Friday, May 14, 2010

Postcards from Germany: Zum Barern

with Walter Lange and Tino Bobe

Walter Lange is a grand old gentleman, and patron of his old family firm of A. Lange & Sohne. I always take great pleasure when meeting animated gentleman, he is wonderful in recollecting old memories, and beautiful things. I wish my German was more developed to converse better, but even through an interpreter, it is always such a great joy. Tino, the Head of Technical in ALS had the duties as interpreter this evening, and we ate at the hotel Walter was staying...Zum Baren at Oberbarenburg, a village near the Czech border. Another quaint village in this part of Germany, this was a the sports capital for winter sports in the region.

The village has almost 7, 8 hotels and guesthouses, but the Zum Baren is the grandest of them all. I spied a Michelin tag on the door leading into the hotel...promising. I arrived at was still rather bright.

The hotel is rated 4 stars. It was rather quiet when I arrived...this being spring, though a cold one...8C, with fog and light drizzle outside...the winter sports fans were absent.

We ordered our dinners...I had the zitroenengras curry soup with prawns in a stick. Interesting description. When it came it was rather interesting too...very fragrant, light curry flavour.

The prawns were truly spectacular in taste. Sweet with a light salty flavour, very beautiful fragrance...this was lake or river prawns...but it has a fresh smell. Crunchy, and very nicely done. The curry was a bit mild for a curry, but it was flavourful and very nice. Loved every drop.

My main course was 3 fishes, in a lobster sauce with wild rice.

Almost worthy of a Michelin star on its it was not as exquisite as Guy's sea bass with skin and scales I had in Paris, but we don't pay those prices either. For E13.90, you get this beautiful plate.

Three kinds of fish, wild Norwegean salmon, and a white fish I don't quite recognise and two large pieces of scallops, but quickly devoured. The sauce was quite exceptional. Very creamy, a punchy crustecean flavour, and goes perfectly with the al dente cooked wild rice. Amazing dish.

Tino and Walter had the asparagus:

These asparagus was described in the menu as Konig Spargel...king asparagus...white, thick, huge. They looked wonderful. I didn't taste, but both Tino and Walter enjoyed the asparagus. But having tasted slightly smaller samples of the giant king asparagus at the Heidehof, I can imagine it is quite fantastic.

It is interesting that restaurants in the middle of nearly nowhere, we were about 9 km from the Czech border, in a mountain some 700m above sea level, and the chef and team took great care with their cuisine. Exceptional cooking with wonderful ingredients. The cuisine at Zum Baren is a bit more developed and finer than the more homey food I get in Heidehof. But both are very pleasing. Worth a visit.

Restaurant at the Hotel Zum Baren
Talblick 6
01773 Altenberg, Germany

Get Directions
035052 61-0

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