Yesterday, after an afternoon spent clothes shopping (and not for me I might add – although I did get some new winter boots) Jan, me and a friend we had met in town decided to try out the new burger and Bratwurst restaurant that’s arrived in Karlsruhe. By “new” I of course mean it arrived some time in the summer and we hadn’t got round to trying it out yet…
The basic concept behind Bratar seems to be organic and local. The menu assured us that the pigs from the Bratwurst are kept in a manner appropriate to the species, with plenty of space and the right kind of food. They live in Schwäbisch Hall, which makes them local in the sense that it’s the same Bundesland (and there probably aren’t too many pig farms in the Karlsruhe area, to be fair).
All three of us chose to drink Alpirsbacher beer and eat a burger. The burgers come in three different sizes – single, double and triple. I chose the double burger, which was 300 g of beef! They also had turkey burgers, vege-burgers and a children’s beef burger, which I assume was smaller. All the burgers come with lettuce, tomato, onions and gherkin (I ordered mine without the gherkin) and you can then add extra ingredients yourself. The list of extra ingredients is fairly long and I’ve already decided I will have to go back to try out more combinations! This time I went for jalepenos, goat’s cheese and bacon. The bacon was grilled and very tasty, but I think another cheese would have been better in this combination… the mid taste of the goat’s cheese was pretty much drowned out by the generous portion of jalapenos. That was my fault though, nothing to do with the restaurant! You can also choose from three different types of bread bun, although I just went with the traditional burger bun that it comes with automatically. To go with my burger, I chose the rosemary potatoes, which were amazing! I love potatoes, and these ones were nice and crispy with just the right amount of rosemary. They came with a sour cream dip, which also contained rosemary and provided a nice contrast to the spiciness of the jalapenos.
The kitchen, which is in the middle of the restaurant, has glass walls so you can see inside. I saw some chips (fries) through the window as we were leaving and thought they looked tasty too… nice thick cut chips, not the barely there “fries” you get at McDonalds and co.! This is definitely the best burger I’ve had in Karlsruhe and I intend to go back some time.
It had been ages since I last made toad in the hole, so when I saw it on Lou’s Labyrinth I really, really wanted to eat it again. So that’s what Jan and I had for dinner yesterday.
I always use a recipe that I got from BBC Food years ago, and which doesn’t even seem to be on the site any more. Looking at it just now, I found several similar ones but none that were exactly the same. Mine is a very simple recipe – flour, eggs (four of them!), milk, salt and pepper for the batter. I always add dried rosemary as well, although it’s not in the original recipe. And, of course, sausages. Being in Germany, I don’t actually have access to the kind of sausages one would normally use for toad in the hole, but Bratwurst work surprisingly well. Cross-cultural cooking at its best!
Isn’t it funny how, when you’re ill, you crave comforting, familiar foods. Foods that you were brought up with, that accompanied you through your childhood. Much as I love local specialities, like Käsespätzle (small, thin dumplings covered in lashings of melted cheese) and Flammkuchen (tarte flambée – technically from Elsace but Karlsruhe is so close to the border that they’ve adopted (and adapted) this dish for themselves), for the last few days I’ve been craving English things. Crumpets literally dripping with salted butter. Heinz chicken soup. Mashed potatoes with a large helping of cheddar cheese mixed in. A chip butty drowning in gravy. Horlicks.
I just know I’m going to be disappointed no matter what we have for tea tonight. Plus, I’ve run out of Lemsip. Doooom!