What comes to mind when you say Germany? Beer (obscene amounts of it) and sausages would be first on my list. So when we went to Koln, these were must-haves on our list. Staying with a friend who knows German and who knows the right places to eat and drink at helps a lot. Although restaurants in a tourist destination like Koln tend to keep an English menu, a pretty Indian girl speaking the local language has several advantages, especially when you are trying for a seat at a popular restaurant on a Saturday night!
For lunch on our first day, we tried out a cafe on the street, and went in for the specials of the day. Since pork seemed to be the most popular meat of the region (judging by the number of time pork was mentioned in all menus that we saw), I opted for Schweine Geschnetzelt auf fettuccine, or pork slices in fettuccine. The pork came with a rich, cheesy sauce and was somewhat too heavy for just one person.
A little reading up tells me that Pork, beef, and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed in Germany, with pork being the most popular. No surprises there at all, and no complaints either, I happen to love pork.
The hubby opted for Penne in arrabiata sauce with Gambas, or shrimp. Although we didn’t have much expectations, this turned out to be quite the Neville Longbottom of the dishes we ordered, or if you don’t speak Harry Potter, it was quite a pleasant surprise. The Gambas were quite obviously frozen shrimp, but the sauce and the ingredients used were spot on, and I kept dipping into the hubby’s plate, to neutralize the cheese overdose from my dish.
Fi, or the afore mentioned German speaker, tried a rice dish that was served with chicken strips. The rice was well flavored and the chicken strips took too much time to arrive, and hence the rice was largely had with the pork and the gambas. The chicken strips came mid-way between our meal, but by then, we had all sworn our allegiance to the gambas dish and the chicken dish, although juicy and flavored in a nice salad dressing , lost out in comparison.
Post lunch, and after many many tram rides and touristy sight-seeing later, I was looking forward to going to the chocolate museum, another of the must-dos on Fi’s list for us. This is a glass-fronted building on the bank of the Rhine, has a museum on the upper levels and a chocolate cafe and store on the ground floor.
The place was a chocolate museum, and maybe that should speak for itself. I’ll let the pictures do the talking:
Left: on display was this gorgeous raspberry cheesecake; Right: My dark-and light chocolate mousse cake…’nuff said!
So towards Saturday evening, we did as a Cologne-da-puttar would do and went to a Brew-house. Fi took us to Peters Brauhaus. The area around the Kolner Dom is where the city’s best bars, pubs, malls are located. Abuzz with activity, and teeming with people, Peters Brauhaus was packed to the rafters. We had our first round of beer while waiting for our seats.
Kölsch is the name the local beer goes by. Its bright and full, and remarkably fresh. As we stood waiting for our refills, we were finally seated . Huge casks of beer and wooden paneling, lends a lot of character to the place. The service was quick and efficient (of course, it helped that we played our trump card, our German speaking companion) during rush hour.
The star cast of the menu was the pork (but of course), which played every role, from sausages to schnitzels and was available in all cuts from knuckle to leg. For dinner, we had fried sausage with potato salad (Brodwoosch“ mit Kartoffelsalat”) and we shared the house special, 3 Medaillons of pork served with mushrooms, vegetables and potato croquettes. The dishes were excellent, and without doubt complimented the beer, scoring equal points.
We thought Koln would be slightly on the expensive side, being a tourist place, but all food that we had was well within reasonable European standards. The beer is very cheap, both the bottled variety and the tap in-house beer (€ 0.2 for a
300 200 ml glass of Kölsch on tap). You can eat comfortably for € 15 a head, with beer, since quantities on a single plate are quite huge, and this would be a good thing to keep in mind while ordering.