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Archive for December, 2009

Baan Thai

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Berger Straße 28 40213 Düsseldorf

Second Thai restaurant in as many days, second visit to this place since my arrival in Germany – apparently, the second time seems to make everything taste a whole lot better.

  

From the moment you catch sight of this restaurant in the Düsseldorf Altstadt, you instantly become aware that it’s a Thai establishment – not only because of its namesake, but also because the structural design, particularly the entrance, is traditional Thai.  This continues as you walk inside the place – the entire restaurant captures the essence of Thailand, from the architectural woodwork of the tables and the frames, to the wooden railings and the figures on the walls.  The place exudes Thai culture all around – the music coming from the loudspeakers is Thai and the attire worn by the waitresses is also traditional.

Naturally, this carries on further to the menu as there are not only familiar dishes you can find at any other Thai restaurants in Germany, but also rustic favorites seldom found anywhere else.  Not only is there an extensive list of items on their standard menu to choose from, but also multiple monthly specials to whet your appetite.  These vary in price and are also unique.  Deciding on what to order could be a difficult task in itself.  But rest assured, whatever you order will be delicious.

 

Compared to the ones found in Thailand, the Tod Mun Pla (fish cakes) at Baan Thai is right on.  An order comes with 7 medium sized fish patties accompanied by a small bowl of traditional sweet dipping sauce.  The sauce consists of freshly sliced cucumbers, diced red onions, red peppers, and ground peanuts.  Alone, the fish cakes are amazing, but dipping in the sauce takes it to a whole new level.  The textural combination of spongy fish and the crunchy nuts and vegetables creates an enjoyable experience.  This mixture of flavors is truly authentic Thai.  As an appetizer, an order of Tod Mun Pla will set you back 6,90 €, but it’s definitely worth it.

   

Another common Thai dish is Rad Na – stir fried rice noodles in a gravy sauce.  Although the dish itself is lacking in the flavor department, an order comes with the standard four condiment tray – fish sauce, sugar, chili flakes, and chili pepper vinegar – with which you are supposed to personally season the dish to your liking.  People have differing tastes when it comes to noodle dishes – some like it overly spicy, some individuals salty, and others like it a bit sweet.  Hence, alone, the Rad Na with chicken, together with broccoli and cauliflower florets and sliced carrots, leaves a lot to be desired.  But after adding the condiments, you are supposed to fulfill those desires yourself and only then can the dish really take off.  Additionally, as part of the exclusive monthly special, the Rad Na is listed at only 6,90 euros.

A favorite of many Thai people is Nua Kem (salted Thai Beef Jerky) with Sticky Rice.  This is common Thai street fare.  The strips of beef are marinated extremely well in a mixture of sugar and soy sauce and then fried to perfection.  But don’t be fooled by its simplicity.  The beef packs a ton of flavor and, when eaten in conjunction with the sticky rice, is absolute heaven.  Although some restaurants serve Thai beef jerky with a sauce, it is simply not needed here.  The meat breaks down easily in your mouth.

 

Baan Thai – translated as Thai house – is an absolute must stop when in the Düsseldorf Altstadt.  The chefs working furiously in the kitchen know how to serve meals that satisfy both Thai and foreigner taste buds alike.  It is definitely one of the most authentic Thai restaurants outside of Thailand.

 

Summary:

One of the best Thai restaurants in Düsseldorf, if not in all of Germany, Baan Thai dishes up authentic and traditional Thai food in an exquisite atmosphere.  An enormous menu, in addition to specials that change every month, makes this restaurant worth visiting time and time again.  Outstanding service.

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Overall – 5 stars

  • Tod Man Pla (Deep Fried fish cakes) – 5/5
  • Thai Beef Jerky with Sticky Rice – 5/5
  • Rad Na Gai (Stir-Fried Thick Noodles with Chicken in gravy) – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.baanthai.de

Written by geschmack

December 30th, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Sukhothai

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Heinrich-Heine-Platz 1 40213 Düsseldorf (im Basement des Carsch-Hauses)

Oftentimes, when you enter a food court, you will find a mixture of popular fast food joints along with ethnic eateries, all featuring quick meals at very inexpensive prices.  Normally, the quality of food is sub par and the entrées are sometimes secretly enhanced with glutamates and other artificial flavorings.  Travel to Germany and you will not find that here – particularly at the restaurants at Carsch-Haus.  Sure, you will come across an assortment of cultural flavors as you would at any food court.  But the ingredients are innovative, the setting is stylish, the service is splendid, and the food is fantastic.  Sukhothai stands out among the rest of its peers here, particularly because the food is natural, fresh, and darn good.

