Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blackberry, security, spying, Snowden and Bharat Sarkar

Here is a post on something other than food.

The provocation for this post was a newspaper report that the Chinese technology company Lenovo was planning to buy Blackberry and that President Obama has a Blackberry and that the US Government officials have some 500,000 official Blackberry devices. Have a look at this article. Keep this in mind when reading the rest of this post.

Research in Motion [RIM], a Canadian company, developed a proprietary mobile handset and bundled this with extremely secure software. This system enabled emails and the proprietary messaging system BBM to be exchanged between subscribers. Initially, this was primarily targeted at enterprises [companies] who as subscribers could give their employees Blackberry mobile phones and thereby the all emails and BBM messages would be impossible to hack into. Companies world over took on the Blackberry system. So, for instance, all employees at Citibank [obviously those who met internal criteria] got a Blackberry phone. They could exchange emails and BBM messages with their colleagues knowing that no outsider could get access to this. You now understand why US Government officials have the 500,000 Blackberry devices. As a closed group they were assured total security.

The robust security offered by RIM also extended to BBM messages that began to be widely used even by non-enterprise Blackberry subscribers. Therefore if you, me, Bebo, Lolo, Duggu, Chimpu, Chintu, Dhaboo, Chichi and Piggy Chops sent BBM’s to each other, our Bharat Sarkar could not intercept them i.e. the BBM’s. Naturally Bharat Sarkar was upset as not only all of us but BBM’s exchanged by `aatank vaadis’ and `deshdrohis’ could not be intercepted by Bharat Sarkar.

On realisation of this stunning fact, Bharat Sarkar caught RIM by the short and curlies and told RIM that RIM should provide Bharat Sarkar with the necessary software to enable Bharat Sarkar to intercept these BBM’s. I believe RIM has complied. RIM faced similar demands from other Sarkars, and, I believe has complied.

So, dear readers, the point I am making is that whoever controls RIM also has access to secret data. Obviously, there must be some safeguards by which the US Government is confident that the Canadian Government will not snoop on the US Government data. But, I am sure you get my point. 

Another point, rather interesting, is, why should our own Bharat Sarkar not make a bid to buy RIM? We have the money after all; it would be a mere drop considering the buckets being poured down beautiful schemes like AADHAR and the Food Security shenanigans. We could spy on the whole world and all the filthy capitalist corporates and `aatank vaadis’ and `deshdrohis’ without breaking a sweat. Nandan Nilekani would be the right man with the correct credentials to become CEO with, of course, additional charge of the AADHAR.

Now let us slightly turn our angle of attack, while remaining on the same general topic.  

You must have read about Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning [who ironically has now changed sex and name to Chelsea Elisabeth Manning]. Basically, collectively, they have demonstrated how the US and British Governments effectively spied on all and sundry. It has been revealed that Google, Skype, You Tube, Apple and Yahoo had provided a direct linkage or pipe to the US Government so that the US Government could access live information, photos, video chats and data from social networks directly through the companies’ servers. Edward Snowden has also made public a 41 slide PowerPoint presentation that was used to train the snoopers.  You can see the four key slides here.

Apparently not only did the spying cover the Internet, but, the British Government also tapped the phones of the delegates at a G20 conference. I can only summarise that consequent to this tapping, all conversations between delegates and their colleagues back home would have been known to the British team thereby giving the British Team a significant upper hand in the negotiations.
I express no opinion on this `controversy' but, only state facts. Also, you would be extremely naive to not realise that everything on the Internet is capable of being snooped into. So, if the US and UK government did so, you could be outraged, but not surprised. I am sure Bharat Sarkar spies on us too.

Now, a few months ago I was having some difficulty getting my AADHAR number. I had done the entire fingerprinting etc. but, my number was simply not being generated. I then decided, after several pointless phone calls to the help lines, to contact some `higher ups’. I looked at the contacts on the UIDAI website and I was shocked to find that several seemingly powerful UIDAI officers had Gmail, Hotmail and Rediffmail ids. Just today, while writing this I looked again. And this is Gods truth; this is what I found as listed in the Chariman's and separately in the Director Generals office:

Mr Anand Jain PS to Chairman phone number 011- 23752669 and email anand.aadhar@gmail.com

Mr Navin Kumar PS to DG [presumably Personal Secretary to the Director General] phone number 011-23752675 and email nvinindguidai@gmail.com

Mr. Ram Roshan PSO [no idea what that is] phone number 011-23466804 and email ramroshan59@gmail.com

If you live in Mumbai, you could communicate with Mr A L Mishra, Senior Accounts Officer on alm1961@rediffmail.com.  

