The Tambourine Room: A Mid-Century Hangout, Reborn as an Intimate Fine Dining Den
As Miami becomes a Michelin town, we’re attracting new Michelin-caliber talent. Hailing from Europe, chef Tristan Brandt has officially opened his first restaurant stateside at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, reviving the historic 1950s-era Tambourine Room into an intimate fine dining den offering a modern take on classic French cuisine fused with Asian influence.
At the 18-seat venue, Brandt and his team are bringing guests of the Tambourine Room a tasting menu with two seating options – a three-course menu at 6 p.m. and six-course menu at 8:30 p.m. – that is meant to be a show full of surprises and storytelling as much as a dining experience. And within two months of opening, it’s been recognized by the Michelin Guide.
“Opening a gourmet restaurant in America was a big challenge, but I love developing new things and gaining new experiences,” says Brandt. “Our guests that we have had so far are happy that there is something new in Miami that has not existed here before.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the Tambourine Room and what to expect from the tasting menu experience.
1. Brandt has a starry background.
Chef Tristan Brandt has worked at, and led, multiple Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, and he’s bringing that caliber of dining experience to this, which his first restaurant in the United States.
In 2013, when Brandt was the head chef at OPUS V in Germany, the restaurant was awarded two Michelin stars, at the time making him the youngest chef in the country to lead a two-star kitchen. More recently, his restaurant Epoca by Tristan Brandt in Switzerland was just awarded one Michelin star in October 2022.
Brandt will be traveling back and forth from Europe to the Tambourine Room, but his protégé Timo Steubing is holding down the fort in Miami by heading the kitchen as chef de cuisine. Steubing recently served in the same role at Brandt’s Restaurant 959 in Germany.
2. The restaurant is named after The Carillon’s famed Tambourine Lounge of the 1950s.
The historic hotel was a hangout for the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack in its heyday, and Tambourine Lounge opened in 1958 as a gathering spot for cocktails and conversation. Until recently, the space was being used for private events. Now 65 years later, the intimate den has been transformed into a dining destination for up to 18 guests per seating.
As you step through the doors, you’re welcomed into a luxe, mid-century modern dining room splashed in shades of deep ocean blue, gold and silver – from custom oak tables and dark blue leather chairs to a silver tiled mirror wall and golden ring lighting.
On the menu, Brandt interweaves references to the Tambourine Room into several dishes. The meal begins with a few bites that are nods to notable hors d’oeuvres of the 1950s and ‘60s, including an upscale take on sweet and salty beer nuts with curry-soaked roasted pecans. And keep an eye out for a subtle tambourine-shaped accent atop one of your course plates (we won’t tell you which one).
3. Choose your seating time based on your appetite.
The Tambourine Room offers two seating options each night – one three-course and one six-course – where everyone is served in synchronization, plate by plate and pour by pour. (And don’t be deceived by the number of courses because each experience actually comes with plenty more. As they say, underpromise and overdeliver.)
For a more affordable yet abbreviated taste of the Tambourine Room, the first seating at 6 p.m. will offer a three-course tasting menu for $140 per person and typically wraps in under 2 hours. The second seating at 8:30 p.m. is a more leisurely paced experience featuring a six-course tasting menu for $215 per person.
While guests at the first seating might have activities planned after dinner, the lengthier second seating is truly the evening’s main attraction, the resort’s Managing Director Patrick Fernandes notes.
4. The menu is made for pairing with wine.
On the beverage side, Tambourine Room currently offers only a wine list or the chef’s recommended wine pairing because Brandt believes his plates are best savored with wine for the full experience. Guests can add the recommended wine pairing for $55 during the 6 p.m. seating or upgrade for $135 during the 8:30 p.m. seating.
Brandt, who selects the wine pairings himself, aims to complement the flavors of his plates with wine selections that can also be surprising. “It’s important to support the flavors without overpowering them. From my experience, I know many grape varieties and of course I have the taste of my dishes in my head and can combine them perfectly. Of course, it’s my personal taste, but my guests like to share it with me,” he says.
5. Expect surprises of many sorts.
Brandt likes to surprise and delight his guests, which is why he promises a six-course menu that actually comes with 11 (yes, that’s almost double – and the three-course includes extra dishes too). The first bites brought to your table are not part of the menu, and they’re not even considered the amuse bouche. Call it a pre-amuse bouche, if you will, and it’s served with a welcome glass of top-quality champagne (also not listed on the menu) when you order the wine pairing.
You can also order any of the listed signature enhancement options. One of these – beef tartare hidden under a layer of caviar served with crispy sourdough chips – is a Brandt signature dish making its first appearance stateside at the Tambourine Room.
Simple menu descriptions help keep the experience a bit of a mystery. Each course is listed with only three main ingredients, allowing the dishes to reveal themselves as they’re served. For example, Scallop | Cauliflower | Curry is a plate of thinly sliced scallops marinated in brown butter and curry spices, surrounded by a cauliflower puree with lobster, tarragon, and saffron sauce, alongside small bites of roasted cauliflower.
Lyssa Goldberg is a Miami-based freelance writer and content strategist. She loves telling stories about food, wellness and travel, and you can find her byline in Parade, American Way, Mashable, Miami New Times, Time Out and more. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Resy, too.