We stayed in the Excelsior Hotel Ernst this weekend and decided to have our meal on Friday night in the hotel's Taku restaurant which we had not tried before. The restaurant is neatly tucked away downstairs by the fish river. The tables are set out in a spacious fashion so one would not really be 'overlooked' or necessarily overheard, and this creates a lovely atmosphere of calmness and relative quiet.
We chose the journey menu option - I think we chose the 6 course option where one is able to choose from a relatively limited selection of options with a 'main' course. To be honest, the food here is 'small' and designerly, not fill your face (well, at least with the 'journey' option) but this suits me just fine - when you're trying new things you might hate them and find yourself over faced with a plate full - with 6 courses it was ideal for us.
I don't remember every single item I ate - but I know that all of it was delicious and beautifully seasoned and cooked. The short rid of Wagyu steak that was the main course was cooked to perfection and blew me away with the complexity of the seasoning and flavours. The other courses I had were pretty jolly good too.
The restaurant has an excellent sommelier who was able to discuss the wine choices in excellent English and made a couple of excellent recommendations. We drank a bottle of German gewurtztraminer with the dinner - distinctive, rose petal nose and perfect for the asian based flavours. We also had some hot sake (a new 'thing' for us and it was lovely) and then had a glass of dessert wine - German again and an auslesen for me if I remember rightly.
Service was excellent, faultless. A tiny problem caused in no small part by my execrable German language (I won't say skills...) was resolved in a heartbeat with a polite apology although I promise you the fault was completely mine.
Yes, it is a pricey restaurant, but hell, it's the best hotel in Cologne and one would expect the restaurant to be comensurate with that. I cannot wait until our next visit, next December, and will be booking our table well in advance to make sure I will have it to look forward to.
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