You could only enjoy Serge et co. if you had a spoon fetish; they kept bringing them and taking them away with incredible frequency. For everyone else, it is a little restaurant of horrors.
When visiting Strasbourg for a night we decided to visit this restaurant as it had got good reviews and sounded like they were making interesting food. Indeed, they had recently been awarded a Michelin star, how could we go wrong?
The first suggestion that we could go wrong occurred when we pulled up outside in the taxi: The restaurant was hideous, Every wall was painted a different colour, lovely combinations of orange, grey and brown screamed out through the windows. We walked in and things only got worse: they had an incredibly tasteless ceiling duvet hanging from the roof and the vile walls were adorned with livid red 3D pictures. A veritable Australian’s nightmare.
As Daniel was reading the wine list I asked him to wipe the look of horror from his face. He suggested that I look at it instead; seconds later he was telling me not to look so appalled. It was a shameful selection of wines for a restaurant in a great wine region. There was virtually no Riesling one would want to drink and we agreed there was only one red wine we could possibly choose.
The menu promised ‘contemporary cooking’ and we chose a five course, Euro68 menu which we hoped would get us back in the mood. We were to be not only disappointed by it but also personally offended.
The amuse bouche they offered us was a ravioli of ceps and foie gras in a cep broth. The pasta had clearly been cooking all day so limp and flaccid was it, with a watery, flavourless filling and the broth it was in was thin and totally lacking flavour. Oh dear.
The first proper course had sounded like an interesting take on foie gras, a maki roll of foie. This consisted of a lump of foie gras wrapped in rice which had been pan-fried sitting in some iced turnip water. The foie was nice enough, but the fried rice was pointless and the turnip water completely vile. “Why?” was all I could repeat on trying to choke this filth down.
We then moved onto sole with mussels, puy lentils and a mousse of what looked (and I dare say tasted) like grilled baby vomit on top of it. The sole managed to be both over-cooked and distinctly chewy and the mussels were tinned pieces of awfulness. The lentils were at least properly cooked, but again they were sitting in a watery, characterless broth. We shall pass over the grilled baby vomit mousse as this defied description, although Daniel dimly remembers having something similar, but far tastier, in a Findus frozen fish gratin, in his youth.
We chose two different main courses. I had venison with a little bolognaise of meat sitting by it. The venison was lacking any form of flavour that might have made it nice. The bolognaise reminded me of an ex-girlfriend’s breath; she used to eat tinned cat food. Daniel had roast lamb that was tough, over-cooked and tasted of wool. With this came some play-dough-like gnocchi and, can you believe it, two edible things: a slice of lamb sausage and some choucroute with fennel. Two swallows do not a summer make, alas.
The first three courses had been actively unpleasant, so it was almost a relief to have a cheese course which was merely boring, if weird. Some brie sprinkled with truffle powder and wrapped in a thin sheet of pasta. With this waste of decent brie it meant that Serge et Co. had managed to turn France’s three great treasures, wine, cooking and cheese, into shameful parodies.
The feeling of depression over our corner of the restaurant was now very deep, so we almost perked up when desserts came and they had ideas. Alas, the ideas turned out to be as hollow as Serge’s cooking was nauseating. Daniel had a smoking cigar of chocolate with a vanilla cream filling served in a cigar ash-tray with vanilla and berry sauce to dip it in. It was shit. David had ‘frites’ of battered pineapple with some unidentifiable white foam to dip it in and a little toothpaste tube of red fruit ketchup. The ketchup was flavourless, the white foam can only be thought of in terms of its texture, far too reminiscent of jizz, and the frites were simply big fingers of grease. After these horrors we were convinced that Serge Burckel was a talentless poseur who could only have got his star by dosing the Michelin inspector’s food with hallucinogenic drugs.
As you can tell, we didn’t enjoy this at all. From the terrible decor, via the embarassingly poor wine list to the frankly horrible food this was a catalogue of shame. The only redeeming feature of the place is that the taxi they called us got there quickly, allowing us to leave this travesty of a restaurant behind us; but they can hardly be applauded for a taxi’s promptness. We were truly amazed that the place not only had other clients, but was full; are the denizens of Strasbourg so keen to try novel cooking they are willing to put up with it being dire?
We are not going to give contact details for this restaurant as we would not even want our worst enemy to visit this horrible, horrible, temple of awfulness.
Daniel with his chocolate cigar:
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David’s greasy frites:
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