MUNICH, Germany – Chef Patrick Geay does virtually everything by himself. Le Cezanne is a French restaurant in Munich that’s not like the others.
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After years spent working in large hotel kitchens and restaurants throughout Europe, Chef Geay moved to Munich with his German wife. Since then, they work together in their restaurant, Le Cézanne, in the chic neighborhood of Schwabing. Martina does the service and chef Geay does, well, the rest.
Yes, all the dishes served at Le Cézanne are made by one person. “I have help late in the evening, especially for cleaning up, but that’s it”, he explains. After spending years working in large kitchens with dozens of people, the simplicity of a bistro has a certain appeal.
“I work my sauces, I prepare the meats and I take care of my mise en place during the day. In the evening, I assemble. “It sounds so simple when Chef Geay speaks, but it’s a very tedious process. And after almost 20 years at the same address – Le Cézanne opened in 1998 – it is clear that the routine needed to run this operation, the routine chef Geay imposes on himself, could make some soldiers blush.
Le Cézanne is not like most French restaurant in Munich. For example, Chef Geay offers food in tune with the fresh produce of the market, which is not really the case elsewhere in the city. Classic Bavarian cuisine is based on cabbage and pork, which is fine in itself, but not very creative. Also, the chef serves French cuisine that has a rustic flair, but is in its very refined in its background. French restaurants in Munich will often serve the opposite: polished presentation, no depth.
Obviously the Schwabing district was not what it is today when Le Cézanne opened 20 years ago. The restaurant is located in the middle of one of the finest neighborhoods of the whole country. Several beautiful cocktail bars and other restaurants have since popped up around Le Cézanne, which has not changed since it opened. And the restaurant’s phone is constantly ringing, which is a testament to the quality of its cuisine.
French restaurant in Munich: Le Cézanne – The Meal
I had a chance to have dinner at Le Cézanne. There they began the meal with a glass of Crémant de Loire, Mlle Ladubay 2013. The appetizer is a beautiful little quiche. The top is browned perfectly, the quiche is salty, greasy (in a good sense), and the sparkling wine cuts the fat perfectly. And when I put myself in the shoes of the chef, I understand that this is a dish that is easy to make ahead and warm up the oven just before serving!
As a first course, Martina serves me a dish that hits like a ton of bricks. It’s a soup of potatoes, cheese, truffles and Cerrano ham. To accompany it, Domaine Tariquet Classic, Biscay, 2014 (mix of grapes).
The soup is intense, flavorful, aromatic, sharp, delicious, creamy, peppered to perfection, and ham chips offer a textural element to the rich and silky soup. This is honestly the best dish I ate all week!
Next dish: cod crusted in peanuts, which goes with a glass of Château Haut Rian, Entre-Deux-Mers, 2014. No surprises: the fish is perfectly seasoned and cooking is flawless, the portion is generous, the fish is juicy, balanced, bitter-salty-sweet; the freshness of the ingredients is obvious. And the side dishes shouldn’t be forgotten: a tomato that has been confit; it’s sweet, intense, deep, dark and fragrant.
Martina returns, this time with a Trou normand! I love the idea of the Trou normand, which unfortunately is no longer fashionable. I am happy that it’s still served at Le Cézanne! In this case, I’m served a green apple sorbet. It tastes 100% like manzana verde, the Basque apple spirit. Refreshing!
Who says Trou normand says a meat dish is to come.
Wine: Château Verrière, Bordeaux, 2013. Food: guinea fowl with morels.
The guinea fowl is extremely tender and the aromatic mushrooms are accompanied by potatoes and beans. But what steals the show, which catches the attention is the sauce. This sauce is rich and incredibly tasty. Chef Geay could put it on an old shoe and sell it as a main for 30 euros!
Dessert: Sauternes (Calvet, 2012) and tatin. With a dark chocolate mousse and raspberry sorbet. Because some classics are timeless. A bit like Le Cézanne.
Resturant Cézanne, Konradstrasse 1, 80801, Munich