by Grandgourmand Editor Steffen GuthmannRestaurant 181 is located in Munich’s Olympic Tower at a height of 181 meters and revolves around itself once in 53 minutes.
The location itself is a highlight in the truest sense of the word!
On 21.11.2023, it will serve as a special backdrop for a special event:
The campaign presentation of the Jamón Ibérico producers’ association, combined with a tasting menu by Jamón Ibérico brand ambassador Christian Sturm Willms, chef of the restaurant Yunico-Japanese Fine Dining restaurant in Bonn, which has been consistently awarded one star by the Michelin Guide under his management since 2016.
So this evening in the revolving restaurant, everything revolves around the world-famous Jamón Ibérico, which would be inadequately translated as “Iberian ham”.
Rather, it represents in an almost sacred way the passion that Spanish producers invest in their product, and which is rewarded by every Spaniard with just as much passion.
Jamón Ibérico is more than just a ham, it is a social glue that unites the people of Spain in enjoyment. Be it with a “caña”, a small afternoon beer, as an aperitif before dinner or as a snack that can be enjoyed at any time of day.
The quality and origin of a Jamón Ibérico is probably just as popular in Spain as the performances of football stars, so it is only logical that the rest of the world should also experience what makes this product so magical.
First and foremost, of course, it is the animal itself. It has more space, more comfort, it should feel good. Strict animal welfare standards, transparency, traceability – all this leads to the coveted seals of approval, which are based on a quality standard issued in a royal decree. Describing them in all their details would go too far, so let’s concentrate on the result of this meticulous preparatory work – the taste. Nutty, salty, sweetish, delicate. The meat is delicately marbled, the light yellow layer of fat caramelized.
The fat layer…
The fat layer is the crowning glory, the “must be” of the Jamón Ibérico, without it it would be naked. And perhaps this is precisely where one of the central messages of the campaign lies. This fat is good, this fat is healthy. We don’t need to be afraid of it. No Spaniard would ever think of giving up the fat layer, but perhaps it will take some convincing to convert us Germans too.
Personally, I didn’t need to be converted and so, after a few hand-cut, wafer-thin slices of perfectly matured Jamón Ibérico, I was not only happy but also full of anticipation for Christian Sturm Willm’s menu.
As a great expert in Japanese-European fusion cuisine, the Jamón Ibérico naturally offers him wonderful scope in the umami flavor universe. Nutty, salty, slightly sweet.
Predictable in the best sense of the word. A fresh, crunchy sushi roll, vegetarian on the inside, wrapped in a thin slice of Jamón Ibérico seaweed leaf. Simple, classic and yet surprising. Perhaps because we always think of the sea when we think of sushi, the Jamón Ibérico almost has a hint of tuna, certainly supported by the trout caviar.
In the second dish, Christian Sturm Willms focuses on another classic of Japanese streefood: takoyaki. Octopus balls, but here in a refined Jamón Ibérico variation. Firm and fluffy at the same time. Warm, wintery, soul food.
The concept of the fish-meat contrast is also continued in the main course, this time in an extraordinarily elegant form: hake in a creamy foam of Jamón Ibérico fat transformed into butter.
The fat… there it was again and no one had any reason to be afraid of it, everyone wanted more. Including me. And so I asked for an extra cup of this foam in order to immerse myself once again in Christian Sturm Willm’s creativity and at the same time enjoy one of the main characteristics of Jamón Ibérico in its purest form, so to speak: Its ever-surprising diversity.
Gold in the hands of a chef who is interested in getting to the bottom of flavors.