Look at the `Contact us' section. You will see, across the board, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail ids are being used. Does anyone have any concept of security? Does anyone have any fucking clue as to what they are doing? Mind you, this is Bharat Sarkars premiere endeavour. A blank canvas was given to them, thousands of crores of Rupees were at their disposal, the great Nandan Nilekani, co-founder at Infosys was the man in charge, and, no one could be arsed to set up a secure email system. Nandan Nilekani has the rank of a Cabinet Minister. His PS Anand Jain has the delightful email id anand.aadhar@gmail.comBoggles the mind, does it not? 

Would you be surprised if any of this information is being piped directly to the US or UK? I can well imagine Mr Navin Kumar PS to DG sending emails say asking for tenders and quotations for computer hardware required for the project costing hundreds of crores, all going directly to the US. Then, this info being passed to IBM. Microsoft and HP to give an effective quotation?  How about similar emails being sent by the technical IT and Procurement Division of UIDAI. Why, Mr Vivek Nangia Assistant Director General in the IT and Procurement Division of UIDAI communicates on viv_nangia@yahoo.com!! Brilliant!! And this gentleman works in the IT and Procurement Division of UIDAI, surely he would know better. Obviously not.    

Please think of all the thousands of bureaucrats, `babus’, Governors, `Mantriji’s’, PA’s, PSO’s and MP’s et al are floating in India. How many of them would have secure email ids? Why is there simply no robust secure official government email system? Why is our Government not mandating that all persons of `X’ grade/designation [fix whatever criteria you want] should use only the secure system?

Does anyone, really anyone, give a shit?

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Dinner was at Murano, an Italian restaurant, if you had not already guessed.

Murano has one Michelin star. It was originally part of Gordon Ramsay Holdings. Angela Hartnett, a protégé of Gordon Ramsay was the head chef. In 2010 she left Gordon Ramsay Holdings and took Murano with her, becoming it’s owner. Ironically, Murano shares a wall with Tamarind, an Italian restaurant, if you had not already guessed.

This is a relatively small restaurant with just 55 seats. As we were seated we were given the menu, a short seasonal one thankfully, along with a wine list. I asked for a glass of the house champagne to start, while HRH The Queen of Kutch get herself a Peach Bellini which is Peach puree with Prosecco the Italian equivalent of champagne. The Bellini was excellent. There is good reason for it to be one of Italy’s most popular drinks.

We looked at the menus. This was a concept I had not come across earlier. It was a fixed price so if you had two courses it was X if you had three courses it was Y if you four the price increased and so on and so forth. The other thing was that the menu was broken down into 6 sections with 5 choices each. So you had 5 starters, 5 meats, 5 fish, 5 Pasta, 5 Vegetarian and of course deserts. You had the choice of ordering anything you wanted as a starter and anything as a main course. You could order two or three or four if you wanted and the more you ordered the smaller the portions became. Basically, the more you ordered the more you paid but the smaller the portion became. A bit confusing to read, but I hope you got it. We decided to have three courses. A starter, a main and a dessert each.

While waiting for the food, we were served just-fried Truffle Arancini. These are little Rice balls, made with left over Risotto which are coated in breadcrumbs and fried. These were really hot, really just fried and totally delicious. Along with this we got Parmesan crisps. Once again really good. Then we got bread – a Focaccia, some Rosemary Grissini [or soup sticks as we call them in India] and brown bread. This came with some really good olive oil, not butter. Nice touch, we were in an Italian restaurant. If this was not enough, we also got 4 slices each of two Salamis to eat with the bread.

The delicious Arancini. We had already eaten two before I took the photograph.

The Parmesan crisps

Then the food arrived. HRH the Queen of Kutch had ordered Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese as her starter. When this arrived, I was suspicious; I could not see any Osso Bucco. The Risotto was a lovely Golden pool with some Veal Jus drizzled on top with specks of Saffron showing. On digging deeper, the Osso Bucco was uncovered. They had deboned the Osso Bucco, placed it on the bottom and laid the Risotto on top. She pronounced it sensational. I took a couple of spoonfuls and it was. It was really good. As a contrast I am giving you a photo of an Osso Bucco we had in Milan, the home of this dish. See how differently they are plated.

Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese at Murano. The shredded veal is below the rice. Note the texture of the Risotto. A pool.