 

Although this restaurant isn’t particularly big, the place is definitely eye-catching.  Sukhothai smartly utilizes a calming green to adorn its walls and soothe its guests.  The attractive, modern atmosphere doesn’t exactly scream out Thai, but it properly matches the high quality and close attention to detail given to the food.  Seating, primarily consisting of black high chairs, is quite limited here.  One aspect worth mentioning is the open kitchen here.  Guests can watch as the chefs meticulously prepare each and every dish before being served.  Places like these make the dining experience even more exciting.

Sukhothai’s menu is limited to a handful of dishes for each of the following categories: salads, soups, poultry, meat & seafood, and noodles.  There are roughly five or six entrées listed under each one, which isn’t bad when the food tastes as good as it does.

 

The Panang Curry is a must for anyone visiting Sukhothai.  For people familiar with Thai panang, the first bite may be off-putting because it tastes entirely like the Satay peanut sauce.  But continue eating it and it gets addicting.  The chicken is moist and tender.  The curry has the perfect amount of curry paste mixed in.  Essentially, the cooks adapt the curry to the German tastes and many people seem to enjoy it.  The Satay chicken is also good.  Instead of your traditional chicken skewers with peanut dipping sauce on the side, this dish is served with chunks of chicken swimming in the sauce.  The presentation is identical to the panang curry – the only difference is the taste.  Again, the chicken is superb.  The peanut sauce itself is a bit sweet and, unfortunately, the cucumber salad palate cleanser (Ajad) you would typically find served with Thai satay is nowhere to be found.

 

The glass noodle salad is another winner.  This is the refreshing salad that you will be yearning for after (or before) eating a main dish.  The ground chicken complements the texture of the silky noodles and the crunchy assortment of vegetables extremely well.  The sauce isn’t overpowering.  Most important in this dish is the fresh ingredients used – peppers, cucumbers, green onions, and carrots – all providing a harmonic flavor profile.  The dish isn’t spicy at all.  Many Germans enjoy eating Gebratene Rice (fried rice) or Gebratene Noodles (chow mein).  Order these items in Deutschland and they will normally include curry in them.  The chow mein here isn’t exactly spectacular – it’s pretty standard fair.

Sukhothai boasts cooking authentic Thai cuisine using the original recipes of the Michelin star chef Wanphen Heymann-Sukphan.  With the name of an internationally renowned chef attached to the restaurant, you know that you are in for a treat at Sukhothai.

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Summary:

Sukhothai, situated in the food court area in the basement of the Carsch-Haus department store in the Düsseldorf Altstadt, is a delicatessen serving up authentic Thai cuisine in a modern, sophisticated setting.  Limited selection of items on the menu, but cooked right.  Prices are reasonable.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Panang-Curry Chicken (Gang Panang Gai) – 4.5/5
  • Satay-Sauce mit Erdnüssen (Gai Sauce Satay) – 4/5
  • Glasnudel-Poulet-Salat (Jam Wun Sen Gai) – 4/5
  • Gebratene Nudeln mit Hühnerbrush (Bamee Phat Gai) – 2.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.sukhothai.ch

Written by geschmack

December 29th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Billy Blues (im Ziegler)

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Billy Blues Restaurant Heidelberg

Bergheimerstraße 1B 69115 Heidelberg

So Heidelberg has its German restaurants, Thai, Korean, and Chinese eateries, a good amount of fast food joints, Italian bistros, and also some places serving up African cuisine.  What about a good American grill restaurant?  Well, look no farther than Bismarckplatz, where Billy Blues restaurant fits the bill.

