I've got a horrible suspicion that I ate veal last week.
The light (and the photo) was poor but since this spectre of doubt has crept over me, I have done some research and come to the conclusion that, yes it probably was veal and no it probably wasn't the good kind. Now I have to live with myself. My only saving grace is that, according to Wikipedia, the really, really bad kind has been banned since 2007, so I feel that rather than hiding away in shame and contrition maybe, just maybe, I can talk about it here.
Ooh, it was bloody delicious... all juicy and lovely. So soft and tender, it was like eating a pork chop but all beefy instead. Mmm, the plate was seasoned well with a great crust and the salad was nicely mixed if a little astringently dressed. My dining companions all ordered side dishes but I refrained knowing that additional carbs would only serve to push me off the wrong side of the culinary knife edge that is awake vs. asleep. Veal as it used to be is clearly a 'very bad thing', and it's higher welfare diversification have gone some way to dispelling that. But from where I was sitting, that was one goddamn great steak.
But we've got ahead of ourselves. First there was this:
A tomato-y type amuse bouche that my German colleagues scoffed at but I, being the obviously more travelled edible explorer tucked in. it wasn't great. Couscous isn't much at the best of times and I would hesitate before giving it away as a mark of your quality of cooking, even if it was for free. Bland and tomato sweet both at the same time, the best thing about it was that it was gone quickly.
Then the starters, these were quite interesting. Big cakes of raw meat (very German) with a quails egg, were placed next to weird wasabi mousse cheese cakes (as far away from German as I could imagine) with a quenelle of quince or fig paste (not sure on the translation and also not sure on the German heritage). These were not bad actually, and I enjoyed them - less so the wasabi cheese cake which had as much wasabi in it as my shoe.
But finally, the talking point of the whole evening was, according to my Continental brethren, a joke so funny that it went on for hours. Literally hours. Seriously. All night.