Two examples of Osso Bucco served to me in Milan.

I had ordered Gnocchi with some Fontina Cheese, Mushroom and Spinach with a garnish of Speck [cured Pork]. The dish as a whole was not too exciting, but, the quality of the Gnocchi was out of this world, pillows of happiness, clouds of joy would be words I would use to describe the Gnocchi. I did not see any Fontina so I asked where it was. Have a look at the photo, do you see it? The answer I got was that the Fontina was blended into the Gnocchi mixture. Maybe, but I am not convinced. 

Gnochi with Mushroom and Spinach garnished with Speck. Can you see Fontina?

For her main Course HRH the Queen had ordered the Sea Bass with Artichoke, Smoked Cod Roe and Confit Lemon. The fish was beautifully cooked; the skin was crisp to the point of shatter. Looking at the photograph please see how much care has been taken when scoring the skin, even cuts, evenly spaced. But by the same token look at the photograph again, can you see any Lemon Confit? I cannot.

Sea Bass with Artichoke. See how carefully the skin has been scored. No Lemon Confit visible.

I am sorry to sound so questioning. This sounds a lot like our dear India, where food is wholly mis-described on menus with components either missing, or appearing in microscopic quantities or simply being fudged. Anyway the food was really good, whether or not components were missing. Plates were licked clean, well not really, but you get the picture.

For my main course I had a Roast Pork Belly with Apple Compote and Glazed Shrimp, a sort of Surf and Turf. As garnish there was some crisp lettuce, cucumber slices and some more shrimp dressed with an Orange mayonnaise. This was a good tasty dish. I was very happy, the crackling was nicely crisped.

Roast Pork Belly, Glazed Prawn and Apple Compote

Dinner being completed we were served a Basil Sorbet. This was quite refreshing. The vivid green colour was admirable. The Sorbet itself was slightly sweet and strongly Basil flavoured. It had a great texture. Very nice.

Basil Sorbet.

Desserts were served. HRH the Queen asked for a Panna Cotta with Figs. I ordered a Brown Butter Tart with Plums. Both desserts were excellent and the presentation of the Panna Cotta was beautiful. I must say that the texture of the Panna Cotta was absolutely silky. My dessert was more ordinary.

Panna Cotta with Figs

Brown Butter tart with Plums

The evening was most pleasant. The wine was excellent, the food good and the service efficient. One aspect that must be mentioned is that the staff was just so friendly. That was really refreshing; they had a smile for everyone and conversations with all. It was the staff that made the evening so much better.

All in all, a very good evening with good food. This is not a classic pizza, baked pasta and red sauce type Italian restaurant. This is much finer food and a much finer dining experience. The Italians claim that they invented French food with the marriage of Catherine de Medici from Italy to the man who became Henry II of France. A new elegance and sophistication was brought to French food with that marriage as Catherine brought with her a retinue of cooks. The food at Murano like that, a new elegance and sophistication, while still retaining the basics.   

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Basel - The food

Basel being a big centre for exhibitions is not short of extremely high end restaurants. No less than 20 Michelin starred restaurants are within a 30 mile radius of Basel. But these did not interest us. What we wanted was more traditional food, local food and local wine.

There is one dramatic difference between the food in Strasbourg and Basel. The French are the leaders in gastronomy and they celebrate the pig. Bacon, Lardons, hams, sausages and all manner of pig are eaten and on the menu. The more staid Switzerland has Veal. The ultimate meat for the Swiss is Veal. There is a very sensible reason for this. If you remember your schoolboy geography and you recall the posters of Switzerland you will remember the pastures and the cows and the milk and cheese and chocolate. Milk is big business in Switzerland. You will also recall your school biology, only cows give milk. The male of the species is good for only two things, fertilisation and food. Thus, the clever Swiss have realised that the best thing to do with the extra unwanted young male calves is to turn them into food, and what delicious food it is.

The other thing we found is that the food, at least in the category of restaurants we went to, was that the food was very simple German/Swiss/Austrian food. Cooking school simple, cooking school classic, that is what I mean. Most of the menus we saw had similar food. I hasten to add that we are not talking about the sophisticated Michelin restaurants, but the local restaurants in and around town. Most menus had Wiener Schnitzel in Veal [most expensive] or Pork [far cheaper], Veal with Mushroom and Cream Sauce and Steak Cafe De Paris which is a Fillet Steak with Butter and chips. Every menu had Green Salad and Mixed Salad. Sorbets were popular desserts. Of course most restaurants had Rosti the delicious Potato Cake that is so typically Swiss. You could have Rosti with eggs, sausages or Veal or anything you wanted. Mind you all the food was very good, if a bit limited.