 

Step inside the old Ziegler building and you will find three doors without any descriptions on them.  What a mysterious place to be!  The door on the right will lead you to where you will want to go – Billy Blues Bar & Grill.  Here, the mood is rather lively.  There is a full bar with tons of barstools lined up.  Seating is reminiscent of a cocktail lounge.  In keeping with the blues theme, there are framed photos of musicians and music notes decorating the walls.  Jazz and blues from the speakers liven up the place and entertain you while eating.  Late at night, the place transforms into a full scale cocktail bar and the music blasts throughout the joint.  On various nights of the week, there are special events such as salsa Wednesday nights.

One glance at the menu at Billy Blues and you will notice an innovative twist to some traditional dishes.  Asian duck consommé.  South American crabcakes.  Grilled Tuna filet with wasabi butter sauce.  Talk about fusion cuisine!  It’s rather unusual to find such contemporary entrées in a tourist city such as Heidelberg.  But taking such chances differentiates Billy Blues from other ordinary restaurants here.  This makes Billy Blues quite unique.  And that’s not a bad thing at all.

For partygoers, the list of drinks is pretty extensive.  Billy Blues offers long drinks, whiskeys, a limited list of wines, and various cocktail drinks such as coladas, batidas, and shooters.

 

On Tuesday nights, however, Billy Blues offers a finger licking Texas themed All-You-Can-Eat special.  This meal includes all of the chicken wings and BBQ ribs you so desire.  Unlike other buffets, where diners serve themselves, the wings and ribs are cooked to order.  Once you are done with your plate, ask for more and the waiters will bring you more.  This can be a bad thing if you are absolutely starving because it can take up to 10 to 15 minutes for your plate to come to your table.  On the plus side, though, it’s definitely worth the wait!  The first plate is amazingly colossal – enough to feed a king.  Finishing the first plate might be a monumental task in itself!  It comes with about three slabs of back ribs slathered in their homemade BBQ sauce, fifteen crispy bone-in chicken wings, a soft, fluffy baked potato with sour cream on top, and a tiny ‘salad’ with cucumber slices and a tomato segment.

The flavorful BBQ sauce is more sweet than tangy here.  It tastes a lot better with the chicken wings than with the ribs – only because the sauce penetrates the wings a lot better.  Chicken wings are piping hot and have a satisfying crunch, almost like mini fried chicken.  It’s good enough to eat by itself, without the sauce, yet they aren’t terribly greasy.  The ribs are a mixed bag – on some ribs, the meat will fall right off the bone, on others the meat has to be chewed off.  The potato is rather ordinary and the lack of butter is disappointing.  Though a good complement to the portion of meat.

 

For only 9,50 €, it’s a little puzzling why this monstrous meal is such a good deal.  Billy Blues is closed Sundays and Mondays, so the chefs may be looking to get rid of meat that has been lingering around for the weekend.  Nonetheless, as long as the meat comes scorching hot to the table, this is a great find for those special Tuesday nights.  Bring the gang, unloosen your belts, order plenty of water, and get down and dirty at Billy Blues.

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Summary:

Situated near Bismarckplatz in Heidelberg, Billy Blues is a barbeque bar and grill featuring TexMex, Cajun, and California cuisine in a hip, trendy environment.  Live entertainment acts performed at night.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • All-You-Can-Eat Tuesdays – 5/5
    • BBQ Chicken Wings – 5/5
    • BBQ Ribs – 4/5
    • Baked Potato – 4.5/5
  • Service – 4/5

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http://www.billyblues.de

Written by geschmack

December 22nd, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Zum Roten Ochsen

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Zum Roten Ochsen  Zum Roten Ochsen Heidelberg

Hauptstraße 217 69117 Heidelberg

When a restaurant has been up and running for as long as Zum Roten Ochsen, it’s unreasonable to expect the same quality of cooking and flair to persist over the years.  Tastes change, ingredients transform, and modern dishes are invented.  New owners surface and the menu receives an overhaul.  But here, things are different.  Built in 1703, Zum Roten Ochsen has been owned by the Spengel family for over 6 generations for more than 170 years.  The rich tradition of this historic establishment has continued to the present day.

 

Sitting in this historic pub, surrounded by ancient relics of the past, one can only wonder which famous historic figures have set foot here.  Pictures of prominent people as well as distinguished students of the University of Heidelberg line the walls.  In fact, it can give you goose bumps just being here.

