It’s not a secret that we love to explore other cities and countries. Perhaps due to the daily struggle we sometimes forget about the great things and people of our hometown Cologne. We are actually annoyed about it. So, this new episode of „Sneakerzimmer meets“ delivers on a simple promise: Get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors. Technically speaking Daniel Gottschlich is not our neighbor, but he’s also from Cologne, born in Troisdorf, and one of Germany’s most ambitious and aspiring chefs. We’d like to introduce you Daniel’s highly innovative take on modern cuisine, his stylish fine dining restaurant „Ox & Klee“ and his imperturbable love for sneakers.
We met Daniel – no surprise – at his restaurant in Cologne’s Rheinauhafen, which has become a symbol of modern urbanism thanks to its luxurious crane houses and sophisticated architecture. If you want to live in this part of Cologne with a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline and literally next to the Rhine, we recommend you have deep pockets. In all other cases you can still opt for a walk along the Rhine (comes free of charge) or have an outstanding dinner experience at „Ox & Klee“. We would bet any money that you won’t forget the evening at this two Michelin stars rated restaurant. According to the world’s most famous restaurant guide, two stars are the proof of an „excellent cuisine that is worth a detour“. Hence in case you didn’t consider Cologne for your travel plans as yet, you might now reconsider (and if you write us a message, we will send you some more recommendations).
Daniel is a really cool guy with a very interesting vita. After working as a sous-chef in a traditional Cologne Brauhaus he and his girlfriend opened the first „Ox & Klee“ restaurant in the bustling Neustadt-Süd neighborhood. That was in 2010 and by that time something like casual fine-dining didn’t broadly exist – at least in Cologne. Most of the gourmet spots felt rather pretentious and stiff in those days, not very appealing to us or a younger clientele in general. Daniel probably came to realize something similar as he and his team were beyond that old fashioned dining concept. After leaving the old location with the first Michelin star in 2016 they were poised for the next big step. And here we are: In an incredibly stylish, way bigger and likeable open space with an unique view of Cologne’s Marina and skyline.
Despite a huge transformation with regard to location, style and ambience the completely new „Ox & Klee“ of course didn’t start from scratch. Together with his well-rehearsed crew Daniel, who is also a musician with heart and soul, continued on a very solid foundation. His impeccable reputation as a chef is the result of hard work, willingness to take risks and to think outside the box. In the meantime „Ox & Klee“ has been awarded with a second Michelin star (now for 2 years in a row). The Michelin buzz put the restaurant on a bigger culinary map and clearly raised the bar. However, many chefs admit that the pressure can be paralyzing sometimes. With every new menu you also have to create a new one-of-a-kind experience to keep up with expectations. It seems to us that up to now Daniel has found the right balance. He finds inspiration from music, culture and the world around him. He loves to travel like we do and to explore other cuisines.
The dinner at „Ox & Klee“ follows a journey alongside different flavors from sour, bitter, salt and sweet to umami and fat (yes fat). Called „Experience Taste“ Daniel’s menu is an elaborate example of modern cuisine, thought-out, highly creative and a culinary eye opener. As a guest you are educated in seasonal ingredients, all kinds of preparation and truly unusual flavors. It’s such a fun thing, especially when there are no pretentious people around you. The different flavors of „Experience Taste“ are omnipresent. It starts with the amuse-bouche and ends with the Petit Four from Ox & Klee’s stellar patisserie. As a guest you only have to choose the number of courses. The current menu features pulpo, sablefish with goat cream, pig snout with asparagus and ox cheek in a creamy bourbon sauce. And did we mention their delicious house baked bread? It’s so addictive! The drinks from the „Bayleaf“ bar downstairs are nothing sort of first-class. We opted for their classic Negroni, celebrating 100 years of cocktail history. We also recommend the cocktail-pairing menu at „Bayleaf“.
When it comes to kicks, Daniel is a very loyal guy. His big love are Vans, Vans and Vans again. He can’t imagine himself wearing a different brand. If someone from Vans should happen to read this post, they should immediately talk to Daniel and sign him on as a brand ambassador. Instead of looking for fake influencers, the brands must finally support passionate and creative people again. We are also tired of all that flexing on social media. Daniel rocks his Vans in the restaurant, on stage and wherever he goes. This is cool, because it’s real! But as you can see his crew also likes Nike. We were surprised to find a Flyknit Trainer in the kitchen. But what’s the big deal? They simply wear what they like. It’s as easy as that! You should do the same. Don’t buy overpriced kicks to impress people you don’t know. Come to „Ox & Klee“ for a lasting experience. Collect memories not things! The good things are here.