The first night dinner was at Restaurant Zur Harmonie. This was highly recommended. When we got there the restaurant was rather empty. Soon it started to fill and our fellow diners were all obviously locals. Once again a 60 seat restaurant with just two waitresses and one man tending the bar. For starters I ordered a Green Salad with Bacon and Croutons. If you add some poached eggs this becomes a classic French Salad. This version had no eggs but it was really delicious. HRH the Queen got a piece of Munster a classic washed rind Swiss cheese with Caraway. The combination was delicious.  Since it was our first meal, we both ordered Rosti, mine with Veal and HRH the Queen got some sausages. The Rosti was a little disappointing, but, overall it was a good meal.

Green Salad with Bacon and Croutons

Munster with Caraway

Rosti with Sliced Veal and Mushrooms

Rosti with Sausages

Chocolate Mousse

Plum Sorbet with Plum Brandy

Our dear friends the Arzano’s are jewellers in Mumbai. They go to Basel for the Jewellery show and had told us that their favourite restaurant was Restaurant Elsbethenstubli, so we made a reservation and turned up for dinner. This was a really nice restaurant. Being in Switzerland we had to have a Fondue, so Fondue it was with a bowl of Green Salad and a selection of air dried Beef and Pork, being local specialities. The Fondue was delicious and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.    

Assorted air dried Beef and Pork

Green Salad


Last night we had a reservation at Safran Zunft a fine dining restaurant right in the centre of the old town. This was an old style restaurant, tableside service, graceful waiters, lots of cutlery replacement, wine being poured by the waiters. Very nice indeed. The food was really nice and there was a higher standard of cooking. We had a bottle of local red wine to go with our food, a very nice light wine. All Swiss reds are light. To start HRH the Queen had a Venison Consommé with vegetables and Deer Chestnut Ravioli. Stunning is the only word to describe this. The Consommé was golden and totally clear with a deep rich meaty flavour. The vegetables were precisely cut cubes – Brunoise- is the technical word. Really old school classic food. I ordered an unusual dish. A Lemongrass Crème Brulee with Prawn and toasted Brioche. The Crème Brulee was sweet but combined well with the Prawn. As I said an odd choice but it worked.

Lemongrass Crème Brulee with Prawn and toasted Brioche

Venison Consommé with vegetables and Deer Chestnut Ravioli. See the steam rising!

The knife skills. Perfect cubes of vegetables

For our main course, HRH the Queen had a Deer Cutlet coated in Bacon, Red Currant Sauce, Rosti and Brussels Sprouts. Game is in season so Deer and Venison was on most menus. This was another great dish. The Deer was rare and the Bacon gave it moistness as well as salt. The Rosti was much better than at Zur Harmonie. Have a look at the photos of the Rosti in the meal we had at Harmonie and the difference is apparent. I ordered my favourite, Veal with Mushrooms in a cream sauce with Rosti. Excellent. A really nice meal, good food, good wine and great service.

Veal with Mushrooms in a Cream Sauce with Rosti

Deer Cutlet coated in Bacon, Red Currant Sauce, Rosti and Brussels Sprouts

All in all, food in Basel was good, not terribly exciting, but simple, old school and tasty.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Basel Switzerland

Basel or Basle [pronounced Baa-zel or Baal depending on the German or French version] is a city at the tip of Switzerland, France and Germany. The City has an airport which is known as the Europort which serves Basel, Mulhouse and Freiburg. The Airport while located in France has two exits one into France the other into Switzerland. Now that Switzerland has joined the Schengen, this is academic. Of course Basel has two train stations a Swiss one and a German one. You can buy train ticket to travel from Basel to Strasbourg on the French railway network or on the Swiss railway network. If you want to really get anal about it, you could sit with a calculator, exchange rates and work out which is the cheaper ticket.

Why Basel? Simple, we wanted to go to Strasbourg and the only airport to get to Strasbourg was Basel. So we thought why not stay for a few days in Basel too. Basel is a nice city. It has two very independent sides to it. One side is the old town, the University and the river, all very pretty and charming. The other side is the industrial side. This has the huge exhibition grounds. The world’s largest Jewellery and Watch fairs are held in Basel. Not only this, many of the large pharmaceutical and chemical companies are headquartered in Basel – Roche, Ciba, Sandoz, Novartis, Syngenta and Clariant are some of them. Of course Ciba and Sandoz do not exist now following a series of mergers but the offices and people still do. Swiss Air is located here as is UBS Bank.

