Traditional meets contemporary.
Opposites attract. Contrasts sharpen the senses. In November, the Nikkei Nine restaurant opened its doors in the Vier Jahreszeiten (lit.: Four Seasons), Hamburg’s 5-star Fairmont hotel. Located on the banks of the Alster, the hotel bathes in light, bringing a fresh, exotic and international flair to the city. We pay the metropolis on the Elbe a long overdue visit – and not just in any old cars.
We can do contrasts, too. Together with photographers Stefan Bischoff and Andre Josselin, model Hanna Fischer joined up two other models: a 37-year old Steyr-Daimler-Puch 230 G and a brand-new Mercedes-AMG G 63 for a ride across the bridges over the Elbe, drawing contours with the two red off-road vehicles that couldn’t be any more defined. Old and new, strikingly complementary – just like the new restaurant in the old hotel.
No chips today.
Sankt Pauli. The cold December wind blows from the Reeperbahn across the Heiligengeistfeld giving the closed snack bar a lonely and grey appearance. In the evening, a cuisine awaits us derived from the dishes made by Japanese immigrants in South America. So we don’t want to spoil our appetites with chips anyway.
A clear bid for individuality.
Every single corner in Hamburg, every tributary of the Elbe and every building radiates that old, Hanseatic flair. In recent years, city planners have proved themselves experts in enhancing the raw charm of the port with bright accents. Between the HafenCity and the Dancing Towers on the Reeperbahn, the city has always remained true to itself, but has still managed to go with the times. The same can be said of the two G-Class models with which we are here. The early 230 G from 1980, then sold as the “Puch G” in Austria, Switzerland and the other bordering COMECO countries, appears almost innocent. The G 63 from 2016 has the same form and a similar colour, but is a completely new interpretation of the off-roader. Traditional and contemporary. Class.
When the robust, angular off-road vehicle was first presented in 1979, off-roading became socially acceptable. All-wheel drive was no longer just something for the local communes and forest wardens, but also of interest to well-off private customers. The G-Class was different; it was an individual vehicle for modern individualists. 38 years later it is still being produced in Graz with a high degree of manual work involved, but has been technically further developed and leaves nothing to be desired with regard to comfort. Today, a G-Class symbolises an active lifestyle. Most owners no longer hound their Mercedes-Benz across off-road terrain, but they could if they wanted to. With no restrictions.
Welcome to the Nikkei Nine.
The furnishings of the Nikkei Nine also impressively reflect how tradition flows into modernity in the culinary field. Here, you won’t find the somewhat dark, gold-decorated gaudiness that we associate with many Asian restaurants. Everything is brightly lit, the seating for around 100 guests is well spread out and a tempting scent hangs in the air.
A breath of fresh air within dignified walls.
How many different and surprising tastes can we experience in one evening? In a small adjoining room, Osaka-born Yuki Hamasaki makes the finest sushi variations which he expertly seasons with home-made wasabi.
Fish imported from Japan and locally-produced, hand-picked ingredients pamper the palate. The journey through the far-eastern delicacies is accompanied by fine wines or lass of sake. But only for those of us who have no more driving to do today.
Pearls of the night.
Hanna doesn’t want to return yet. She wants to muse over the impressions of the afternoon and evening and drives the Puch G down to the Elbe, to a lonely spot opposite the port facilities. A quiet rumbling and squeaking drifts across from the cranes; the heavy industry on the other side never rests. However, the big city is slowly falling asleep. An evening full of contrasts lies behind us. Culinary variations in a modern restaurant, surrounded by the traditional walls of the Vier Jahreszeiten hotel. Added to that, two red-painted works of automotive art, with 36 years of development separating them. What an experience. Hanna closes her eyes, looking forward to whatever comes next.