The island of Sylt is justly renowned for its high-flying culinary offerings. Even in restaurants without stars and toques we feasted exceptionally well. Still, we did not want to deprive ourselves of dining in one of the gourmet establishments. We chose Alexandro Pape’s Fährhaus, known for a kitchen that is “worth its salt”.
The realm ruled by this distinguished gourmet chef with two Michelin stars is located in a historical Victorian-style captain’s house. It was after we had met Alexandro Pape by pure chance in his own sea salt works that we betook ourselves with joyful anticipation and some curiosity to the Fährhaus in Munkmarsch where the star chef plies his culinary skills to the max.
Our highly personable waiter Mr. Pötter receives us as if he had been waiting for us the whole day. In an “elegantly Nordic ambiance“ we take our seats and begin by admiring our surroundings. The place is furnished simply, unpretentiously yet the classically elegant table settings with their perfume flagons, exotic receptacles and stemware hint that what’s ahead will not be your average experience…
For an appetizer, we go straight for the exquisite Prunier Caviar (nothing like going out in style!) As Mr. Pötter leads us through the menu, we blissfully sip our drinking vinegar with pinky extended and eyes closed.
We have the choice of two menus of the day with differing regional focus: The first is called „Fährhaus Menu 1999 – 2015“ and is an homage to the star chef’s sixteen year career. The second option offered is a “Sardinian Menu – my roots” in which Alexandro Pape (his father is Sardinian) melds his North German cuisine with Mediterranean ingredients.
Naturally they let us select from both menus to compose our own meal. Distaff sommelier Sindy Kretschmar guides us through the wine selection for each course and decants the chosen wine for us. A sovereign wine accompaniment – kudos!
But before we even launch into our gourmet menu, we are warmly welcomed by the kitchen…
And, instead of describing how delectable one course after the other was, at this point we will let pictures save a thousand words:
So, are we hungry yet? We could not recommend a visit to the Fährhaus more highly! There is also a connected hotel that the people at the next table recommended. Judging from the website, it would have made a pleasant lodging option for us…
Oh, and about those perfume flagons: they were intended to dispense olive oil in nicely controlled doses, but the oil’s consistency got in the way, so that this little experiment is likely to be history by our next visit.
Incidentally, that Pape’s dishes are always salted just so is due not only to his infallible touch but also to his owning a salt works…
The sea salt works
In late 2013, Alexandro Pape realized his dream of opening his own sea salt works. “The project” took this visionary seven years of hard work. It was a long road, but his persistence and dedication paid off.
The Sylt Salt Manufactory extracts salt from seawater and processes it into high quality table salt. North Sea salt has a special consistency, one of its unmistakable quality features. And, of course, it’s his own salt that seasons all of Alexandro Pape’s dishes!
In the trim salt works shop you will find all grades of Sylt sea salt, from fine to coarse in handsome glass jars that naturally also will double as excellent souvenir gifts – there is even a “Fleur de Sylt” ;-)
In charge of the shop is the no less charming Filiz, Pape’s wife. Enthusiastically and proudly she explains how they make sea salt on Sylt and sings the praises of the “salt maker” himself. Only when the the star chef happens to come in the shop do we learn that she is his wife ;-)
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