First Look: Tambourine Room by Tristan Brandt

Does Papi Steak have a Michelin Star?” asked a friend recently while we were at dinner. If that doesn’t encapsulate half of Miami’s overall knowledge of fine dining, I don’t know what does. No, Papi Steak does not have a Michelin Star, my dearest friend. For those lucky not to know what I am referring to, kindly look up “Papi Steak Beef Case” and draw your own conclusion. Do know that, typically, the Miami pomp, circumstance, and chaos of clubstaurants do not necessarily qualify as part of the Michelin quest for excellence. At this time, the newly-opened Tambourine Room is not part of the Michelin Guide Florida either. However, one look into the criteria set forth by the guide and based on my epic first dinner, it practically screams they will be. If not for the upcoming publication, then for a future one. Tambourine Room checks all the boxes. What I find most impressive, enough for me to write about them after only one visit, is how it successfully delivered such a glowing experience with barely two months under its belt, and a team of only three in the kitchen.

“We take into account five universal criteria: the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of flavours, the mastery of techniques, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine and, just as importantly, consistency both across the entire menu and over time.” Michelin Guide

Time: Time to evolve. Time to settle in. Time to survive fickle Miamians. Time to comfortably be despite the noise.

When asked to describe the team leading the South Florida kitchen, chef Brandt explained, “When you implement such a fine dining concept as we have at the Tambourine Room, a reliable team that is very passionate about what it does is the most important factor for success! I am very happy that we were able to build up an international team within a very short time, which harmonizes with its cooperation. Our team consists of, among others, head chef Timo Steubing and the multiple award-winning pâtissier Logan Seibert. I have already worked with both of them for years. They can, therefore, perfectly convey my style and guide our team in such a way that it is in line with my vision. We have a working relationship with our team that is built on trust. They know that if there are any problems at all, they can always come to us, and we will solve them together.

Inside Miami Beach’s historic Carillon Hotel, Tambourine Room hides behind large nondescript double doors. Upon arrival, guests are greeted and asked to remain by the lounge and bar area immediately outside the entrance until escorted in by a host. A couple of display cases nearby proudly showcase memorabilia of a glamorous yesteryear: menus, matches, swizzle sticks, ads, stationery, and even hotel receipts. The restaurant name honors the Carillon’s past, where a speakeasy bar is said to have once occupied the same space in the late 50s. I have to admit, the Tambourine team embracing the hotel’s history scored brownie points right away from me. And that was only the beginning.

A hostess welcomed our party of two, at our exact reservation time, into the dining room and to our table. Before the service song and dance began, I took a second to survey the beautiful interiors. The narrow room, holding just six two-tops and a larger table for six, felt grand. A glass-bricked wall gave off the illusion of additional space and tied in with the many touches of muted gold, navy leather chairs, and sleek wood floors. Above, several overlapping circular light fixtures anchored the space and offered the first of many nods throughout the night to the geometrics of a tambourine.

Showtime began immediately. My napkin and silverware placement was always presented and replaced the same way: at an angle. Odd, but it actually made sense. Using this method, right-handed diners picked up their utensils as they would ultimately be used without doing the “pick up and turn left move.” Not that I have ever felt inconvenienced using them the traditional way, but I digress. Chef Brandt says he “always loves to set the tables in a new and different way than usual.

Music by Doris Troy, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Diana Ross, and The Drifters played along our tasting menu. Don’t know who some of those bands are? Good. I am happy to say the DJ, and oontz thump beats part of dinner stayed way down in South Beach, for once.

I can’t recall a time when I felt inspired so quickly to gush about a dinner. The tasting menu progression flowed in harmony all night. It’s not that I was expecting hiccups, or looking for faults. It had more to do with the warm hospitality and genuine care for the smallest detail, like making the water drop from an overly condensed glass or breadcrumb disappear before I even noticed. More importantly, It had everything to do with every composed plate being a stunner, not just on looks. The often rich and savory flavors hit all the right notes, and the unexpected layers and depth in each kept me interested.

After finalizing our beverage preference, and right on cue, a small wooden dish appeared with our snacks. Once again, an ode to the golden days of the 50s and 60s. First up, a mini TOAST HAWAII (toasted brioche filled with creme of cooked ham, roasted pineapple, creamy cheddar, and maraschino cherry). Next to it sat a LOBSTER ROLL (profiterole with saffron, lobster tartare with green apple, celery, curry mayonnaise, avocado-creme, and a grapefruit gel). Then, with a gentle hand twist, the dish opened to reveal a lower compartment holding sweet and spicy, crispy pecans.

