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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Stripclubs & Currywurst

imageIt was the hottest day of the year and we had celebrated my youngest sister’s birthday with some beers in the sun. It was getting late and we felt like supper, like currywurst supper to be exact. We literally walked the extra mile to reach ‘Brunnenwirt’ a tiny corner shop located in the red light area of Stuttgart – Bohnenviertel –  that sells hearty grub on the go and until late.

We used to come here quite frequently when we were living around the corner and therefore ordered our old time favorite, the ‘Currywurst Spezial‘. The currywurst here was an extra large skinless pork sausage that they chopped in bite sized chunks. Then all covered with ketchup (tomato sauce) and mayonnaise and sprinkled with curry powder. But the ‘spezial’ came from the dash of gravy they added from the pot in which the ‘Shashlik Skewers‘ simmer for hours. The sausage was not too strong in taste and traditionally lacked the snap because of the missing casing. The other flavors are hard to separate but the sweetness of the tomato sauce, the creaminess of the mayo, the curry taste and the meaty shashlik gravy fused together very nicely, just what we wanted after a long day in the heat.

It’s quite a dodgy little corner stall with a very mixed clientele but it is also an honest place, no thrills but still clean, tasty, unhealthy junk food with a sometimes quite entertaining combination of characters around. Go check it out.

Brunnenwirt
Leonardsplatz 25
70182 Stuttgart
Germany
Tel: +49 711 245621

Spaetzle = Home

imageIt was my sister’s birthday and my mom had booked a table at ‘Restaurant Roessle’ in Waldenbuch where we met family and some of my sis’s friends. They had changed their menu slightly since I have been here the last time but all the old favorites were still there.

I ordered the ‘Rinderfillet Jaeger Art‘ (beef fillet with mushrooms) and remembered to order it rather rare what my recent visit at the ‘Bootshaus‘ had teached me. The first cut into the lovely charred meat proofed that this was the right decision as it was perfectly rose and juice in the center with a surprisingly strong beefy taste for a lean cut like this. The mushroom sauce was rich and creamy but tasted so delicious I completely wiped it off the plate using the tasty handmade spaetzle (local type of pasta). The spaetzle were soft, fluffy and light and were sprinkled with in butter fried breadcrumbs that coated them with more texture and flavor. Home.

‘Roessle’ had been around for some generations and offers a very nice selection of regional specialities in a more up market atmosphere which also has it’s price tag and makes it a place for rather special occasions. Also the service is more than friendly and the salad bar is awesome, just saying.

http://www.landgasthofroessle.de/

Roessle – Landgasthof Hotel
Auf dem Graben 5
71111 Waldenbuch
Germany
Tel: +49 7157 7380

Oh, I just have a salad!

imageA spontaneous invitation from friends brought me to the beergarden at the old train station in Holzgerlingen today, the town I went to high school in.

They offer the usual beer garden fare and as I wasn’t that hungry my choice fell on something “light” , ‘Schwaebischer Wurstsalat‘ (Swabian sausage salad) which was a slight variation to the sausage salad I had about a week ago in Freiburg. For the Swabian version they used slices of black sausage additional to the lyoner. The two types of cold cut sausage tasted good and were seasoned well but for my taste the blood sausage was too soft as I prefer it with a little bit more bite. The dressing was nice, slightly sour and a bit too oily. There were sour pickled gherkins that added extra flavor and the chopped red- and spring onions gave it all a sharp kick.

The beer garden at ‘Alter Bahnhof’ is self serviced and offers simple but good food to reasonable prices and is a nice hangout for a sunny afternoon and for those who prefer a less casual ambience there is the waited restaurant area only a few meters away.

http://www.gourmetbahnhof.de/

Restaurant und Biergarten Alter Bahnhof
Bahnhofsplatz 1
71088 Holzgerlingen
Germany
Tel: +49 7031 682796

It’s Chanterelle Season

imageAfter a lovely weekend with my family I drove up to Frankfurt for a meeting the next day. There was an Italian restaurant on the other side of the road so to keep my evening hassle free I just made my way over there and sat down outside in this beautiful weather. At the beginning I was one of two tables but before I finished my dinner the place was packed.

They had a special menu with a lot of seasonal dishes under which some came with chanterelles as the main ingredient. As I didn’t have those for a few years now I started off with a ‘Salat mit Pfifferlingen‘ (salad with chanterelles) which came as a big plate full of fresh greens, drizzled with a balsamic reduction and covered with nicely salty parmesan shavings. I loved the warm center of pan fried chanterelles, bacon and onions but there was too much oil on it that made me feel a little greasy towards the end.

imageTo stick to the theme I made the ‘Tagliatelle mit Pfifferlingen‘ (tagliatelle pasta with chanterelles) my main. The dish was light and tasted awesome and my fear it would be as oily as the salad didn’t come true. The handmade pasta had a distinct eggy flavor and was on the spot al dente, covered with a thin creamy layer of oil and juices. The chanterelles tasted great and wonderful mushroomy, not like the stuff I’m used to from the supermarket in Singapore. Some cracked black pepper over all of that and I left smiling into my Sunday evening.