The ambiance is a bit dark, but also romantic.  The aged wooden walls give a clear indication of the history here.  Antlers are also proudly displayed from successful hunts of days past.  Additionally, other random objects dangle from the ceiling.  Of course, the head of a red ox (Roten Ochsen means red ox) oversees the dining room.  Here, the menu, written in both German and English, is focused.  There isn’t a huge selection of entrées, rather a restricted number of dishes done well.  Typical dishes from the Swabian region makes this restaurant unique compared to the others along the Hauptstraße.

 

The lentil stew with spätzle and sausages, priced at 9,50 euros, is listed as the national dish of the Swabian region.  In this dish, the lentils are perfectly cooked in a beef broth along with diced onions and chopped carrots.  The stew is rich, thick, and hearty.  Small chunks of beef can be found amongst the lentils – rewarding bits of meat that remind you of the long cooking process involved.  The sausages are typical wieners (frankfurters) – they aren’t overly salty and the casing has a pleasant snap.  They add substance to the stew.  Pieces of spätzle can also be found in the stew.  Overall, the flavor combination works extremely well.  Although the portion size appears to be on the small side, the dish is absolutely satisfying.  This bowl is even more gratifying on a cold, snowy night – the contents are steaming hot and ultimately soothes the soul.

 

Zum Roten Ochsen is an excellent place for a quick beer or a complete quality meal.  Whether it’s a romantic get-together, a group dinner with friends, or a meeting with old buddies, visiting Heidelberg isn’t complete without a stop at Zum Roten Ochsen.

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Summary:

Located along the main street in Heidelberg’s Altstadt, Zum Roten Ochsen is a historic pub serving traditional German cuisine as well as regional Swabian (Schwäbisch) dishes in an old-fashioned setting.  Reservations recommended.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Lentil Stew with Spätzle and Sausages (Schwäbisches Linsengemüse mit Spätzle und zwei Würstchen) – 4.5/5
  • Service – 4/5

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http://www.roterochsen.de/

Written by geschmack

December 18th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Hahn im Korb

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Hahn im Korb

Marktplatz 8 69117 Heidelberg                                                      [OUT OF BUSINESS]

Hahn im Korb: an expression meaning a single man surrounding by several women, relishing the attention given to him.  The translated name of a book written by an Italian writer.  The title of a German television show and of a film.  Literally translated – a rooster in a basket.  The Hahn im Korb restaurant, however, doesn’t have any association with the above descriptions.  In fact, it doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned with such mainstream media – it’s merely a typical German restaurant serving up mundane dishes.

 

The atmosphere here is, admittedly, quite impressive.  Entering the restaurant, you will be amazed at how cozy and inviting the place feels.  It’s just like entering a beautiful home for the very first time.  There are large family style booths enough to accommodate at least six people.  Smoking area seating is also available in an adjoining room.  Aside from the framed pictures of roosters on the walls and the menus on the tables, you wouldn’t even be aware of being in a restaurant with such an odd name.  Speaking of which, the old worn out menus with yellowed pages are such an eyesore.  Inside, you will find typical German fare – sausages, pork, beef, and, of course, chicken entrées.

 

Hahn im Korb’s motto is “Frisch vom Grill – wie’s jeder will” – meaning fresh from the grill, as everyone wants it.  On this visit, the cooks kept their promise.  The grilled chicken was served very hot.  The dark meat on the chicken was tender, juicy, and delicious although the flavor was of typical rotisserie chicken.  Unfortunately, the white meat was rather dry and a bit bland.  Furthermore, the skin on the thigh side of the bird was grilled crisp, whereas the breast side was slightly rubbery.  This contrast in texture is interesting, though inconsistent.  Overall, the chicken is well seasoned and full of flavor, but is nothing to rave about.  I’ve had better elsewhere.  And at 7,70 euros for a half chicken and one side order (and a single leaf of lettuce and a sole slice of carrot) it is far from a bargain.

The side dishes are plentiful, though also ordinary.  You can select from potato salad (Kartoffelsalat), fries (Pommes Frites), croquettes (Kroketten), fried potatoes (Bratkartoffeln), Rösti, spätzle, or vegetables.  Rösti, a Swiss dish made up of fried grated potatoes, is comparable to American hashed browns.  Served piping hot, they are buttery and tasty – but again, nothing spectacular.

