I had conflicting emotions as I walked away from The Table. Most of all, I was in awe of the culinary crew. awestruck by their consistency in skill, the accuracy with which they plated, and the way they turned the raw materials This restaurant, maybe more than any other in Germany, made it simple to see why The Table was a three-star establishment. Observing the action develop in front of your eyes in the totally open kitchen, you could clearly see the amount of talent and work that had been put into each and every detail.
Having said that, despite all of the effort, the dinner did not exactly strike the high notes I had hoped for. The dishes seemed to follow a formula that could be predicted. Start with a taste that you are comfortable with, such as foie gras served with something sweet. Then the elements are transformed into something other, like in the instance of the foie gras, which was turned into ice cream. Following that, the chef would infuse the meal with an interesting taste without going overboard – in this case, a tarragon sauce for the foie dish. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
As a result, this was a really nice lunch, but one that left me more astonished by what the kitchen was capable of than moved by its flavor or presentation. The three-star rating is well-deserved, but the five-month wait for a table is not.
Would I go again: Definitely. No, it takes too much work.
The amount I paid was €230.
14 out of 20 points
The Table and Chef Kevin Fehling’s Professional Background
OSRAM GmBH provided this inside photograph.
OSRAM GmBH provided this inside photograph.
When Chef Kevin Fehling left La Belle Epoque in 2015 to create his own restaurant in Hamburg, he looked to be on the verge of achieving gourmet triumph. He was wrong. Given that he is already a three-star chef, there is little doubt that he would be able to recreate the same quality of cuisine while creating a restaurant that would reflect his own vision and culinary preferences. As you are presumably aware, he succeeded, obtaining three stars in The Table’s first year of operation.
The likelihood of financial success was less certain. There must be an incredible amount of effort and ingredient costs involved with three-star cookery. The fact that almost every other three-star in Germany is incorporated into a hotel (and Rutz has a wine bar and a more casual restaurant to aid in profitability) is a testament to the fact that running a three-star restaurant is not an especially profitable proposition, especially given the low volume (The Table only serves around 100 guests per week).
Although it must have been difficult to go at it alone, Chef Fehling looks to have achieved some success. In Germany, getting a reservation at the Table is the most difficult task. I made my reservation 5 months in advance in order to get a mid-week sitting (e-mail them, the online booking opens only three months ahead at which point they are already full). There is just one meal option (€230), and there are no options to choose from. That one menu is supplied to you in advance so that you may inform us of any dietary limitations you have. There are no bread, cheese, or mignardise carts to provide variety to the experience. Apart from the 2005 Trittenhiemer Milz Auslese, the wine pairing is priced at what you would expect for a three Michelin star restaurant (€115), but with lower-cost wines – there was not a single bottle in the pairing that cost more than €20. In preparation for the next week, the restaurant knows precisely how many covers they will have and what those covers will be eating.
During servicing, the same level of accuracy that Fehling maintains on the business side is on full show. Everything is prepared in advance in order for the chef to be able to thoroughly inspect them. All of the proteins are cooked sous vide, so there are no surprises later on. The service nearly seems to be orchestrated. The supper was divided into two seatings: late and early, with each dish being made for both seatings at the same time. There are perhaps ten plates in total presented, and the kitchen staff works in complete silence to construct each meal under the supervision of Chef Fehling Plates are served to the diners one table at a time when they have been completed. While Chef Fehling was finishing off our neighbor’s plates at the tableside, our dishes were brought to the table so he could walk along the counter and resume the process. Following the Chef’s introduction, our server would provide a more in-depth overview of the course’s components. Meanwhile, the kitchen was prepping the course for the late seating, which was taking place one course after us. Each course of the meal was subsequently performed in a similar manner, with the full dinner proceeding without incident.
The drawback of the well-rehearsed serving approach was that it made everything seem a little too mechanical. There was no opportunity to converse with the chef since he was preoccupied with moving on to the next table, and even the waiters were under pressure to stay to a strict timetable once the dinner got underway. The food was good, and there was nothing wrong with it, but I didn’t get the “next level” real kindness that I’ve had from some of my favorite places in the past.
What I ate while sitting at The Table
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Starting with an incredible assortment of snacks from the kitchen, every dinner at The Table is a memorable experience. The first three were a crab sandwich, a Mexican taco, and an Indian summer bun, which were served from left to right.
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Photograph of Pulpo-Mojo-Kevhin-Fehling at the Table in Hamburg (part one of 1).jpg
Those three dishes were not the only ones available; there was also an egg carbonara (on the left) and pulpo tartar with mojo (on the right) (right). Without delving into the specifics of each item, they were very well-prepared and served as an excellent prelude to the remainder of the dinner, thanks to their varied tastes that traveled the globe and their sophisticated presentation. Perhaps there was not an one memorable taste that I will remember for a long time (as there was with the foie gras macaron at Cheval Blanc), but rather a strong set of dishes that demonstrated exceptional competence.
1 of 1: Kevin Fehling’s Bluefin Tuna at The Table in Hamburg (1 of 1).jpg
Seared bluefin tuna with sea urchin cream and trout caviar served with wasabi pearls and brown butter was the first dish of the meal. With the chef selecting to utilize both fatty toro and lean tuna saddle, they were able to produce a meal that was both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. The use of both tuna slices was quite practical, not only in terms of allowing the guests to compare their tastes side by side, but also in terms of avoiding the meal from becoming too fatty, which may have occurred if just toro had been used in the dish. They were also a great bit of culinary work, as they added a very delicate wasabi taste without being overpowering in their intensity. On the negative side, the wakame on the top was sliced very long, making it difficult to eat elegantly, and I felt that the taste of the urchin cream had been overshadowed by the other flavors.
