Luxembourg / Aal Schoul and Thomas Murer: end of a chapter
In life, things change.
Sometimes it takes a long time, sometimes a blink of eye.
Sometimes the change is for good, sometimes it turns out to be bad.
We visited Aal Schoul at the beginning of February and now, at the end of March, there is a brand new face running the kitchen!
For the last 2 years Thomas Murer – probably one of the most popular chefs of the Grand-Duchy thanks to his third placement to the French edition of Top Chefs – has been the soul of the restaurant, an old school converted into a modern and bright dining room with wooden floors, light yellow walls and industrial headlights. To be very honest with you, there is very little trace of the old school except for some black and white pictures of students on a wall but the renovation resulted in a very pleasant environment.
The offer of the restaurant is probably one of the best in Luxembourg for quality and price, with a 4-courses menu (2 starters, 1 main and 1 dessert) available for 60 euros.
Murer is a talented chef with lot of potential, strongly influenced by his French origins, but sometimes a bit trapped in his natural shyness and, until now, probably by the fact of working in a restaurant with other partners. He is indeed a great executor, a chef who masters cooking techniques and flavors, but who does not (or was not giving the opportunity to) dare as much as he could.
The best dish of the menu is indeed the one with most personality: Fois Gras Opera takes a French evergreen and makes it a modern dish, enriched in flavors and lightened in fat. Fois gras is served as a mousse topped with fois gras and porto foam, the acidity of balsamic coffee and sweetened by gold raisins and fig sauce. Excellent dish, well balanced and not overwhelming.
Other dishes are a proof of the curiosity of the chef but at the same time remark the shy attitude we mentioned above:
The gyozas with pork and shrimps is a great classic of the oriental cuisine, here served with raw scallops cooked by the heat of a dashi broth. It’s a dish that comes out of the blue, a teaser for customers but that would have been better re-interpreted in a European version to fit with the rest of the menu
The dessert is a chocolate sphere with red fruit coulis and a ball of lemon ice-cream and meringue inside. The best part is the use of beetroot, an excellent pairing for chocolate but that is not pushed enough. If he would have thought the dessert around the beetroot it would have been a bingo!
Overall, I think that the Luxembourg culinary scene will benefit from the Murer and Aal Schoul decided to take: on one side, we will still have a great restaurant that will keep offering a modern French cuisine thanks to the lead of the new chef, Louis Scholtès, and the professionalism of its ownership (as opposite to the pure business approach of the entrepreneurs who own a relevant number of disappointing restaurants in Luxembourg city); on the other side, we will have probably a more expensive restaurant but at the same time a young and talented chef with a unique opportunity to unleash his wings and fly high, maybe up to the stars.
Good luck to both!