Baselworld Detour: Restaurant Maximillien, Zellenberg

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The days of Baselworld are hectic. Having attended the show 19 out of the last 20 years, I have grown kinda used to the routine. And when the show ends, its time for a little bit of relaxation. Meals in Basel, especially during the show are exhorbitantly priced. A simple pasta dish, not particularly well cooked could cost CHF 25. A sausage at the booth outside the Messe is a good CHF 9 for a hot dog. But if you are willing to travel a bit, great meals can be had at good value prices. A good friend, Jeff Kingston recommended a restaurant in Zellenberg, about an hour’s drive from Baselworld’s Messe, and being in France would be much less expensive than in Switzerland. 

As a detour from our usual watch coverage, we bring you this quick review of a dinner we had at the Maximillien, in Zellenberg, France. The restaurant boasts of One Michelin Star, and is situated in a very beautiful country road by a vineyard. At this time of the year, the road leading to it had cherry trees in full bloom, like Sakura in Japan! And the setting in the middle of the vineyards are magnificent.


The restaurant is in the magnificent house, situated right next to a vineyard.


We arrived for dinner, starting at 7:30pm. The menu offered three formulae: a €52 two course menu with sea bass as the main course, and a €72 three course menu with lamb as the main course. We elected for the three course.

The first course was a carpacio of langoustine, served with a langoustine cappucino by the side. We were advised to drink the cappucino first.


Cappucino of langoustine. The flavours were powerful of crustacean, with robust cream and a good body.


On the side of the first course, was the langoustine carpaccio.


Carpaccio. The langoustine was superbly fresh, nice flavours, which complemented with the sesame biscuit. We were advised to squeeze the langoustine flavour in the tube (the greenish tube seen about 4 o’clock) after the fist taste. I preferred the straight langoustine carpaccio.


As a second course, we had seared scallops with black truffle


The scallops were superbly fresh, very interesting especially considering that Zellenberg, being in Alsace, is quite a distance from the nearest coast.The creamy foam was a nice contrast to the light crunchiness o the black truffle.


For the main course, roast milk lamb.


The main course was a superb roast of milk lamb. Three cuts of meat were presented. A on-the-bone rib, a tenderloin below, and a more robust flavourful piece, which I suspect is the chuck or rump. The character of each cut was apparent. Magnificent, powerful lamb flavours in the rump/chuck cut were apparent, though this being a milk fed lamb, had none of the gameniss that can sometmes accompany mutton. The tenderloin was superbly tender, and the rib was a good balance with a sweetness of meat that only comes when the bone is attached. The pea sauce was a nice complement, slightly grainy in texture, and a good contrast to the vegetable salad.


And for desserts, a white cheese with sorbet.


The symphony of white cheese, and sorbet of fresh strawberries capped the meal eloquently. Good flavours.


Overall, the meal was excellent. The chef did not try to outdo himself with every more creative dishes, but stuck to good, fresh ingredients, and cooked well. Every dish was great. And considering that the three course meal, inclusive of multiple amuse bouche and a petit four serving at  € 72 was at a good price. Especially considering that the price is now roughly CHF 72, which might get perhaps us some fried baby chicken and creamed spinach (admittedly very good chicken) at Emilio’s in Zurich .

The only small complaint we had was that the service, though polite and efficient (we arrived at 7:30pm and left at 9:30pm…for a French restaurant in France, that is quite an achievement!), it was rather cold. The owner stopped by to chat a bit, but all she was interested when she found out we had come from Baselworld, was why her business had seen a decrease over the same fair period last year. The chef did not make his appearance. The restaurant was not full, and we had expected him to come by as this practice is fairly customary in a Michelin Starred restaurant. And the Sommelier was a bit curt and we felt a tinge of arrogance in dismissing our first choice of wines. Though, as we accepted his recommendation, he certainly knew his wines and food, as they were superb. We each had a flute of champagne as an apéritif, a small bottle of white wine from the region, and a glass of Burgundy red for the mains. We had to limit the wine consumption as we had a long drive after dinner. And inclusive of the wines, water, taxes and tip, the total came up to just below € 130 per pax.



Restaurant Maximillien

19a rte d’Ostheim, 68340 Zellenberg, France



p.s. Chief Editor’s note:This is our first experimental post on a horological lifestyle article. Do let us know if you would like to see more lifestyle, non watch features like this. 



  1. Why would another human be a better critic than another for something as subjective as food (presentation, taste, experience)? Ridiculous.

  2. Stick to watches. You don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to food or restaurants. Imagine a review of a watch in bon appetit magazine. Cringeworthy.