Image 1 of 1: Kevin Fehling’s Foie Gras, Eel, Pineapple, The Table, Hamburg.jpg
Next up came a foie gras terrine, which was topped with pineapple, pink peppercorn, and tarragon and served with smoked eel on the side. Like the tuna, this dish was presented in a sleek manner, with the foie gras being sliced into thin rectangles and served with similarly shaped pineapple and eel. When you combine the dish with a brilliant green tarragon sauce and a quenelle of foie gras ice cream, the whole look is reminiscent of a cubist picture, in my opinion. Despite the fact that the tastes were a logical pairing, the dish’s taste was excellent, with the tarragon sauce providing a pleasant contrast to the more conventional foie gras flavors. The terrine itself was of excellent quality, however it fell a little short of the depth of flavor found in my favorite foie gras meals.
Image 1 of 1: Kevin Fehling’s Potato Foam at The Table in Hamburg.jpg
Kevin Fehling’s Caviar Yuzu at The Table in Hamburg, Germany (1 of 1).jpg
The third course consisted of two dishes that were supposed to be shared: on one plate, there was AKI caviar with yuzu balls and a dashi jelly, while on the other, there was a potato foam-covered beef tartar with a dashi jelly. This was three-star comfort food, and the taste combination was one that I felt pretty comfortable with. While the tastes were familiar, the execution was on another level, with the potato foam in particular being as light as air and a highlight. In spite of the excellent execution, this dish was a little monotonous – the only intriguing aspect was the coupling of the yuzu (presented in balls, a variation on the method employed on the wasabi in the first course) with the caviar, which worked really well.
Kevin Fehling at the table in Hamburg, Germany (1 of 1).jpg Cod Kevin Fehling at the table in Hamburg, Germany
Even while I felt the first three dishes were good, I thought the two main meals were much superior. Cooked fish with spring maki and ponzu dashi served as the main course for the evening. The quality of the ingredients, as well as the accuracy with which they were prepared, were the most notable aspects of this meal. The best cod in the world is cooked low and slow in a bath of soy sauce to preserve the fish juicy and flaky. A hollandaise sauce with just the right amount of lemon zest (a rarity in even the best restaurants). The flavors of the melon and veggies almost sprang off the dish. This meal was a delight to eat, with each component independently earning your admiration for how delicious it was while also complementing the other components on the plate.
In this image, Kevin Fehling’s Duck, Strawberry, and Rhubarb The Table (Hamburg, Germany) is shown as one of the options.
An further culinary accomplishment came in the form of challans duck with strawberry, rhubarb, and sherry vinegar hollandaise, which was served as a main meat dish. What a disgraceful piece of trash this was. Served with a jus created from the carcass’s fluids, it was cooked sous vide and then given a blast of strong heat in the salamander to crisp up the skin. It’s difficult to think of any way this could have been made better. The other components provided a good mix of sweetness and acidity to bring it all together. Having said that, the little ball coated with what seems to be cereal did not appeal to me (I missed what it was in my notes). I thought this was done to add texture (although it may not have been). However, the cereal/granola seemed to be a little stale, which was the only technical flaw I could identify in the meal. Finally, you must acknowledge that the kitchen went above and above by purchasing the platinum version of the traditional Bernardaud ecume plate (which would set you back well over $200 each dish) as a show of appreciation.
1 of 1: Kevin Fehling’s Jelly of the Brries on the Table (Kevin-Fehling-Hamburg)
While the dessert, a jellied berry with red shiso and pistachio, was visually appealing, it was the color that stood out the most, as the brilliant red stood out in strong contrast to the white dish. The dish, in addition to having a vivid look, was also delicious, with the jelly having a good smooth texture and a powerful berry taste that stood out (think of this as the most optimal version of the mixed berry jelly you get from the grocery store). The pistachio ice cream that accompanied the jelly was a suitable pairing for the fruit that accompanied the jelly. As a final touch to the dining experience, Chef Fehling presented an intriguing tiny dish on the side that had a heated white chocolate sauce with berry sorbet that gently melted into the chocolate, changing the flavor and providing an unusual temperature difference.
Image 1 of 1: Kevin Fehling’s Orange Tomato Jam on the Table in Hamburg.jpg
Image 1 of 1: Kevin Fehling’s Chocolate Bars on the Table in Hamburg.jpg
Kevin Fehling’s Chocolate Bars at The Table in Hamburg, Germany (part 1).jpg
From the kitchen, the mignardises “Chocolate bars from all over the globe” were a real show stopper. Each dish had its own distinct taste combination, but what made them stand out was the way they were presented – the strawberry imitation, in particular, was really convincing (actually filled with yogurt and chocolate). A great climax to the dinner was made possible by Fehling’s constant adoption of new presentations, which came at a time when other cooks were sticking to their guns and serving more traditional dishes.
Cuisine Type: Creative
Hamachi mit grünen Aromen, Avocado, Paprika und Apfel-Jalapeñoeis
Rehrücken, Pfirsich Melba, Spitzkohl, Sherry-Essighollandaise und Gewürzjus
Gurkensalat, Weiße Schokolade, Buttermilch, Apfel und Dill
Address: Shanghaiallee 15, Hamburg, 20457, Germany
Phone: +49 40 22867422
Hours: Closed: 20 December-2 January, Monday, lunch : Tuesday-Saturday, Sunday
Michelin Stars: 3