Hahn im Korb, with it’s interesting name, wonderful atmosphere, good location, and average cuisine, is a mixed bag that has so much potential.  However, until the chefs do something to make their dishes unique, Hahn im Korb will remain a run of the mill restaurant.

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Summary:

Looking towards the large church on the Marktplatz, Hahn im Korb is standard German restaurant offering a large selection of meat dishes, specifically many chicken dishes.  Slightly expensive.  Very friendly service.

Overall – 3 stars

  • ½ Rotisserie Chicken – 3/5
  • Rösti  – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

December 17th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Heidelberg

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Raja Rani

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Raja Rani 

Friedrichstraße 15 69117 Heidelberg

Living in a touristy city, particularly in a foreign country, certainly has its benefits.  Due to its history, status as a romantic town, and its sightseeing attractions, Heidelberg attracts millions of people from around the world each year.  In order to accommodate the varying tastes of visitors, countless ethnic restaurants have popped up all over the city.  Raja Rani is such a restaurant.  Here, visitors and residents alike can experience delicious Indian cuisine at extremely affordable prices.

 

Upon entering this relatively small eatery, you are immediately met with a service counter where trays of curry and soups are waiting in a buffet warmer.  The menu board is well illuminated and quite large– there are over 100 items to choose from.  As with any other fast food joint, Raja Rani is an order your food, get your own cutlery, and bus your own plate restaurant.  This means there are no waiters, no tableside service.  Essentially, Raja Rani is a no frills restaurant.  Sure, there are a few Indian sculptures sitting on top of a shelf, some Indian tapestry, photos of India, and Indian music coming from the speakers.  But aside from that, the place and the plates are rather ordinary.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the food here is not only good, but also reasonably priced.

 

The Chicken Tandoori Masala – chunks of grilled chicken breast in a spicy sauce, served on Basmati rice – is exceptionally flavorful.  The chicken is large and plentiful in comparison to the amount of rice given.  It has a nice savory taste due to the sauce, which is full of spices.   Although the menu advertises the sauce as being spicy, it is anything but.  However, there is a small station near the counter where you can get extremely spicy green chili peppers.  The only negative to the Tandoori Masala was the condition in which the food was served – it wasn’t piping hot when I got it.  Although the chicken and sauce was scooped and served practically within seconds, I would have definitely waited longer to have a hot meal.  By the time I was halfway done eating, the chicken was beginning to get cold.  There are two sizes for this dish – a small plate for 3,90 € and a larger one at 5,90 €.

 

The Lamb Curry is aromatic and also a hit.  The curry has a nice, pungent flavor that complements the lamb well.  As for the meat itself, it has a slight gamey taste to it.  Unlike the Chicken Tandoori though, the lamb curry was scooped hot and steaming.

In order to wash everything down, a tall glass of Mango Lassi – a traditional Indian yogurt drink with mango pulp – is recommended.  It is sort of like a mango smoothie, though not too sweet.  This drink is quite popular as there is an entire fridge full of Mango Lassi glasses waiting to be served!  It is refreshing and, at 2,00 € for a 0,4 liter glass, is quite a bargain.

Without a doubt, the inconsistency in the food temperatures is difficult to ignore.  Aside from this problem, though, the food at Raja Rani is delicious and bold in flavor.

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Summary:

Located near the Hauptstraße, Raja Rani is an Indian fast food restaurant serving up traditional favorites, such as curry, Tandoori, and a large selection of vegetarian dishes.  Very inexpensive.

Overall – 4 stars

  • Chicken Tandoori Masala – 4/5
  • Lamm Curry (Lamb Curry) – 4/5
  • Mango Lassi – 3.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

December 11th, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Bierbrezel

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Hauptstraße 184 69117 Heidelberg

Flames shoot up constantly from an oven that is used for the Flammkuchen.  These are large, thin-crusted, and delicious.  If you have never had Flammkuchen (also called Tarte flambée), it is sort of like a very thin pizza.  The menu features a large variety of this regional specialty, along with other conventional dishes found in a German establishment.

 

The atmosphere at Bierbrezel is rustic and old-fashioned.  Seating chiefly consists of dark oak wooden tables, benches, and chairs.  Surprisingly, the plates used for the Flammkuchen are also wooden.  Each table is lit by a small illuminated candle, with a dim chandelier hanging up top.  The inferno coming from the oven is the only brightly lit spot.  Although I am not particularly fond of such dark places, this restaurant is a good place for romantic get-togethers.  The amount of seating is also suitable for large parties.

