Perl-Nennig may not sound like a vibrant major city. In fact you would need to have your satnav to hand to evenfind your way to this far-flung corner of Saarland. However, Perl-Nennig is a true metropolis when it comes togastronomy. This is because the Renaissance gem, Schloss Berg, which today is a world-renowned 5-star luxuryhotel belonging to the Victor’s Residenz-Hotels group, houses the restaurant Victor’s Fine Dining by Christian Bau.
The addition of the words “by Christian Bau” to the name of the restaurant may make it appear somewhat cumbersome,however the name of the chef is simply a sign of quality. The highest level of quality. The list of places inwhich he trained reads like a who’s who of German haute cuisine: they include Hotel Sonne Eintracht in Achern,the Hotel Talmühle in Sasbachwalden and the Le Canard in Offenburg. The cherry on the cake was a five-year spellworking as a sous chef for none other than Harald Wohlfahrt at the Schwarzwaldstube.
In 1998, Victor’s Residenz-Hotels offered him the opportunity to manage the restaurant at Schloss Berg. Sincethen, Christian Bau has been his own boss in the kitchen, decorating his apron with the most prestigious culinaryawards. He earned his first Michelin star within a year of taking over the restaurant. In 2005, not only washe named “Chef of the Year”, he was also awarded his third Michelin star, making him the youngest Germanchef to ever have been awarded this honour.
In spite these many awards and lashings of praise, in 2008, Bau’s culinary path experienced a dramatic changeof direction. “The third star was an incredible achievement”, Bau reflected, “however following that, my wholeworld collapsed around me. We had proved what we were capable of, but I simply wasn’t enjoying it any more”.
So Bau followed his heart. He moved away from traditional French haute cuisine, switching to more simple, contemporaryand cosmopolitan dishes. More simple because he has now almost entirely done away with the use ofcream and butter during preparation of his dishes. Contemporary, because he opened himself up to using newtechniques and modernised the basic construction of the dishes, reducing them to their essential components.Cosmopolitan, because a trip to Japan allowed him to significantly broaden his culinary horizons.
Since then, when creating dishes Christian Bau has continued to use classic dishes as a base, fortifying thesewith Japanese products and flavours, creating an exciting bridge between European and Asian cuisine, which isreinforced by the complex interplay of contrasting elements, such as sour with salty, crispy with soft and hot withcold. According to Bau: “I wanted to offer a dining experience that would make the guests more sensitive to theflavours. Our dishes may split opinions, but they are accessible to all without being overwhelming”.
You don’t just have to take his word for it though, as Bau is proving his success in an impressive manner: the simplefact that Christian Bau has retained his three Michelin stars in spite of his radical change in style should be proofenough. However, it is also, of course, evident in his dishes. For example, Bau serves three types of sashimi, eachprepared in a different way using hamachi, sockeye salmon and yellowfin tuna, individually one after the other,providing the guest with three unique taste experiences involving raw fish and seafood. Equally stimulating, ifnot more so, is the combination of scallops and oysters with candied wild kombu, yuzu and umami stock, or thepairing of sea bass and grilled eel with Japanese aubergine, okra and “Kojyu” vinaigrette.
A visit to Perl-Nennig is simply not complete without experiencing these excitement-packed dishes. This is notleast ensured by the culinary concept followed by Bau and his wife, Yildiz Bau, who is the restaurant’s servicechef. “A visit to Victor’s Fine Dining by Christian Bau should feel personal, sincere and almost like being withfamily”, said the chef. Service and ambience go hand-in-hand in the restaurant’s kitchen, like a perfectly-stagedtheatrical performance in which the guests always take centre stage, experiencing a flood of emotions throughoutthe evening.
This flood will also engulf Salzburg in November 2016, when Christian Bau invites you to a perfectly-stagedevening filled with harmonious contradictions during his guest chef appearance at Restaurant Ikarus in Hangar-7.
Photo credit: ©Helge Kirchberger Photography / Red Bull Hangar-7
Find out more about Chef Bau