Food & drink
Candle light, soft music, friendly, understated service and delicious food: that’s Wippen’BK in a nutshell. I had my first taste of this Sudstadt eatery recently, and it was a memorable one for all the right reasons, despite being a meal booked with a Groupon voucher. Previous experience of using these vouchers has left me wary. Welcome is often the last thing you’re made to feel. At Macaroni the food was practically thrown at me. At Claudius Therme the receptionist rolled her eyes. The people at Wippen’BK however, made my partner and I feel like VIP’s.
There’s a new café in Cologne that’s got a distinctly British feel to it. The Tasty Pasty Company, which opened on Duerener Strasse at the beginning of February, sells Cornish pasties just like the ones you get in Cornwall. Never tried one? You don’t need to visit the West Country now, these pastry parcels are the real deal. You won’t find union jacks and cool Britannia paraphernalia in the Tasty Pasty Company though. The aim of the British owners, Daniel Geal and Paul Embleton, was to create a subtle understated little slice of the UK in Cologne.
This could a be a little controversial because I'm British and I've never eaten a burrito in my life, but I thought the one I ate at the Bay Area Burrito Company was really rather good. The Bay Area Burrito Company is a fast food joint on Friesenwall. It's bright and spacious, with high wooden tables and friendly staff, and decorated with images of the Golden Gate Bridge.
There's a new tour of Cologne's Südstadt that will tantalize your taste buds and teach you something new about the city - and what's more it's available in English. Eat-The-World's German language tours of Cologne have been running successfully for some years already, but now they've launched an English tour of the Südstadt and I went along to find out more. I can't tell you exactly where I went to as it will spoil the surprise for anyone else planning on taking the tour.
One of the nice things about living in Germany is seasonal food. For most people the sight of watermelons in the supermarket is a good indication that summer is on its way. Likewise a pumpkin or two heralds the start of autumn. In Germany you know it's really spring when everyone starts talking about white asparagus. It is possibly the most anticipated and exciting culinary highlight of the year. According to GermanFoods.org, the Germans munch through some 70,000 tons of the stuff every year - and that's only during the months of April, May and June.
If you like your burgers fresh, meaty and made from a cow, check out Fette Kuh in the Südstadt. Lunch times are a bit of a stampede as the place is small and popular. But the burgers take 15 minutes to fry so by the time your food is ready, a seat is sure to be free. In typical Südstadt style, the chips are freshly made, and there's a big choice of sauces. The plain hamburger is very good, but it's hard to resist the other choices.
There’s a new Vietnamese restaurant in Cologne where the food is simply delicious. LU may not have the best location in town, but it’s easy to get to. Situated on the corner of Hohenstaufenring and Zulpicher Platz, it’s that corner property that has housed everything from a doner-kebab place to a specialist hair product shop. The merry-go-round of owners may well have come to an end with the opening of LU. This clean and simply laid out little restaurant is a stylish, welcoming and pleasant place to eat.
This is going to be a bit controversial. Everyone in Cologne has a favourite ice cream parlour, and everyone insists that their's is the best. I've opened up this discussion in the past and it's always heated. I'll start by stating my preference: Il Gelato in Bayenthal. Nowhere have I eaten a creamier, dreamier ice cream. And the flavours! Chilli chocolate, black cherry with dark chocolate, Tiramasu, Mango, Rhubarb - and a number of rather unusual flavours like watercress. Il Gelato has its very own 'Ice Cream Professor'.
If you like fish you're in for a treat in Cologne and Düsseldorf over the next few months. The Fischmarkt is all about eating - not just fish - it's a veritable outdoor food-fest in the guise of a fish market. On the flyer there's a fresh lobster, prawns and crab on a bed of ice with a slice of lemon. Don't expect to find this at the fish market (at least not the one in Cologne). I think it was some kind of decoy. The closest thing to fresh fish I found was a dozen fresh oysters - but I wasn't dissapointed.