The restaurant at Hotel Brandenburger Hof Berlin with chef Sauli Kemppainen
Added on May 15, 2013
The Quadriga restaurant has a brand new chef: Philipp Jay Meisel. I have not eaten there yet. So I can't tell you how good he is.
Die Quadriga with chef Sauli Kemppainen (since October 2008)
Added on November 3, 2010
Since October 2008, Sauli Kemppainen is the head chef at Die Quadriga, the gourmet restaurant at Hotel Brandenburger Hof in Berlin. The Finnish chef was awarded a Michelin Star in the 2010 restaurant guide [check our German review of December 1, 2010].
Die Quadriga with chef Bobby Bräuer
Article added on October 4, 2004
Die Quadriga at Hotel Brandenburger Hof is one of Berlin's best gourmet restaurants. Under its previous chef, Wolfgang Nagler, who left at the end of March 2004, Die Quadriga had been continuously awarded one star by Michelin and seventeen points by Gault Millau since 1999.
Nagler's successor, Bobby Bräuer, previously was the chef at the restaurant Victorian in Düsseldorf, where he also held one star with the Michelin guide and seventeen points with Gault Millau. He guarantees continuity regarding the gourmet level of the restaurant, while displaying his own cooking style. In April 2004, together with The Quadriga, Bobby Bräuer also took over the second restaurant at Hotel Brandenburger Hof: Wintergarten, which was awarded fifteen points in the Gault Millau 2004 and offers French country inn food.
In an interview, Bobby Bräuer told me that he celebrates the produce and its original flavor, which should not be altered. He described his style and carte as "purist", one produce plus one component (sauce or vegetable). He deliberately keeps the carte short. The menu changes according to the availability of the best products and the feedback of his guests, sometimes daily, sometimes after one week. He keeps direct contacts with his suppliers, e.g. game comes from Baron Riederer von Paar in Bavaria. Classic French cuisine is the basis of Bräuer's cuisine, but he is open to Mediterranean and Asian influences. The changing six-course menu with wine pairings is his bestseller.
The interior of Die Quadriga is just as appealing as the food itself: A Biedermeier secretary, Frank Lloyd Wright's cherrywood chairs, designed in 1904, which correspond perfectly with the cherrywood panels on the walls, which are decorated mainly by works of artist of the Berliner Sezession provided by Seidel & Sohn, an art dealer established 1905; the artworks are for sale. The tableware is KPM porcelain, the silver from Robbe & Berking, the flowers throughout the hotel by an Ikebana master.
Incidentally, Die Quadriga is named after the four horses who pull the goddess of victory, a sculpture by Schadow from 1794 on top of the Brandenburg Gate. by L.G.
A vegetarian dinner at Die Quadriga
Tested by Louis Gerber in September 2004
Knowing now that Bobby Bräuer keeps his carte short and buys according to the availability of produce, I must admit that it was an error to reveal only at the last minute during my interview of him that I am a vegetarian. If you are on a special diet, he appreciates having 24 hours advance notice.
At 7:30 a student playing jazzy tunes at the piano bar created an elegant, relaxed atmosphere for our dinner; later he switched to classical music.
The three appetizers comprised a harmonious sheep's milk cheese with pine nuts, followed by a strongly-salted zucchini soup, and ending harmoniously again with arugula and tomato curd.
A warm and damp hand towel before dinner is standard at Die Quadriga, so are the three types of freshly baked bred (in this occasion pine, wholemeal and sourdough) and salted butter.
Another hors d'oeuvre, a delicious red-pepper, was next, stewed according to the chef's philosophy: keep it simple and save the original taste. The following three portions of vegetables from Provence, accompanied by a Silvaner white wine (vineyard Kallmuth) with 13% alcohol offered more of the same spirit.
After a boletus-tomato essence, my main course was ready. A risotto may not be very imaginative, but since many restaurants offer me one, this is the dish I can best compare. Bobby Bräuer's version with mainly artichokes, pine nuts and dried tomato was firm to the bite. All ingredients had kept their taste. In short: brilliant.