Great food, friendly staff, lovely ristorante in a quiet part of town. Nice.

http://www.ristoranteromanella.de/

Ristorante Pizzeria Romanella
Wolfsgangstrasse 84
60322 Frankfurt am Main
Germany
Tel: +49 69 5961117

Vienna in Heidelberg

imageIt was my last evening in Heidelberg before moving on and a good old friend took her time to have dinner with me before I left. We met at ‘Thanner’ on Bergheimer Strasse which is named after a famous tv commissar and which was only 10 seconds walking distance from my hotel.

I ordered the ‘Wiener Schnitzel‘ (vienna schnitzel), a crispy breaded veal escalope that was super thin and all the fat had been rinsed off before. It tasted great and crunchy and a nice squeeze of lemon gave it an extra twist. The roasted potatoes were chopped chunky and panfried in butter together with some white onions and were a great side to the schnitzel.

‘Thanner’ is a lively casual place which colleagues and I visit quite frequently for drinks when in Heidelberg. I hardly tried their food so far but the schnitzel was so tasty that I might change that during future visits. The waiting team is super friendly too and so I surely come back when I have meetings here.

http://www.thanner.net/

Thanner – Bar, Restaurant, Cafe
Bergheimer Strasse 71
69115 Heidelberg
Germany
Tel: +49 6221 25234

Leave Ramen to the Experts

imageI was now nearly one week in Germany and thought it would be a good idea to try out some Asian fair around here. Together with two colleagues I went to the recently opened ‘Urban Kitchen’ at the location of the old swimming pool in Heidelberg.

I didn’t see anything that was tempting on the menu so I gave their ramen selection a shot. They had some weird toppings on sale but the fact that they were offering miso and shoyu versions here made me curious. I ordered the ‘Shoyu Beef Ramen‘ and it actually looked quite nice with it’s dark broth and big slap of grilled beef on top. Taking my first slurp of the soup brought me back to reality and that Germany is rather a rookie in the art of ramen cooking. Sadly it was pretty tasteless, not salty whatsoever and probably not cooked for very long. The noodles were dreadful boring strings with no flexibility and springiness and tasted awful floury. All other toppings were quite okay, the snow peas were al dente and the steak even though a little out of place tasted pretty nice and beefy.

‘Urban Kitchen’ is a nice and lively place and my soup was okay and maybe a good choice for a light lunch or dinner but it was definitely nothing anywhere close to the mighty ramen. I kinda knew but still hoped for a decent copy of the real thing.

http://www.myurbankitchen.de/index.php

Urban Kitchen
Poststrasse 36/7 (Im Alten Hallenbad)
69121 Heidelberg
Germany
Tel: +49 6221 9986793

Steak at the river.

imageAfter my Germany trip had kicked off with the beautiful wedding of my beautiful sister I had to face reality and go to Heidelberg for a week’s work. On Monday evening then I went together with a colleague to meet some friends that just had moved back to Heidelberg from India. We met for dinner at the ‘Bootshaus’ and were lucky enough to get a seat outside on their little terrace overlooking the banks of the Neckar river.

I had their ‘400gr Rumpsteak‘ which was fantastic. The meat was very lean but still had a very strong beef flavor and was nicely juicy. The charred crust of the steak was super crisp from the broiling and added a nice new texture to the humongous piece of meat. The kicker was their garlic/herbal butter that was extremely creamy and tasted heavenly together with the beef. The side salad was good but drowned in dressing and the roasted potatoes were perfect crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. I loved this steak but I wished I had remembered that a German medium always tends a little more towards well done.

I liked this place a lot as it was particularly nice on this scenic sunny afternoon sitting on their terrace, overlooking the river and enjoying great quality food served up by their very attentive and friendly waiters.

http://www.dasbootshaus.com/

Das Bootshaus
Schurmanstrasse 2
69115 Heidelberg
Germany
Tel: +49 6221 25396

Sweet Spaghetti from Venice

imageI was in Freiburg im Breisgau for the weekend and since it was an extremely hot and sunny day we were looking for something cooling, so my two lovely friends brought me to ‘Eiscafe Venezia’ in the middle of town to enjoy something which I only have seen in Europe.

We ordered ‘Spaghetti Eis‘ (spaghetti ice cream) which I, at least didn’t have since I left Germany five over years ago but probably for much much longer. The “spaghetti” were made of super soft and fluffy vanilla ice cream that obviously melted away. Hidden underneath was a layer of cream which awesomely half way froze so I had delicious little cream bricks as a bonus and this all was covered with a very fruity yet not too sweet strawberry sauce sprinkled with white chocolate shavings as a visual parmesan substitute.