The Old Town from a bridge along the Rhine

We had three nights in Basel. The old town is quite nice. Lots of narrow streets very pretty shops and restaurants all typically Swiss. Extreme cleanliness and orderliness all around. It struck me that every small town or village in England whether it is the Hampstead Village in London or a York or Bath all would like to be like Basel. Very very pretty, very exclusive, very expensive.

The charming streets in the Old Town

I have no idea whose statue this is. Just looked good.

The Marktplaz square which is the centre of Basel has the distinctive red Rathaus is its centre. The grand Munster Cathedral is located off the square a short distance away. Narrow cobbled, pedestrian only streets lead to all the tourist places and the steep slopes are a good work out. The main shipping streets lead off from the square. All this is very pretty. We also took some tram and bus rides using the ‘Mobility Ticket’ that comes with each hotel booking.

The Rathaus

Inside the Rathaus

The Shops along the Marktplaz

The Munster Cathedral

A doorway on the buildings along the Munsterplaz - the square outside the Munster

Basel also has some really top class museums. The Kunst Museum is wonderful. It has a modern are collection that is excellent. A special show on Mondrian was on and we went to see this. There was also the Tinguely Museum that we saw. He, to put it loosely, was a sculptor and his works are described as sculptural machines or Kinetic Art. Many of his works are displayed, in working condition at a Museum dedicated only to him. If you are in Basel you absolutely must visit these two museums.

One of Jean Tinguley creations in the lawn outside the Museum

Anothe Tinguley fountain on Elisabethstrassse

Basel does not have the total charm and beauty or even the seriousness of Zurich. But it is an important city with a bit of everything. Not an essential visit, need not be on a bucket list, but not a waste of time or money. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Strasbourg - The delicious food

Strasbourg is well known for it’s food and drink. You can eat and drink very well, with large portions and at a reasonable cost. We had no intention of any fine dining in Strasbourg as the local food would be far more interesting for us. So, folks, it was generally `peasant’ food, meat and potatoes kind of stuff.

Strasbourg is in the Alsace, so wines are big here. The most famous of the lot being the Rieslings a white wine that is made here. The other is the unpronounceable and un-spell able Gewürztraminer also a white produced in the Alsace region. You should remember Gewürztraminer. Any wine pairings book, any wine snob, and any fancy Indian restaurant anywhere in the world will recommend a Gewürztraminer with Indian food. Hence if you want to be a fancy pant remember Gewürztraminer when ordering Indian food. No need to know how to pronounce it, just point it out. All you need to do is memorise the large un-spell able and unpronounceable word – Gewürztraminer.

As far as food is concerned Alsace is a total winner. The most famous dish from here is the Quiche Lorraine, as far as I am concerned, the king of Quiches. Mind you the real Quiche Loraine does not have cheese, simply egg custard and bacon in a tart base. The Onion Tart is also very famous. Being part of France and Germany successively, Choucroute [in French] or Sauerkraut [in German] which is pickled cabbage is garnished with a variety of pork products. You can get as few as 1 to as many as 10 on a plate as garnish. The correct name of the dish is Choucroute Garnis. You get a heap of the cabbage, a couple of boiled potato and the pork – sausage, garlic sausage, pork belly, pork loin, liver dumpling and so on and so forth. A Coq Au Vin is made with Riesling instead of the red wine. Massive Pork Knuckles either boiled or baked with crisp skin are another favourite, eaten with delicious fried potato either chips or sauté potato. 

The popular snack is much like a pizza except much thinner, it is called a Flammekueche—also known as a Tarte Flambée. The topping has no tomatoes. A traditional Flammekueche is simply topped with cream cheese, chopped onions and lardons, tiny pieces of smoked bacon. It’s then popped into the oven until the onions are cooked, the bacon crisp. I thought this dish was ridiculous, one of the most disappointing and foolish dishes I have eaten in a long time. The onion was to strong and the cream cheese too bland. 

In short, the pig is a very important animal here. Almost all food revolves around a pig.

The absolutely disappointing lackluster Flammekueche

On peculiarity among restaurants was that all of them had several small blackboards – by small I mean about 18 inches wide and 24 inches high – on which the day’s specials were written. While ordering this board was placed on your table. Bit strange. In one restaurant we went to, a handwritten page was slipped into the menu. This seemed more like it. Mustard and freshly grated Horseradish were the condiments of choice. Most people ordered carafes of wine and not bottles. This was strange too as the carafes were filled from bottles. Anyway!!