Another highlight was the wine chosen by Sommelière Romana Echensperger: a Riesling Spätlese 2003 from the Nahe region, with 10% alcohol, by the winery Schäfer-Fröhlich (vineyard Monzinger Halenberg). It was perfect to accompany my first dessert, a Bleu d'Auvergne, a French blue mould cheese.
Among the other desserts tasted were three sorbets, including a delicious one with strong raspberry taste, an elderberry-mint sorbet with honey (a bit too watery), as well as an excellent peach one. While not fully convincing, a chocolate soufflé accompanied by fresh raspberries and a champagne granité ended a delightful dinner.
A dinner at Die Quadriga
Tested by Torge Hamkens in September 2004
The Hotel Brandenburger Hof's Quadriga restaurant has an outstanding and overwhelmingly comprehensive collection of German wines that is surely among the very top Berlin has to offer. Definitely a must for connoisseurs of German wines.
The wine menu comprises altogether 850 sorts limited only to German origins from “Ahr” to “Württemberg”. The presentation is truly most original: wines are listed according to regions and vineyards without separating white, red and rosé wines. In contrast to ordinary ones, this menu completely focuses on the vineyards rather than on the producer. All the wine regions are introduced by a transparent photo of the soil or stone that is most typical in its regions, accompanied by a slogan that catches the region’s spirit and atmosphere. In terms of wine philosophy, the “terroir” is the focal point in arranging the menu.
The Quadriga’s wine collection can be best experienced when ordering the Quadriga menu comprising six courses and served with five different wines representing the full variety of the restaurants “Schatzkammer Deutscher Weine” (treasure of German wines). The price for the menu (duration about four hours) including wines was 165 EUR in September 2004.
As an apéritif I had a glass of champagne from Schloss Vaux in Rheingau, the Quadriga’s house wine: mineral, fresh and elegant.
The aperitif was followed by an assortment of appetizers including calf's head (Kalbskopf) with balsamic vinegar, a strong zucchini soup and a mousse of eel and trout. Combined with a 2002 Riesling cultivated in Slovakia by the German wine producer Egon Müller, this was a perfect beginning - the wine convinced through its fine peach aroma and an ideal mix of sweet and sour.
As its first course, the Quadriga menu offered goose liver with truffles. This was combined with a voluminous 1992 Hipping from the winery Heyl zu Herrnsheim located in Nierstein on the river Rhine. Although it is rather unconventional to start a menu with a Beerenauslese (wine made from selected overripe grapes) like this, the combination with the heavy goose liver was an extraordinary experience.
The second course was a turbot from the Atlantic accompanied by crayfish and champagne sauce. Served with this course was a dry, tangy and typical Silvaner Spätlese from the Franconia based winery Fürst Löwenstein (vineyard Homburger Kallmuth Asphodill).
After that I had an ox filet from Bavaria with boletus, spinach and shallots, served with a jus of ox tail. This called for a stronger red wine. In my case it was 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Henschel winery. In particular, I enjoyed the wine’s brilliant wood and berry aromas. The regular red wine served with the ox filet would be a Spätburgunder from the Palatinate winery Becker. This one, however, was not that convincing.
The sophistically presented selection of primarily French cheeses that finished the main courses of my menu was combined with a 2003 Riesling from the winery Schäfer Fröhlich on the river Nahe (vinery Monzinger Halenberg): a Riesling could not be more elegant!
As my first dessert, I had a sorbet of elderberry and mint. It was combined with a 2002 Scheurebe Auslese from Baden (vineyard Durbacher Plaudelrain from the winery Andreas Laible): it was fascinating how the sorbet’s fruit aromas came together with the wine’s fresh grapefruit notes.
Finally, my second dessert was an enjoyable Pfirsich in Pergament, a peach with crusty cake, coconut, pineapple and small pralines.
However, this was not all. At the very end a fresh soup made from passion fruit was served. My digestif was a fine Léopold Gourmel cognac called Age de fleurs.