The place itself is nothing too special but for a quick sweet cold fix on a hot day I also didn’t pay to much attention to be honest, ‘Spaghetti Eis‘ on the other hand, just what I needed.

Eiscafe Venezia
Schiffstrasse 7
79098 Freiburg
Germany
Tel: +49 761 33518

A Green Welcome

imageMy first stop in Germany was my place of birth, Frankfurt am Main which has a very traditional and regional influenced cuisine to offer. The part of the city where most of the old ‘Ebbelwoi/Apfelwein Wirtschaften’ (apple cider restaurants) are located is Sachsenhausen on the opposite bank of the Main river facing the business district. One of those is ‘Kanonesteppel’ which we chose for today’s lunch.

I ordered my favorite Hessian dish ‘Fleisch mit Grie Soss‘ (meat with green sauce) which came with four big slices of boiled beef fillet that was wonderfully tender and lean and fell apart when touched with a lightly sour aftertaste. I really liked the boiled potatoes as they are different to the floury potatoes you mostly get in Asia but these were solid and had a great potatoe-y taste. All this was covered under a layer of this heavenly green sauce mixed together from seven different herbs, sour cream, boiled egg and some other herbs and spices. The sauce was cold and gave the dish a lovely refreshing lightness that I nearly felt sad when I had finished it all up. I normally would have washed that down with the local ‘Ebbelwoi/Apfelwein‘ (apple cider) but I had to drive to Freiburg later that day.

Frankfurt is known for it’s fancy bars and clubs but what I almost always do when I’m there is go and visit Sachsenhausen and it’s ebbelwoi restaurants cause I love the local dishes and also recommend them if you want to try some real authentic German (Hessian). I want more.

http://www.kanonesteppel.de/

Kanonesteppel Apfelweinwirtschaft
Textorstrasse 20 Grosse Rittergasse 49-51
60594 Frankfurt am Main
Germany
Tel: +49 69 66566466

Spare the Calories

imageI was running some last minute errands before my Germany trip and came by Ngee Ann City just about when I felt a slight appetite growing in me. I didn’t feel too hungry so I wanted to get a small bowl of cold udon at this shop my friend recommended in the basement just to realize it’s a branch of ‘Tsuru-koshi‘ which I already visit too frequently during my lunch hours. So a bit more hungry now I recognized a small ramen shop in the corner that offered ‘Tantanmen‘ and even that I wasn’t in the mood for something that heavy I still queued up.

They had a tantanmen special with a super spicy version but since I had a twelve hour flight in front of me I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risk and therefore chose the standard one which the very friendly waiter reckoned should be spicy enough. When my bowl arrived it looked rather ordinary and I was not quite sure if I made the right choice. I tried a few slurps from the bright orange broth which was not particularly bad but didn’t have much of a sesame taste and hardly any heat kicked in. I appreciated the huge amount of sprouts and the eggs were nicely waxy. The chashu was alright but had an unpleasant aftertaste, the bamboo shoots looked terribly thick and brown that I didn’t touch them at all and the noodles were overcooked and way too soft.

It was worth a try but I am not really considering coming back here anytime soon. Not alone because of the average taste but also because of the above average price of S$20 per large bowl which is much more than most of my favorite ramen shops are charging.

Baikohken Ramen Restaurant
391A Orchard Road
#B2-01-04 Takashimaya Food Court
Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238873
Tel: +65 6235 3483

A Pumpkin From Heaven

imageIt was a laid back Sunday afternoon watching a movie with friends and after being back home we all felt hungry but were too lazy to make a big effort. I then mentioned that I had some great ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ at the signature Chinese restaurant of the Park Royal Hotels and apparently that was reason enough so we located the closest Park Royal and were on our way.

Wandering around the restaurant looking for the bathroom i spotted a dish on another table that I just had to have. What caught my eye was their signature ‘Pork Belly Pumpkin‘ and since we weren’t super hungry I ordered a smaller version for S$26. When it came to our table it looked absolutely beautiful, a whole pumpkin from the oven, filled up with big glazed and braised pork belly cubes. The pork belly pieces were mega tender and soft and the fat melted between the meaty parts and fused into the magical gravy that had a sweet roasted aroma with a soya infused richness that made this the perfect sin. The pumpkin that was baked until soft soaked up the delicious sauce and made it by far the best pumpkin I have ever had.

Besides this outstanding vegetable and the noodles we also had their ‘Cucumber & Chili‘ as an appetizer which were great, steaming hot, slightly sour and fiercely spicy which i considered fun to eat.