 

The 7,50 € Bier Brezel Flammkuchen is topped with Crème fraîche, chunks of turkey breast, onions, and cheese.  Sprinkled on top is a dash of oregano.  Served straight from the oven on a cutting board, this dish works really well.  The combination of the sour Crème fraîche, the slightly salty turkey meat and cheese, and the sweet onions complement each other nicely.  Add the aromatics of the oregano and you will savor this culinary experience.  The texture is also distinctive – the crispy crust combined with the soft, gooey cheese is brilliant.  The only negative, of course, is the onion aftertaste you get after eating such a dish.

The espresso here is simply ordinary.  A cup comes with a tiny packet of sugar and a cookie.  Simply put, the sugar is not enough.  It would have also been nice to have brown sugar instead.  The wrapped cookie is, however, a delightful treat after an overall great meal.

Bierbrezel boasts specializing in beer since 1752.  Having been here that long, it’s no wonder that the chefs here know how to make their dishes the right way.

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Summary:

Situated in front of the large church on the Hauptstraße, Bier Brezel is a German restaurant offering a wide variety of traditional cuisine, such as schnitzel, flammkuchen, and pretzels, as well as a large selection of alcoholic drinks.

Overall – 4 stars

  • Bier Brezel Flammkuchen (mit Crème fraîche, Putenbrustwürfeln, Zwiebeln und Käse)– 4.5/5
  • Espresso – 2/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://bierbrezel-heidelberg.de/

Written by geschmack

December 10th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Pollo Campo

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Mandys Fast Food Center  Pollo Campo

Speyerer Straße 1 69115 Heidelberg

Fried chicken – classic comfort food.  Unfortunately, you will be hard-pressed to find American style fried chicken in Heidelberg.  Surprisingly, there are no Kentucky Fried Chickens in this tourist city.  But luckily, there is a restaurant that not only features savory fried chicken, but also tasty BBQ spare ribs too!

 

Enter Mandy’s Fast Food Center and you will notice a themed restaurant with an entrance reminiscent of an old western saloon.  Step inside, however, and you will be perplexed by the clash of cultures.  The layout captures the old west nicely – hard wooden benches and booths, ancient relics from years past lining the shelves, and portraits of Native Americans hanging on the walls.  However, the music blasting from the speakers is not some festive old western saloon piano theme, but rather a modern day mixture of German, American, and Spanish popular tunes.  There is a television showing an old black and white western, drowned out by the sounds of “Smooth Operator” from Sade.  This left me scratching my head.

Like Mandy’s Burger next door, Pollo Campo offers special value meals that make ordering from the massive menu fairly easier.  Ask for the 7,20 € menu 1 and you will get 2 pieces of fried chicken, leg and thigh, 1 spare rib, a choice of French fries or baby potatoes, a salad of your choosing, and a 0,4 liter soft drink.  At 6,20 €, menu 6 consists of a baguette or wrap sandwich, fries or tiny potatoes, and a drink.  There are a total of 12 different savings meals to choose from.

 

The fried chicken is awfully good.  It has the classic flavor and texture of good fried chicken.  The skin is crispy and well seasoned, the meat juicy and mouthwatering.  There aren’t any added secret spices a la KFC, but the essence is good overall.  Keep in mind this is still a fast food joint, so it won’t be anything like mom’s homemade stuff.  The only potential shortcoming is the fact that the chicken wasn’t piping hot.  Nonetheless, the chicken here is a success.

The barbecue spare ribs are not as superb as the fried chicken, though still enjoyable.  If you are looking for tender ribs that fall off the bone, you will be disappointed.  The pork is a bit hard to get through, but the ribs are quite meaty and sticky.  The barbecue sauce slathered on is rather delectable and lip smacking.  All together the ribs are good – finger-licking good – but not the absolute best.

The side orders are not too impressive.  Baby potatoes are oven roasted with the skins on.  They are soft and delicate, but a bit heavy on the salt.  There is a hint of paprika to give it a special kick.  Despite this subtle addition, they are simply ordinary fare.  The menu boasts the Coleslaw being homemade, but it tastes run of the mill.  The vegetables look like they had been sitting in the fridge a bit too long.  In terms of flavor, I have had better at KFC.

