I consider myself to be a fairly simple creature (not “simple” as in having the intellectual capacity of Forrest Gump, but simple in a sense in that I don’t need all the bells and whistles to keep me happy). Gourmet food and fine wine are both magnificent, but sometimes all one needs to be content is a large chunk of meat and an ice cold beer. This seems to be the modus operandi of German and Austrian restaurants - big portions, reasonable prices and a range of imported beers on tap.
If you enjoy no-frills, no-fuss eateries add Schwabinger Stuben in Ferndale to your list of restaurants to try. Schwabing is fairly basic – the menu is limited to restaurant staples, snitchels with a variety of toppings and some Austrian and German dishes. They do, however, offer incredible value for money and portion sizes that even those with Herculean appetites might struggle to finish. Their beer selection is also noteworthy and includes a variety of local and imported beers on tap. To satisfy that sweet tooth, they serve decadent Black Forrest cake and apfelstrudel. (I feel that beer is the best dessert but that’s just me.) 011 787 2550.
Berlin Pub and Restaurant in Ruimsig Country Estate is the perfect setting to enjoy a Sunday lunch. While the outdoor deck might not be ideal for winter, this delightful country pub has a warm atmosphere with amiable and efficient service. As with Schwabing, the menu is limited but it includes enough diversity for every fussy eater in the family. Booking is advisable as it fills up fast for Sunday lunch. Don’t be left starving in the car park because you neglected to book. www.berlinpub.co.za.
Finding good traditional German küche is a tough task in Johannesburg but there are a few outlets worth visiting. Schwaben Butchery in the Meadowvale Value Centre, Edenvale, are well known for their continental sausages and hams and also stock authentic German cornichons, sauerkraut and mustard. 011 454 0160.
The Berliner Butchery at Deco Park in Northgate is fast gaining a reputation as the place to shop for fresh, succulent cuts of meat and traditional German food items. This award-winning butchery has shelves that are stacked with kassler ribs, veal, free-range chickens, Cornish hens and a notable lean-meat range. Call them 011 462 0400.
The German Country Club in Paulshof is a social and sporting club where one can enjoy traditional goulash, play kegeln (skittles), tennis or indoor soccer, and attend events such as the up-coming gluwhein evening. The club and its facilities are for members but guest will have access to the pub and restaurant at a nominal fee. Visit them online at [www.germancountryclub.co.za](http:// www.germancountryclub.co.za).
And finally, if you are a fan of beer (which you should be) you will be over the moon to know that German beer is stocked by most major liquor outlets in Gauteng. Erdinger seems to be the most common brand but if you head to a Makro Liquor, Liquor City or Loco Liq outlet you might find Bitburger, Paulauner and Becks.