Mainz, Germany – 2016

As our taxi turned into the small village of Selzen, a half hour drive south west of Mainz in southern Germany, having passed fields of ‘pick your own’ tulips en route, there were several conspicuous signs to our destination, Kaupers restaurant. But when we faced a three-way junction we were all at a loss as to which one to choose.   An elderly gentleman emerged from an adjacent house, slightly wearily enquired whether we were looking for Kaupers restaurant and directed us down the least likely path to the right….






Bread and wine in Vienna

Walter Bauer’s restaurant, Bauer, and Josef Weghaupt’s bakery and bistro, Joseph, are no more than a kilometre apart in the heart of Vienna and appear very different. One is named after the restaurateur’s surname, the other after the founder’s Christian name. Bauer is 57 and has been in his restaurant for the past 25 years while Weghaupt is 33 and worked in marketing before turning to baking bread professionally only in 2009. Bauer’s interior is dark and cosy, its walls covered in prints and the numerous awards its has justifiably…






Austria, Vienna

Vienna, 2006 Vienna possesses all the ingredients for the ideal restaurant city. Its centre is small and compact making it easy to move from bar to restaurant to café. Prices are very reasonable – I ate turbot at the Kervansaray restaurant for the same price in euros as it is wholesale in pounds in London – and the service, principally at the hands of bright young men and women who speak far better English than our amateurish German, is friendly and punctilious. Most restaurants tend to open at 11am and…






Germany, Munich

Germany, Munich – 2008 As a life long Manchester United supporter, I arrived in Munich shortly before the 50th anniversary of the fatal air crash in early February 1958 with perhaps more football memories on my mind than when I normally review restaurants. But I assure you that I wasn’t determinedly looking for them and that the two meals each with a disappointing half were the chefs doing not mine. A poor first half certainly got our meal at Tantris, one of the city’s most respected and long established restaurants,…






Germany, Vau

Vau, Berlin – 2004 Although our dinner at Vau, Kolya Kleeberg’s stylish restaurant in the centre of Berlin, was exceptional I decided not to write about it for a couple of days. As the afternoon before Vau had been spent witnessing a chronicle of man’s inhumanity to man – at the extraordinary Jewish Museum and the poignant if more ramshackle Checkpoint Charlie Museum – I wanted to be quite sure of my conclusions. On that particular Saturday evening, perhaps just a soothing bowl of plain rice would have been enough…






Berlin

Berlin – 2010 This month two of Berlin’s most hospitable and long established restaurateurs will give dinners to mark significant landmarks in their respective history. On 31 May Rainer Schulz will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Kurpfalz-Weinstuben in the west of the city. Over in the north east, Roy Metzdorf will host a party for the 70th birthday of his father Dieter, who inspired him to open his restaurant, Weinstein, in 1993 and then magnanimously underwrote its losses for the first decade. The personal connections between these two hosts are…