 

On the whole, Pollo Campo does an excellent job cooking up the important items on the menu– the chicken and ribs.  Although they would be better served offering mashed potatoes, gravy, and biscuits, Pollo Campo’s existing menu is adequate enough to satisfy the appetites of hungry patrons.  If you can look past the strange surroundings, Pollo Campo is without a doubt worth a visit.

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Summary:

Pollo Campo, part of the Mandy’s Fast Food Center in Heidelberg, is an American style chicken and ribs restaurant featuring both American and Mexican favorites, including sandwiches, chicken wings, fried chicken, chili con pollo, nachos, and empanadas.  Menu in both German and English.

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11 AM – 1 AM
              Friday, Saturday: 11 AM – 2 AM
              Sunday: 12:00 PM – 1 AM

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Fried Chicken – 4.5/5
  • Barbecue Ribs – 4/5
  • Baby Potatoes – 2.5/5
  • Cole Slaw – 3/5
  • Service – 5/5

 

http://www.mandys-hd.de/pollocampo/

Written by geschmack

December 4th, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Pizza Hut

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Pizza Hut Heidelberg

Hauptstraße 111 69117 Heidelberg

Pizza Hut.  Arguably one of the most popular fast food restaurant chains in the United States.  But how does the tomato sauce compare in another country?  Does the pizza taste better as you get closer to Italy – the birthplace of pizza?  What about the preparation of chicken wings in Germany?  Anything unusual about Pizza Hut in Deutschland?

 

Walk inside this Pizza Hut for the first time and you might feel a bit lost.  There are no cash registers to walk up to, no service counters to wait in line for.  It might take a moment for you to realize that Pizza Hut here is not your quintessential fast food joint like in the States, but rather an actual sit-down and order restaurant.  One glance inside and you will surely be amazed at how elegant the restaurant looks.  The dining area is so upscale and trendy – almost enough to qualify as fine-dining.  There are plenty of tables – dark brown polished wooden tables – here, enough to accommodate large parties and families.  Silverware awaits you at your table.  There is even an open service counter window through which diners can see the kitchen staff at work.  This alone definitely makes dining here an exciting experience.

The menu at this Pizza Hut is, unexpectedly, rather extensive.  There are a large number of appetizers, including country potatoes, crispy mushrooms, quesadillas, chicken sticks, and chicken wings.  In addition to your typical types of pasta, lasagna and gratins are also offered.  What makes Pizza Hut here unique is the variety of desserts listed on the menu.  Not only can you order hot pancakes and Belgian waffles here, but also donuts, Panna Cotta, and ice cream.  Wine and beer are also served up.

 

Order the 2,90 € chicken wings and you get 6 hot pieces – 3 drummettes and 3 wings – a choice of dipping sauce (Sour Cream, Barbecue, Guacamole, Ketchup, or Mayo), and a towelette.  Forget to mention your desired dip and you will get BBQ – which is a bit smoky and sweet.  Nothing spectacular about the presentation of the dish, but that’s expected.  The chicken wings are seasoned well and taste perfectly fine without any sauce.  Think miniature rotisserie chicken wings.  Of course, add on the sauce and the flavor changes drastically.  Unfortunately, Pizza Hut in Germany does not offer Buffalo styled wings so you will surely be disappointed if you want something spicy.

The pizzas at a German Pizza Hut are similar to the pies back home.  Naturally, a wide variety of toppings are available, in addition to a select number of crusts (pan pizza, New York style, and stuffed crust).

Ask for a Margherita pan pizza and you will essentially get a cheese pizza.  The mozzarella cheese is bubbly, gooey, and delicious; the pizza is cooked fresh and served steaming hot in a pizza tray.  The texture of the dough is nice and fluffy – delicate and delectable.  Crust is crisp.  Surprisingly, the tomato sauce in Germany has the same taste as in the US.  A normal sized pizza is approximately 23 cm, a bit larger than a personal pan pizza.  At 4,50 € it is a reasonably priced pie that can easily be shared by two people.

Pizza Hut will easily satisfy your cravings for something simple, familiar, and delicious.  Stop by for the food and sit down for an amazingly pleasant dining experience.