Alsatian dogs do not come from here.

Two further observations. The restaurants we went to were very local, in fact in some even English translations were unavailable. Possibly, this is not tourist season as a result proportionately there were more locals eating at these places. There were certainly no Indians! The point I am making is that to me this seemed like locals eating typically local food in restaurants. At first I was surprised by this. Then I realised that most people do not cook like this at home anymore. This is much like seeing Maharashtrians eating at Gajalee or in the case of food like Tandoori Chicken or Kebabs in India where you simply cannot make that at home. Secondly, as I said earlier, portion sizes are large. But I was surprised at slim ladies far in excess of 65 polishing of the food. That was amusing to watch.

On the first night we were recommended a few restaurants by the Concierge. We narrowed our choice down to Chez Yvonne Winstub. A most charming old style place and, as we discovered later on further research, highly regarded even by locals. As soon as we sat down a small bowl of Terrine pieces was put down to have with our beer. For starters I ordered an Onion Tart while HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered a hot Foie Gras with a Plum Sauce. A carafe of white wine was ordered. The Onion Tart was decent, not in the least outstanding. I was mildly disappointed. The Foie Gras was excellent. Then it was time for the main course. HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered a Braised Pork Knuckle [braised in Amber Beer] with Sauté Potato  while I got myself a Choucroute. The food was absolutely top class. The Knuckle was literally falling apart while my Choucroute was a delight, a play on textures and cuts of Pork. No room for dessert.

Pork Terrine as a snack

Onion Tart. Yes, Blue Cauliflower 

Foie Gras with Plum Sauce. A blue flower is the garnish. Do not get alarmed.

The amazing Choucroute

Amber Beer braised Pork Knuckle

Saute Potato

The next night we had booked at Les Trois Chevaliers another seemingly fiercely local place. This was a very pretty restaurant. No one spoke any English and the apology of an English menu was a joke. So using broken French, some names of food from memory we manoeuvred our way thru the menu. This time tables were slightly turned, if you pardon the pun. I ordered a cold Foie Gras with Jelly and Jam while HRH the Queen ordered a local speciality a Cheese Salad with Sausage. The Foie Gras was good but something that I have had several times in the past, I should not have ordered it. The Cheese Salad was delicious and had a great dressing. For our mains, HRH the Queen ordered the Choucroute while I got myself a Veal Cordon Bleu with a Cream Sauce and Chips. Both dishes top notch. Heavy food but damn tasty. We shared a Chocolate Filled Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream. Oh yes, they do like squirting Cream from one of those aerosol dispensers to make things look pretty.

Duck Foie Gras with Jelly and Jam

Cheese Salad with Smoked Sausage

Veal Cordon Bleu with a Cream Sauce


Chocolate Filled Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

The last night was the best meal of all. The restaurant was called Restaurant Au Pont Corbeau. The restaurant was shut for lunch so getting a reservation proved to be a bit of a challenge. Finally at about 5 pm someone answered the phone. Phew. We were glad to have waited. Great little place probably seating 50. Front of house had just two people, the owner and a paid employee. They did everything, order taking, wine service, starters, main course, dessert, coffee, clearing plates resetting the table, getting the bill and finally the process of paying the bill. They were on the go continuously. Both had little buzzers on their waist, and as soon as food was ready the buzzer vibrated so they knew they had to get food from the kitchen.

To start we shared some delicious Fried Pig Ears with Tartare Sauce and dried Wild Boar. Both were delicious. Then for our mains HRH the Queen ordered an Andouillette Sausage with Mustard Sauce and Chips. An Andouillette Sausage is a coarse sausage made with intestines and various seasoning. It is quite nice, I find the texture  a bit strange but the Queen likes them. I got a roast Pork Knuckle and Sauté Potato. Excellent food. To round of the evening we had a disappointing Plum Tart.

Wild Boar Cured and Dried with two delicious Toast with Caramelised Onion

Fried Pigs Ears

Baked Pork Knuckle with a crisp skin

Andouillette Sausage with Mustard Sauce and Chips

The disappointing Plum Tart

All in all, eating in Strasbourg is very good, you can eat well very well for a reasonably small sum of money. They have a lot of good local food and wine. The place is very pretty too. So why not go there?