Hamburg, Germany: A Tasting Tour with Thomas Imbusch
Hamburg: a city of freight, industry and sea air. Alive with the breeze and bounty of the North Sea and centuries-blessed – thanks to its extensive trade links – with access to some of the world’s most exclusive and sought-after larder supplies.
For trailblazing German chef, Thomas Imbusch, this heady mix of maritime industrialism and mercantile flair provided the perfect alchemy in which to open his long-awaited restaurant. Having worked in some of the world’s best kitchens and trained with Germany’s best chefs, he could readily have set up shop anywhere he wanted, “but when I started to think about where I wanted to have my own restaurant, I just knew it had to be Hamburg” he says. “I love this place”. Thomas’ hotly anticipated 100/200 Kitchen (opening on August 14th 2018) is set against an urban backdrop of the city’s Elbbrϋcke offering breathtaking views of a city poised, to have its culinary credentials reignited on the world stage.
Thomas takes us on a tasting tour of Hamburg’s thriving restaurant scene, a place with the world in its backyard, literally. Here’s his insider guide to where to eat in Hamburg.
"Everything about Oldtimer Tankstelle Brandshof is brilliant. You step through the door and back in time as nothing about the decor has been changed or altered since the 1950s. Start your day here from 4:00 am onwards with a typical German breakfast of Mettbrötchen (minced raw pork on bread) and a pot of strong coffee.”
"For a classic Hamburg start to the day you need to eat Franzbrötchen. Mutterland bakes everything themselves in-store and serves this classic cinnamon-butter laden pastry in big trays for groups of 6-8 people to enjoy.
"The story of two guys who quit their jobs and travelled through South America before returning to gift Hamburg with all their extensive learnings in a street-food venture turned fixed-location eatery. Salt and Silver is only open for six months of each year as chefs, Cozy & Jo, continue their travels and hone their recipes for the other half of the year.
"Hummer Pedersen is the oldest and highest quality fish dealer in Hamburg - THE supplier to the city’s best restaurants. It’s a very cool place with a small counter where you can order very good products to eat-in including Hamburg’s famous Fischbrötchen (fish sandwich). It’s very good value for money and located in the heart of the city’s fish market.”
"Isemarkt is the best market for local sellers/produce."
"Fischmarkt is a piece of true, traditional Hamburg. Take your time to explore this expansive, exhilarating fish market."
Casual Fine Dining
“Hamburg has a great young chef community who don’t shout about what they do. Haco’s head chef, Björn Juhnke, is a perfect example. He’s built a very intimate Nordic-inspired modern restaurant which cooks pure and perfectly using local ingredients. It’s a special place, with a real neighbourhood feel in a thriving part of the city.”
"Where do chefs eat in Hamburg? Heldenplatz. Open until 2am, this is casual fine-dining at its very best and a brilliant dinner spot after a visit to the city’s iconic Elbphilharmonie concert hall, located less than 1000m away. At Heldenplatz you’ll be welcomed by easygoing but professional hosts eager who put all their energy into providing guests with the very best. Even better, they’ve built a wine list that makes every bottle available by the glass.
"Jacob’s Restaurant is classic French restaurant located in a party of the city that’s still flush with the mercantile wealth of the past, a true slice of traditional Hamburg. Here you can talk to the waiter/esses like a friend whilst in the kitchen (one of the best in town) sends you perfectly executed classic French dishes. Simplicity at its best. Recently they’ve adjusted their menu a little so that you can eat á la carte and launched a pop-up venue as well.”
"Molecular gastronomy may not be for everyone, but Kevin Fehling’s fearless 3 Michelin Star, The Table, is a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience not just the best of Hamburg’s gastronomy, but that of Germany as a whole. Classic German fine dining was shaken up when The Table opened in August 2015. As evidenced by the fact the restaurant achieved all three of its mighty Michelin stars within the first three months of opening.