Sunday, 1st December 2019 – Heritage, Hamburg
After a Saturday to forget, by the end of Sunday afternoon I was starving, and dinner looked like a very welcome detail in our day. For Sunday evening I’d got us close to our hotel again, with a table reserved at Heritage, overlooking the Aussenalster. I hadn’t realised it was in one of the grander hotels along the waterside, Le Méridien, having got as far as discovering it was open on a Sunday (not something you can take for granted in Germany, even in the bigger cities) and had stunning views – though why I thought that was important given it would be a dark December night when we were there, I’m not sure. We arrived in front of the hotel and discovered that there was a lift on the outside, straight up to the top floor.
Once there we were greeted efficiently and led to our table in a large room, on several levels, with the massive plate glass windows providing a view of the lake and the twinkling lights outside for every table. I doubt there’s a bad seat in the room, and the wooden furniture gives the place warmth at night. We settled in, and as ever had a glass of sekt while we studied the menu. The place is big on steaks, and claims in fact to serve some of the best steaks in Hamburg, but it also does more interesting things too, especially around fish.
After my dose of norovirus I wasn’t feeling like being overly adventurous, and was planning on choosing plain, simple things, with no meat, no strong flavours and definitely no sharp or spicy flavours. And so it was that I found myself sitting in front of a large bowl of potato soup as a starter. Dull, you may think. Not a bit of it. It was like a massive comforting hug in a bowl, rich and creamy and warming, and with earthy undertones that raised it to something special from something prosaic. The soup had been frothed and foamed into a “cappucino”, and was then infused with Perigord truffles, and strewn with chives. As “invalid food” went, I think it could probably bring about a miraculous recovery in most cases! It even stopped me feeling jealous of Lynne’s choice.
She had chosen the cream of crustacean soup, which I would have gone for, especially as it came with a perfect couple of slices of venison fillet. It looked and smelled amazing, but I didn’t dare risk it. She said it was very, very good, and seemed to enjoy it immensely. Just as well my potato soup was as good as it was!
My main course arrived after a suitable gap. I’d decided that fish would be easier on my somewhat unsettled digestive system! As a result, I’d gone for one of the more expensive options, in the form of a whole sole, gently fried until the flesh was golden. The waiter served it perfectly too, filleting it in front of me with a great deal of skill. I think she might have been practicing. It was just as good as it looked, the flesh flaking gently as I introduced the cutlery to it. It came with nicely plain saffron potatoes, some small and nicely cooked vegetables, and a lovely beurre blanc and I reckon it was well worth the €48 price tag.
Lynne’s choice was again rather too adventurous for me on this occasion. She’d gone for the tuna steak, which they served rare, just as I would normally want it. It was served with a ponzu sauce and a grilled lemon, and it went down very well, especially with the “wok-vegetables” that came with it. I ate some of them, just to help out, but mostly concentrated on my own fish, which I couldn’t actually finish anyway.
With the meal we drank a very nice 2018 Kaiserstuhl Grauburgunder from Weinhaus F Keller, unable to resist leaning towards Baden wines when we can get them. It went down very well, and we finished it while watching a couple on the next table take on one of the “steaks” to share, probably the Chateaubriand, all 500g of it at €92! It beat them comprehensively, though I hope they had the sense to ask for a doggy bag for the leftovers. It was vast and came with what appeared to be a bucket of fries! Should we ever go back and eat there again, I don’t think we’ll be trying that. Full of fish ourselves, we eventually paid the bill and left to walk back to the nearest bus stop to catch the ever reliable number 6 bus.