Emirates Palace has been knocking it out of the park recently! After my last (delicious) trip to meet Chef Hendrik Yde Andersen for lunch, I was more than happy to return and taste some of the dishes from Chef Norbert Niederkofler, the patron of the two Michelin star St. Hubertus restaurant (located at the Rosa Alpina Hotel in South Tyrol, Italy). Like Chef Andersen, Chef Niederkofler was generous enough to sit down for a few minutes and discuss his career and culinary passions with me.
We talked mainly about his ‘Cook the Mountain‘ approach to food and fine dining. I have to admit that I am jealous of all the local sourcing he has access to and also impressed at all the future planning involved in scheduling a menu for the entire year, including planting and culling proteins. I also learned about his inspiring Care’s initiative, The Ethical Chef (which I would encourage you to review further). Overall, I think anyone would not only be lucky to dine in one of Chef Niederkofler kitchens, but also to work in one of his restaurants.
The menu had almost nothing but high points throughout. We opted for the 7-course meal (with wine pairing, a deal at AED900++). As much fine dining as I’ve done recently, I was very pleased with the entire degustation. While my dining partner and I enjoyed each course, our favorites were the Beetroot gnocchi (with beer soil and daikon cream). Even with a small serving of just four gnocchi, it was clear the chef knew exactly what he was doing with these perfect little pastas (and perhaps leaving your diner wanting more is a good thing…). We also loved the Beef fillet (cooked in hay and salt crust). Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I enjoyed such a tender cut of beef. While the portion might have been a touch too big, I enjoyed the build up to this melt in your mouth protein with a perfect addition of garlic (cooked to add the right amount of texture). Finally, in what might be my favorite dessert eaten this year, the Bread & Milk was an actual thing of beauty. Sometimes sweet things are best done when they are made simply. In this instance, the crust of the sugar on the pastry lent itself to the subtlest aftertaste of coconut (unexpected, but still delicious). In each bite, the line of too saccharine was approached, but never stepped over. In all honesty, it’s my current favorite dessert in the world. I guess I’ll have to plan a trip to Italy some time soon…
If you want to attend and try the menu for yourself, Chef Niederkofler is in town and serving up this menu through April 8th at Emirates Palace (in the romantic Mezzaluna restaurant). I believe the pricing to be quite reasonable, considering the substantial pours and highest quality plates. Whether you choose the five or seven-course menu, I sincerely doubt you will be disappointed. Chef Niederkofler was also kind enough to circulate throughout the dining room and greet all of the guests throughout the night.
Were you able to check out any of the Michelin chefs at Emirates Palace? Who was your favorite?
A to Za’atar was a guest of Emirates Palace. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.