The dining scene in Munich has a reputation for being somewhat… staid. If Germany was London, Berlin would be Hackney and Munich, Chelsea. But Tantris would still be something else entirely – a bright red pop art national treasure with a tasting menu to write home about.
You enter Tantris through a bright red revolving door that looks like it was designed by Joe Colombo. The façade of the building is pleasing and pavilion-like, in refined concrete, sheet black metal and glass. Outside there are cod Asian garden sculptures which hint less than gently at the gentle fusion going on in Hans Haas’ kitchen.
So few restaurants left in the world make you draw breath when you walk in. Piet Boon’s reworking of an old church into The Jane in Antwerp has that power (largely down to the central lighting installation by Beirut-based PSLAB), and so does Le Grand Véfour in Paris. And Tantris really has it.
It has some of the futurist thinking behind it that made Marc Newson’s restaurants for Oliver Peyton so spectacular in the 1990s. While those are of course long gone, replaced by spaces infinitely more banal, Tantris has been here since 1971, and hasn’t changed one bit. Instead of staring at pictures in books of Verner Panton hotels and restaurants that have bitten the dust, hop on a plane to Munich. It’s waiting for you right now.
Tantris may look like it’s a palatial dim sum palace on a spaceship travelling at lightspeed (with Roger Vadim at the helm), but if you come for the tasting menu you’ll be here for four hours
Property developer Fritz Eichbauer envisaged something “exotic” and “different” for the city, and Zurich architect Justus Dahinden certainly fulfilled the brief. Dahinden, now 90, has devoted much of his career to writing about, and creating, places of worship (including his St Antonius Church in Basel, the first church to be built from concrete in the country) and this influence is clear in Tantris’s vast rectangular stained glass windows and soaring tower.
The dining room is space-age but warm, and incredibly glamorous. Yellow lighting and red walls create a uniquely 70s pop orange ambience, bathing everything and everyone within in a golden glow. Everything is polished to a high sheen, and almost absurdly retro-futurist, but at the same time soft and comfortable. It may date from the 70s, but this is a space that wears its age well: there’s nothing kitsch about Tantris. A vast golden chandelier hanging by the door looks a million Deutschmarks.
We don’t know another oenophile in Munich as knowledgeable and charismatic as Tantris sommelier Justin Leone, who hails from Canada by way of Alinea in Chicago. He turns every evening into an adventure, making offbeat but always excellent pairings with chef Hans Haas’ international, luxurious, inventive cooking. Haas does wonderful things with seafood: mixing raw tuna with curry foam, and doing inspired things with lobster and trout. It’s clever, but never tortured; it’s complex but light.
Oh, and don’t be in a rush. Tantris may look like it’s a palatial dim sum palace on a spaceship travelling at lightspeed (with Roger Vadim at the helm), but if you come for the tasting menu you’ll be here for four hours. Everything about Tantris is luxurious. Savour it. It’s a national treasure. C
Tantris, Johann-Fichte-Str. 7, 80805 Munich, Germany
+49 361 9590; tantris.de