“A gourmet restaurant in an amusement park – that certainly isn’t something I bargained with,” remarked critic Wolfram Siebeck on a recent visit to Europa-Park, Rust, Germany.
The Black Forest resort’s new Ammolite restaurant opened last summer as part of its 4-Star Superior-rated Hotel Bell Rock and has just picked up a Michelin star, the first to be awarded to an amusement park restaurant.
“Chef Peter Hagen has won the hearts of gourmet diners in a very short time with his great creativity and high level of discipline,” notes Thomas Mack, Europa-Park’s executive board member responsible for its on-site hotel and dining and operations. “Hagen is the byword for a cuisine which manages to be modern, contemporary and international without losing its roots or relationship to the region.”
Housed on the ground floor of Hotel Bell Rock’s integral lighthouse building, Ammolite offers exclusive dining amid elegant surroundings designed by renowned hotel interior specialist Claudio Carbone. The lobby houses a glass cube with an ever-changing display of LED lighting. Soft carpets, heavy fabrics and muted shades combine to ensure that guests can wind down and take their time. Here, says Carbone, “Every seat has to be someone’s favourite.”
At the heart of the 36 cover restaurant is an open kitchen, where diners can watch Peter Hagen and his team at work in an almost theatre-like setting. Prior to his arrival at Europa-Park, Hagen worked in such renowned establishments as the two Michelin star Cheval Blanc restaurant at the Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland; the Schwarzwaldstube at Germany’s Traube Tonbach, where he served alongside leading chef Harald Wohlfahrt; and Villa Joya, the only two Michelin star restaurant in Portugal.
The 36-year-old chef cites his style as being shaped by classical French cuisine with a Mediterranean influence. Four criteria take priority: freshness, quality, lightness and finesse. A fan of Europa-Park’s Baden Württemberg region, Hagen enjoys preparing dishes such as locally-caught char fish with cucumber salad and sour cream or trout from Rust with red beetroot and horseradish. He’s also big on sauces.
If you want burgers, fries and bratwurst, Europa-Park has those too, but for Michelin award-winning cuisine it has to be Ammolite – the Lighthouse Restaurant. Open year round (except for a two-week break in November), reservations are available for dinner between Wednesdays and Sundays, and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Free parking is available directly in front of the restaurant and you do not need to be a park guest to enjoy its high class cuisine. But why not mix pleasure with pleasure?
Below: Peter Hagen