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Summary:

Pizza Hut is an American pizza restaurant chain serving a large variety of pizzas, along with an assortment of side dishes including pasta, salad, chicken wings, garlic bread, and desserts.  Great value for the price.

Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
               Friday, Saturday 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM
               Sunday 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Chicken Wings (6 Pieces) – 4.5/5
  • Cheese Pizza (Margherita Mit Tomatensauce und Mozzarella-Käse) – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

 

http://www.pizzahut.de

Written by geschmack

December 3rd, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Kilimanjaro

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Dreikönigsstraße 6 69117 Heidelberg

The roast beef comes in a stew, bold and rich, accompanied by sautéed onions, softened bell peppers, and broken down tomatoes.  The dish is served in a beautiful black clay pot, kept warm by a lone flickering candle in a small compartment underneath.  Next comes the injera, a spongy flatbread used to soak up the concentrated flavor of the spiced stew.  On top of the crepe like dough are tiny bits of lettuce, cucumbers, and a scoop of couscous.  It’s the Kulwa Berai and the combination of meat and flatbread creates quite a unique flavor profile in itself.

 

Entering the restaurant, you don’t exactly feel like you are in an African restaurant.  Sure, there are miniature drums on the walls, wooden elephants and giraffes piled up on one another, large wooden spoke wheels decorating the room, and traditional African tunes playing from the speakers.  But other than that, the place still seems German.  A bright side, though, is the fully equipped bar.

The menu at Kilimanjaro is not as massive as its namesake.  The names of the dishes are traditional Eritrean, so you will have to rely on the descriptions in German to understand the contents of the entrées.  This may be difficult if you don’t know the language; however the waiters are fully capable of speaking English and are more than happy to assist you in making your selection.

 

Appetizers are a mixed bag here, some of them are appetizing, some are plain ordinary.  Sambusa – filled dumplings with ground beef and seasoned with various spices – is a simple dish with amazing flavor and texture.  Essentially, these dumplings are like deep-fried triangular shaped wontons packed with a delightful amount of ground meat.  The Sambusa is delicate – fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The added spices give these bad boys a unique kick to them.  The only thing missing, however, is some dipping sauce to give it another dimension.

Kilimanjaros – a large mound of minced meat, diced potatoes, and onions, encased in bread crumbs – are a disappointment.  An appetizer carrying the name of the restaurant should be a specialty; however it’s merely lacking flavor.  This dish is reminiscent of corned beef hash, though the contents aren’t browned as one would normally like.  Each appetizer comes with a small portion of salad consisting of green lettuce, sliced cucumber, diced tomatoes, and finely chopped parsley.  The dressing does not overpower the vegetables resulting in a nice palate cleanser.

 

The main courses are, in general, better than their precursors.  The Kulwa Berai, priced at 8,90 €, is a flavorful stew similar to a curry.  The small chunks of beef, stewing in the vegetable mixture, absorb a lot of deep flavor.  The addition of the injera flatbread gives you the opportunity to add a different texture to the meal.  Alone, the injera has a plain doughy taste.  The only negative about this dish is the consistency of the meat – the pieces are chewy and the presence of small bones in the stew is irritating.  However, despite the fact that the beef could have been cooked longer, the dish is more than satisfying and tasty.

If you are looking for an exotic culinary adventure, but don’t have the time nor means to travel to a distant land, look no further than Kilimanjaro.  No, not Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  Kilimanjaro restaurant here in Heidelberg!  It is quite an experience.

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Summary:

Located near the banks of the Neckar River, Kilimanjaro is an African restaurant specializing in traditional Eritrean and East African cuisine.  Prices are reasonable.

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday open at 5:00 PM     
             Closed Mondays

Overall – 4 stars

  • Sambusa (Gefüllte Teigtaschen mit Hackfleisch oder Kartoffeln, 3 Stück) – 4.5/5
  • Kilimanjaros (Kartoffel-Zwiebel-Hackfleischrolle in Paniermehl umhüllt) – 3/5
  • Kulwa Berai (Gebratenes Rindfleisch mit Zwiebeln, Peperoni, Tomaten und Gewürzbutter) – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

December 2nd, 2009 at 11:58 pm