The Chef’s touch: Lea Linster, Frisange, Luxembourg

Last month, to celebrate my partner in crime Kochi’s birthday, we decided to spoil ourselves with a starred choice, the one I was craving since my arrival in Luxembourg, Lea Linster in Frisange.

I heard several different opinions about this restaurant and I was very curious to try it – I am generally not put down my negative opinions, nor pushed by great ones, I just prefer to have my  personal.

I got in contact with the restaurant via mail couple of weeks before and I got a quick reply in English – not to be taken as granted in most of  restaurants in Luxembourg. I specified the reservation was for a birthday celebration and we would have loved to have a nice table.

Moving forward to the day, we got to the restaurant at 7.30 pm – there was a private parking just in front. The restaurant was almost complete and we were welcomed at our table, just next to the window, overlooking the lovely garden.

We opted for the Bocuse D’Or tasting menu, a four courses journey through the tastes that honoured Lea Linster of the famous prize, with wine pairings.. During the wait, we were proposed an aperitif, I went – business as usual – for rose’ champagne, while Kochi went for a blanc de blanc.

Together with the aperitif we received some crunchy focaccia bread with herbs, followed by a bread bruschetta with olives tapenade and bresaola (tasty) and a poached quail egg (plain).

Our dinner properly started with a goat cheese mousse and gazpacho as welcome, followed by lobster and tomato starter, a classic melody, not very surprising in the medley but technically perfectly executed

At this time Lea Linster made her appearance in the room, spending some minutes for each and every table and taking pictures with the guests. We supposed it was a short” one woman show” to give an appeal to the visit, indeed from that moment on Lea would not leave the stage, taking not the leading role, but participating, with the brigade, to the simplest tasks of the service.

After a quick relaxing break in the breath-taking garden, we moved ahead with grilled fish and crusty peppers crisp. This is the point at which clearly the dinner had its turnaround, moving from just a straight-forward classic performance to a surprising and amazing celebration of tastes.

My main course was lamb, with potatoes crust, while Kochi had duck, with blackberries. Both dishes were perfectly balances, apparently simple, but built on delicate equilibriums, prodigious in their single components and just perfect together. We smiled.

Cheese trolley, followed by the pre-dessert, a crème brule accompanied by some sweet treats. The conclusion was a strawberry meringue dessert – the most delicious pastry ever tried – and I am not a dessert girl, you know it.

We moved on the terrace again for the coffee and digestive and we were joined at this time by Lea again, who took a small surprise for Kochi, her birthday cake.

While everybody was leaving, we stayed another hour with the chef, pleasantly talking, as we have been friends for ages. It was lovely to discover her background and heard some anecdotes of her life. We left past 1 o’clock, when the restaurant was already closed, with a personalized signed book as memory. It was an unforgettable night.

Walk through our dinner in pictures and discover our final feelings.

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What I liked about Lea Linster:

  • The location: although passing by I never had the impression of it to be a fairy tales place, indeed the interiors are minimal and warm and the garden, oh my gosh, the garden, a spectacular view and the most cosy settings – why did I not get married here?
  • The food: while the premises were somehow disappointing – the bread focaccia and the aperitif accompaniments were nothing “wow” – the menu slowly but decisively moved to a triumph of aroma architectures. Classic basis, someone would say, but still incredible and rare.
  • The chef’s touch: this is the real competitive value of Lea Linster. I visited few starred restaurants in my short blogger career and in most you have the pleasure, sometimes, to meet the chef. In some exceptional circumstances, we were invited to visit the kitchen (at Cracco, in Milan). But never ever we have been served all night long by the chef herself, like in this case, refilling the water, taking the empty dishes, checking on us during the night. Not only: Lea is talking amiably with the clients – all of them, without differences – like are old friends. It is not the appearance – you are leaving at the cash counter some good money, so we smile and thank you -. No, here it is completely different. You feel this is the restaurant of Lea Linster, not only in the name, but because she is here, she is interested in you, in your feelings, she wants to know everything out of the kitchen and in the room is fine. It would have been probably just a very good dinner without this touch, indeed it ended up being outstanding.

What I did not like about Lea Linster:

  • Considering the level of the restaurant and the exceptional dinner we had, only one thing was not on the point: the wine service. We ordered the champagne aperitif (an astonishing 26 euro per glass):  the sommelier came with both bottles, served Kochi’s white, then suddenly left, went to refill wine to couple of other tables and after 5 good minutes realized and came back to fill my pink glass. The timing of following wines were equally wrong: the red arrived when our main course was almost at the end. Moreover, especially for white wine, the quality of the wine pairing was  not in line with the one of the dinner. As said, everything else was just perfect.

In conclusion: to be reserved for a special occasion, a romantic rendez-vous, a family gathering or someone you want to spoil, Lea Linster might be a “classic” Michelin starred restaurant, but does not fail to impress, above all for the unforgettable touch of the Chef. We had a remarkable food and personal experience, to be kept in our memories until next visit.

 

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