I think I mentioned before that I am not a big fan of these nicer sit down Chinese restaurants but ‘Si Chuan Don Hua’s’ food is just so good. I really have to come back and give their ‘Dim Sum‘ and ‘High Tea‘ a  shot.

http://www.sichuandouhua.com

Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant
Park Royal Hotel
181 Kitchener Road
Singapore 208533
Tel: +65 6428 3170

Closeness ≠ Goodness

imageWhere to go when you don’t have much time? Close! That’s right, and that’s exactly what friend’s and I thought yesterday and made our way to ‘Pigsfly Kitchen & Bar’ at Goldhill Plaza.

Not really feeling like anything else I ordered ‘The Pervert‘ from the ‘Burger Office’, pretty much their bacon cheese burger. I didn’t hold my hopes up too high as I had their burgers before and wasn’t too impressed. I asked for a spicy sauce when ordering but this request got lost somewhere in the process which wasn’t too bad as the standard bbq sauce is quite tasty and sweet. The toppings in general were okay, the veggies were fresh with a bite, the extra grilled onions were nicely soft and the bacon had a good salty taste but definitely could’ve been way crispier. The bun was soft and too sweet but the biggest letdown really was the beef patty. Even though much firmer than the last time, it actually was pretty lame, under seasoned and tasted like nothing much. The peppered fries were alright but nothing to rave about either.

It seemed to have become quite a popular place in the meantime but if I should come back here then only for the Thai stall which has some pretty tasty dishes to offer. Sorry ‘Burger Office’ just not my thing.

http://www.pigsflykitchenbar.com/

Pigsfly Kitchen & Bar (Burger Office)
1 Goldhill Plaza
#01-05
Singapore 308899
Tel: +65 6352 7484

Octopus and Taco Thieves

imageAfter a while I finally came back to ‘Lucha Loco‘ for a friend’s farewell party. For starters I had the ‘Ceviche de Camarones y Pulpo‘ a fantastic refreshing dish full of fresh and sweet prawns and octopus. The texture of the octopus was amazing and just on the spot, firm without being chewy and the lightly sour taste of the lime juice together with the cilantro and herbs made this simply delicious. My favorite non-taco dish here. 

imageFor my taco selection this time I went for one of their specials, the ‘Taco de Barbacoa‘ with lovely tenderly braised lamb meat that was juice and strong in taste. A great taco but I would have wished for some more mint in the salsa as it nearly disappeared between all the the other flavors.

imageBy default I had the delicious ‘Taco de Carnitas‘ but this time I also ordered the ‘Taco de Pescado‘ which I didn’t have for a long time. It usually is a little bigger than in the picture but my colleague stole a piece from this nicely grilled snapper before I could stop her. The smaller size didn’t change anything, it still tasted great. The fish was moist and slightly charred on the outside and the combination of the freshness from the salsa and the spiciness from the chipotle made this work perfectly.

Another dinner much and well spend with great food, strong drinks and an outstanding friendly service. Still my kind of place, thanks a lot.

http://www.luchaloco.com/

Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar          
15 Duxton Hill                  
Singapore 089598                  
Tel: +65 6226 3938

Keep The Good Ramen Coming

imageIn the past we would’ve gone out, drink a little too much and get up to no good but this year we celebrated my birthday ‘old people style’ and appropriate to my coming age with a quiet dinner so everybody could make it back home before midnight. My friend chose ‘Miharu’ at the back of the Gallery Hotel close to Robertson Walk and Mohamed Sultan which he likes a lot. Whilst waiting we had a chat with some Japanese customers in the queue who regarded ‘Miharu’ as one of the more authentic ramen shops in Singapore.

As so very often recently I felt like shoyu ramen and since they had a version in my favorite ramen style I had their ‘Komi Tsukemen‘. I first hesitated as it was advertised to have a lemonish taste but I’m glad I didn’t change my mind. The broth was lovely salty with just a hint of lemon which didn’t taste alien at all but added some comforting freshness. While the chashu and the egg were mostly ok, the bamboo shoots tough were rather weird, pretty thick and brownish in color. They didn’t really taste good as well and so I left them mostly untouched on the side of my plate. My highlight were the noodles which they import directly from a noodle factory in Japan. They were thicker than usual, nicely twisted and super chewy so that despite the huge portion that it already was I still wished for more. Definitely a new contender for the great ramen places in this town.

imageWe also ordered two sides of gyoza. The normal ‘Yaki Gyoza‘ where quite nice but the ‘Shi-So Gyoza‘ were just outstanding. According to the name they used shiso leaf in this which reminded me of thai basil and that gave those gyoza a very unique flavor that I want to taste again.

This place has been here for a while and I regretted not coming by earlier as I left yet again happy and content knowing that I had yet found another gem for my list. Brilliant.

Miharu Sapporo Ramen
#01-11 The Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Road
Singapore 238909
Tel: +65 6733 8464