Fashion Food at “Aqua” – WOLFSBURG, GERMANY

Sven Elverfeld Chef at Aqua WOLFSBURG, GERMANY

While most of his peers look to hide Germany’s rather heavy and unrefined culinary roots, Sven Elverfeld embraces them. The quietly spoken former konditor (pastry chef) is billed as a passionate deconstructivist and re-inventor of ‘plain’ cuisine. As such, one of his restaurant’s key focuses is the dismantling and reassembling of German peasant food. Guests to the Wolfsburg restaurant can expect avant-garde riffs on boiled lamb fillet with Frankfurt green sauce as well as a classic late-night snack of Bavarian cheese with onion, vinegar and dark bread.

All plates show the three-star kitchen’s confidence of technique and ambition: a dish of jellied veal tail with sour cream and caviar is a clever and daring play on temperature and texture, while snails from Odenwald in lamb’s lettuce salad, parsley and mild garlic biscuit show real understanding of textural contrast. Given Elverfeld’s background in the confectionery business, desserts are a genuine highlight here – all highly technical creations that aren’t necessarily what they first seem.

The hotel restaurant’s location within Volkswagen’s Autostadt attraction – a petrolhead’s dream with eight pavilions displaying rare creations from the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini and obviously Volkswagen itself – is corporate in the extreme. Yet Aqua is no soulless, carbon-copy fine-dining joint. The dining space is tasteful and arty with blocks of solid colour, Art Deco furniture and a selection of modern art including some original works by famed US photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

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