An amuse-bouche followed the snacks. The light dish, composed of a delicate soft-boiled egg, celery, chive oil, and black garlic, was enveloped in a parmesan cloud-like foam with crisp croutons soaking it all in. This set the tone for the rest of the evening. Five surprisingly well-sized courses continued: TUNA (japaleño and miso), TOMATO (herbs and olive oil), SCALLOP (cauliflower and curry), COD (sweet potato and ginger), and WAGYU BEEF (truffle and leek). I find it tough to choose a favorite. Each one was somewhat intricate without compromising its main ingredient. Together, they eventually reached a perfect crescendo.

Feeling gluttonous and adventurous, we took a chance on both available Signature Enhancements: the BEEF TARTARE and HOMEMADE PASTA. This is where I can choose a clear favorite. The Petrossian Caviar-topped tartare, and the sourdough crisps stole the show. We shared it as a party of two, but trust it’s enough to share for a larger party of four.

To transition into the dessert courses, a SPARKLING PIÑA COLADA SORBET(another Miami Beach touch) appeared. I soon realized what they meant by “sparkling” when I felt (and heard) a light fizzing in my mouth and thought perhaps I’d drank a little too much wine and was starting to imagine things. “Do you hear that?” I asked my husband. A tiny bit of a Pop Rocks-like ingredient was mixed into our dessert. Not too much, but enough to reinvigorate our senses before leading into a fun finale. The main dessert, a decadent BANANA CHOCOLATE dream with cashew accents, equally delighted our palates. As we prepared to request the check, a tray of mignardises made its way tableside. No doubt, I wanted at least one of each, please! Yes, the coffee pod-looking one was, in fact, coffee-flavored (see photo below). A dish of sugary marshmallows sat on the table too, and thankfully had nothing to do with the ones featured at the end of The Menu film. Gulp. By then, dinner truly ended.

Chef Tristan Brandt, the former executive chef at two Michelin-starred Restaurant Opus V, and current chef de cuisine at one Michelin-starred epoca by Tristan Brandt (Switzerland), is responsible for bringing this “modern French with Asian influences” concept to South Florida. What inspired and made him decide to tackle Miami next? Brandt gave some insight into his passion for constantly looking for “…exceptional, global projects. For example, at the end of 2020, I took over the patronage of the restaurant “epoca by Tristan Brandt” in the 5 Star Superior Hotel Waldhaus Flims Wellness Resort and appointed the young talent Niklas Oberhofer, who was awarded a Michelin star in 2022 and is therefore currently the youngest star chef from Switzerland. My idea is to establish patronages for
restaurants worldwide, to implement talented chefs there, and to challenge and support them.
And so it came about that the chef from the Carillon Hotel visited us at epoca by Tristan
Brandt. We got talking, and he told me about his idea to develop a new concept for fine dining
in his hotel. Afterward, he invited me to Miami to visit the premises on site – the rest is
history …

Two seatings are available. The first seating is at 6 p.m., featuring a three-course tasting menu for $140 per person with the option of a wine pairing for $55. The second seating is at 8:30 p.m. featuring a six-course tasting menu for $215 per person and a wine pairing option for $135. A $75 corkage fee is available for those wishing to bring in wine.

Tambourine Room offers a luxurious fine dining journey similar to those I’ve experienced at two Michelin-starred kitchens. While the vibe is relaxed and friendly, the food and service are taken very seriously. The entire team is hyperfocused on the overall guest experience and strives to perform at their best. If you prefer your steak delivered in a suitcase surrounded by sparklers and Bad Bunny tunes about VIP status, this is not the place for you. Dine at Tambourine if you are a food enthusiast who loves, appreciates, and respects the art of cooking, with or without the need for selfies. That last part is up to you. The experience will speak for itself.

What I enjoy most about Miami is the culinary and cultural diversity and the international flair.” Says Brandt. “It is really something special to be able to surprise and delight our guests with our cuisine here together with our great team.” As with all new openings, the real test for this ambitious endeavor begins now. I am hopeful this fresh arrival can strike the right chords and weather that 305 storm. No one said it would be easy, but they seem to have the perfect ingredients to make it happen.

Cheers to that! Welcome to Miami.


6801 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach, FL 33141



Oh, hey! Meet Miami’s newest WOW fine dining experience. Michelin pedigreed Chef Tristan Brandt’s ⭐️ Tambourine Room ⭐️ came to play. One to watch. #miamibeach #tambourineroom #carillonhotel #miamifinedining #miamirestaurants #michelinguideFL #finedininglovers

♬ Tambourine – Edited Version – Eve

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