The hotel entrance in the Eislebener Street 14, D-10789 Berlin. Photos © Hotel Brandenburger Hof, Berlin.
Die Quadriga, Salon Orofino, with cherry wood chairs by Frank Lloyd Wright. It only seats forty guests, insuring a high level of quality and attention to all guests and courses. Photo © Brandenburger Hof.
Salon Königsstuhl, a part of the Quadriga gourmet restaurant ideal for private dinners and business meetings. Photo © Brandenburger Hof.
Chef de cuisine in Die Quadriga since October 2008: Sauli Kemppainen. Photos © Hotel Brandenburger Hof, Berlin.
Bobby Bräuer. Photos © Brandenburger Hof.
Biography of chef Bobby Bräuer
Chef Bobby Bräuer was born on August 10, 1962 in Munich. He spent his years of apprenticeship 1982-85 with Otto Koch (*1948) in the restaurant Le Gourmet in Munich; Koch is a Michelin-starred cook, well-known for his TV-appearances. 1986-87 Bobby Bräuer improved his skills with André Jäger, the Swiss master of Euro-Asian cuisine, at the restaurant Fischerzunft in Schaffhausen (19 points with Gault Millau). In 1988 at the restaurant L'Oasis in La Napoule, France, Bräuer cooked classical French cuisine with an Asian touch with chef Louis Outhier. Bräuer's next career step was the restaurant La Casa Nostra at the vineyard Avignones in Italy's Cianciano Therme in 1989. The following year, he returned to classical French cuisine. At the hotel and restaurant Schweizer Stuben in Wertheim, he joined Dieter Müller who had just been the first German chef to achieve 19.5 points with Gault Millau in 1988, a score unsurpassed until today. In addition, since 1997, Müller is decorated with 3 Michelin stars. In 1991-92, Bobby Bräuer finally worked under the auspices of another icon, the Austrian Eckart Witzigmann, at the restaurant Aubergine in Munich. Bräuer considers Witzigmann to be the chef that has had the most important influence on him. At Aubergine, he cooked from classical French to regional to Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, the last year as sous-chef of Witzigmann. In 1994, Witzigmann was honored by Gault Millau as "chef of the century", one of only four chefs to receive this distinction. From 1993 to 2000, Bräuer worked for the first time as chef at Hotel Königshof München, where he managed to obtain 1 Michelin star and 18 points by Gault Millau with his classical French cuisine. From 2000 to early 2004, Bräuer openend his own restaurant in Düsseldorf: Victorian. Again with classical French cuisine, he was awarded 1 Michelin star and 17 points by Gault Millau. In April 2004, Bobby Bräuer replaced Wolfgang Nagler as chef at the restaurants Die Quadriga and Wintergarten at Hotel Brandenburger Hof. by L.G.
2004 Sommelière Romana Echensperger. Photos © Brandenburger Hof.
Sommelière Romana Echensperger
In May 2004, the newly-appointed Sommelière Romana Echensperger inherited an outstanding collection of German wines from her predecessor, sommelier Matthias Dathan (*1972): In September 2002, he created a wine list, grouped according to vineyards (Weinlagen), with a photograph next to each section, documenting the specific soil and moving geographically from north to south. The wine list includes some 850 exclusively German positions of which 450 are Riesling wines. All German wine regions are presented with at least 20 positions.
By pure coincidence, the Munich born Romana Echensperger made her apprenticeship at Hotel Königshof München, where her chef was Bobby Bräuer. She made her first steps as sommelière at Restaurant Schloss Berg in Perl. She improved her skills at Forschungsanstalt Geisenheim in collaboration with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, London. by L.G.
Additional articles about Berlin, mainly in German
Geschichte: Gendarmenmarkt Berlin, Unter den Linden, Brandenburger Tor.
Musik: Christian Thielemann, Daniel Barenboim
Hotels: Geschichte des Hotel Adlon, Lorenz Adlon, Brandenburger Hof (English article)
Restaurants: Restaurant Alt Luxemburg