my German wine knowledge, by the way. He also gladly told us about the wine: 2004, Weingut J. Ellwanger, Nicodemus Candidus. A composite wine in every way, with three different grapes: Chardonnay for sure, Cannon which is supposed to be a crossing between two other grapes, and a third one I don’t recall what was. Maybe some of you know about this wine?

Each dish evolved the treat of the wine in a lovely way, the fish providing tannin and dryness, whereas the rhubarb brought out the oak flavour. I noted a taste of lemon at the tip of my tongue too. The nose had fruit as well as oak. I really liked this wine.

I didn’t like the bread much, though. It appeared to me like something they had taken out of the freezer – and being the last and oldest one there.

The interior of the place is elegant and discrete. No table cloth (this is ‘just’ a bistro, mind you) but nicely arranged with flowers, a candle light, and a couple of little red balls of yarn (why?), cotton serviettes, which I certainly like. Paper serviettes are a disgrace to good food.

At the end of this delightful German evening the Altasian chef came out and greeted us. I could only gratulate and thank him for the good food. And while walking back to the hotel I was thinking that now the score is 1-1 in the Ludwigsburg-Trine match. For sure.

Friday 25 May 2007

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