New Delhi, India
June 3, 2009
We hadn’t made a reservation, so we had to be content with a table in the yard instead (Ami Schutz has indoor seating, but nobody sits inside on a summer evening!).
But the yard itself isn’t to be dismissed lightly: it’s gravel on the ground, and loads of greenery all around: shady trees droop all over, and grapevines cling to trellises. There are pretty white-painted lamps and white-and-yellow striped canopies in places. The tables are covered with deep blue tablecloths, topped off with table covers in blue and yellow. The wineglasses on each table have bright blue stems, and there’s a relaxed air about it all.
From what we could see, the wait staff consisted almost entirely of women; a hostess seated us, and soon a very brisk and efficient order taker came along. I ordered a baeckoffe, a rabbit stew with vegetables, while Tarun asked for sauerkraut with meats—and a Reisling to wash it down (I ordered lemonade). While we waited for our meal, a waitress stopped by to leave a bowlful of pickles at our table: tiny onions and green and black olives, flavoured with rosemary.
My food arrived with a bit of fanfare. An empty dinner plate was placed, and then beside it a large, dark blue oval porcelain bowl with a heavy lid. This was whipped off to reveal the baeckoffe: a leg of rabbit, nestling in a fragrant stew of thinly sliced carrots and potatoes, with juniper berries and lots of delicious wine-laced gravy. I’d never had baeckoffe before, but one spoonful, and I thought I’d gone to heaven.
Tarun wasn’t quite as delighted with his choice, I suspect because the size of the portion frightened him. In the middle of his plate was a mound of sauerkraut as big as half a cabbage; next to it were boiled potatoes, and arranged all around was a medley of meats: sausages, liver dumpling, thick slices of fatty bacon, ham, and whatnot. After ploughing through his food for a while, Tarun decided to have a taste of my food, and ended up handing over his meal to me in exchange for mine! But, if you like lots of meat, the dish was pretty good.
We were so full by the end, we skipped dessert. The bill came to €50, including a tip, which I thought was excellent value for money. The food was superb, the service efficient and friendly, the atmosphere—and view—great.
From journal Eating and Sleeping in Strasbourg