Two Stars

June 11, 2014

During a recent trip to Leipzig, I had the distinctive pleasure of eating at a Michelin two-star restaurant for the first time. I’m not a huge foodie, but I though I’d write down a few thoughts about the experience because I may not be back in a while. The restaurant in question is Falco, located on the twenty-seventh floor of the Westin in Leipzig.

The ambience

Falco’s official website describes itself as “closer to heaven than earth”. Regardless of the quality of its food, it’s at least an description for its magnificent vantage point over Leipzig. A city of few highrises, those that do exist offer vistas that extend as far as the eye can see.

Aside from the view, the restaurant’s attention to detail is what you’d notice next. For example, a sliding door, which was kept closed at all times, separated the bar from the dining area. Anytime a patron needed to enter or exit, a member of staff would lead them through it and ceremoniously slide the door open and shut around them. An access passage off to the side allowed staff to move freely between the two rooms.

I would go so far to say that the vigilant staff were the distinctive difference between Falco and a more typical restaurant. Delivering any course was no less than a four person affair, with two people to hold trays while another two bussed them from the trays to the table. After the arrival of any dish, a member of staff would come by to present its backstory and composition. At all times service was never more than a glance away.

The menu was nothing short of hilarious in its raw unintelligibility. An eclectic mixture of random font sizes and styles, erratic whitespace and kerning, and deranged sectioning came together in harmony to ensure its total opacity. It took the four of us three separate conversations with our waitstaff before we could make sense of it.

Its absymal design may have even been a design feature to make sure that patrons engaged with a human before ordering anything. That said, Occam’s razor suggests that it may have been the byproduct of a night of wild absinthe abuse, and a mid-nineties copy of Microsoft Word.

The menu didn’t affect the experience, but there was clear irony that the one at the McDonalds two blocks away was better-designed.

The food

As expected, the food was delicious and beautifully presented. A common theme to the design of each dish was to have a very large plate with the food itself artfully decorating only a small portion of it. The portions varied a lot, but were quite reasonable for a high-end restaurant.

They’d also bring out tiny “snacks” between courses (compliments of the chef), which was a nice touch. We got everything from small pieces of marinated fruit balanced on toothpicks atop of a piece of driftwood to small balls of chocolate nestled in their own zen garden of sugar.

The score

Being someone who’s happy with a 3€ doner kebab, I don’t often come out of an expensive meal feeling like my money’s been well-spent. I did enjoy my experience at Falco though, so if you like food and have money to burn, it might be worth the visit.

Two Stars was published on June 11, 2014.

Find me on Twitter at @brandur.

Did I make a mistake? Please consider sending a pull request.