Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Regensburg - The not so good food

The food in Regensburg, by which I mean the local food, is Bavarian. All forms part of the larger Austro Hungarian food grouping. As a whole the food makes use of Pork in a large number of its dishes, beef and fish to a lesser extent. Chicken is eaten too. Duck, Goose, Venison, Rabbit, and Boar are all eaten especially during winter. Of course, you have potato and cabbage with a lot of Spatzle, a kind of egg based pasta very popular in Switzerland. The food is heavy, as in stolid, not heavy as in full of butter and cream. The cooking is simple.

Throughout Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary you have a theme running thru, with regional variations. Sausages, Schnitzels [pork and veal generally] Goulash, Roast Pork Loin, Roast Pork Knuckle, Stewed Beef and Sauerkraut as well as Red Cabbage, are things you will find on most menus. You could say the food is boring and repetitive but is not any regional cuisine? Frankly I quite like this kind of food, though French is my all-time favourite cuisine.

So, as you would have guessed the food we ate in Regensburg was like I have described. I must mention that we ate this food on all our meals. We really had no desire to lurch into Doner Kebabs or Pizza’s or Pasta which were available all around. Eat local cuisine is our rule.

On the first night we were told to go to Waltenburgur Am Dom the finest Bavarian restaurant in Regensburg. This was a recommendation by our Hotel owner a young rich local. So, as is our wont, we first rushed to the restaurant, a scant 4 minute walk away, and made a reservation for 7.30 that evening. Thank the Lord we did. The place was packed to the rafters when we reached for dinner. Anyway, after securing our table we set out to explore lovely Regensburg.

We returned at 7.30 pm to a heaving restaurant and were shown to a table, a handsome 4 seater for just the two of us. The restaurant was full of a mixture locals and tourists. Tables with no tablecloths and cheap and cheerful service of the “Now who has ordered the Duck?” kind. The waitresses were traditionally dressed in Dirndl’s, albeit with go faster Addidas on their feet to help them run around.

Being in Germany, 500 ml tankards of local draft beer were ordered. Delicious, light, refreshing and slightly flavoured with herbs. I also had a glass of the dark beer and the Wheat beer. The ordinary draft was the best. HRH The Queen of Kutch switched to Red Wine.

The Wheat Beer 

The Dark Beer 

I had to have some Pork Loin with Crackling. This came with Cabbage and two dumplings. The Pork was excellent, the Cabbage nice and the Dumplings were a waste of calories. Remained uneaten. They were quite horrid.

HRH The Queen of Kutch had a half Duck with Bavarian Red Cabbage and two equally horrid dumplings. The Duck was good and paired very well with the Cabbage. This Cabbage is made with some bacon, apple, sugar, vinegar and often herbs which include Caraway and Juniper. The resulting vegetable is sweet sour. To make the Cabbage keep its red colour, and in fact to intensify the red, you have to add acid, hence the use of Vinegar and the Apple.

A very ordinary meal. We ended up paying Euro 50 for the whole thing. As I said cheap and cheerful. Lots of food lots of drink for seemingly little money.

One of the most famous places in Regensburg is the Sausage Kitchen or Wurstkuchl. This place has been in existence since 1100 when it was the site office for the construction of the Stone Bridge. Soon it became known as a “cookshop by the bridge” where stonemasons and sailors and dockworkers came to eat. Since the 1800’s it started to sell sausages made on premises grilled on charcoal as well as Sauerkraut that was fermented in the cellars. A local sweet mustard was served to accompany the sausages. You get two varieties of sausage, the original [in plates of 6, 8, and 12] with Sauerkraut and a newer Italian style sausage with Potato salad. The original restaurant itself is tiny with just 35 seats with communal tables. There is an outside terrace which can seat plenty. If you don’t want to sit inside and eat, available for takeaway is a Hot Dog made with the sausage, Sauerkraut and lashings of Mustard. We sat inside and ordered 6 ordinary sausages and a plate of the Italian sausage. Now looking at the photograph I see that there are only 5 sausages in the plate. I now realise we were short sausaged! One sausage less notwithstanding, absolutely delicious. A knockout. A must do in Regensburg.

The next day we walked across maybe 100 meters to a wonderful looking restaurant called Bischofshof and made a reservation for the evening. When we reached the difference between Bischofshof and Waltenburgur was stark. Here were well heeled Germans, older and better dressed. You had while cloth tablecloths and starched cloth napkins. Waitresses were dressed in Dirndl’s while the men were turned out in white shirts and black trousers with waistcoats. Much more formal, much more sophisticated.

For starters I ordered the famous German Potato Soup. Dear vegetarian readers, do not get excited. This is soup made with bacon, stock and potato. Totally delicious. For mains I had a lovely Pork Cutlet, not a Schnitzel, with a Mushroom Cream sauce and some Spatzle. The food was far better than the previous evening.

HRH The Queen of Kutch had Perch with Lemon. The fish was fresh and the skin was crisp. She enjoyed the dish and finished every bit.

We had two Schnapps to round off our evening.

This was a decent meal. At the end the bill came to a mere Euro 58. This was an evening with far better food and far better ambience. We had a bill that was marginally higher. This was a good restaurant.

This was to be our last night in Regensburg. We wanted to eat at a micro-brewery. We trooped off to make our reservation at 1030 am. Astoundingly the place was booked out. No Tables. I have no idea if this was racism at work or whether this was genuine. The lady did pull out a computer and showed us something in incomprehensible German. She said that there was no table available. This was disturbing. So with little in hand, in tiny Regensburg, we rushed back to Bischofshof. The Restaurant Manager who had given us our reservation the previous evening was there. Amazingly, she said “welcome, shall I make a reservation at 7.30 like last night? I know your name.” We said yes and thanked her and commended her on her memory. This is how a restaurant manager should be.

Anyway, so back we were at Bischofshof. We had a great table, a table for 4 on which we two sat in glory. Beers ordered we ordered a special Bavarian cheese to accompany our beer. We have had this in the past. Basically it is a sort of mild cream cheese, think Philadelphia Cream Cheese, mixed with some Paprika. This was good. I ordered a small bowl of Beef Consommé with sliced Crepes. Delicious old time soup. If only we could get Consommé in India. Our collective health would be better. Both starters were good. Lined the stomach.

For our mains HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered Rabbit cooked rare. This came with the delicious Spatzle, Mushroom some Lingonberry Jam and Red Cabbage. She pronounced this as delicious.

I stuck to my pork, a simple pork loin with crackling cooked in a local beer. This was accompanied by a plate of Sauerkraut and a potato dumpling. The dumpling was far better that the one I had at Weltenburgur. The pork itself was of better quality and well cooked. Good food which we both enjoyed. This was once again a most pleasant evening.

On the whole the food in Regensburg was unremarkable. The sausages at the Sausage Kitchen – Wurstkuchl – were very good indeed. However this place is open only till 5 pm. If this was open in the evening for dinner we would have unhesitatingly gone there. Bischofshof was decent but really unexceptional. Weltenburgur was sub par.

Regensburg is a small town, BMW notwithstanding.

Regensburg was very beautiful, but alas, with no matching food.

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