New Delhi, India
June 25, 2009
Outside, it was a little more cheery; the tablecloths were solid red (hides foodstains better, I guess), and the chairs were actually upholstered. We sat down, glanced through the menu and placed our orders, more or less on the basis of how filling a dish looked. Tarun ordered one of the house specialties, rösti with bratwurst (and a mug of dark beer); I opted for another specialty, the Berner Teller: sauerkraut with different meats. I was hungry enough to eat a horse, so that was fine with me.
A waiter, who spoke passable English, came by with our drinks—I’d asked for a Coke—and, after a wait of about ten minutes, with our food. Tarun’s meal came in a cute skillet stuffed to the brim with rösti. Tarun, who likes his meat, was disappointed to see that the bratwurst was relatively meagre. And yes, as if to drive home the point that this was Switzerland, the dish came topped with a tiny Swiss flag. Cheesy (or cute, however you look at it). The rösti, to give credit where it’s due, was yum: crisp and delicious. But there’s only so much potato you can have.
My food was what Tarun should’ve ordered: real meaty. The sauerkraut was piled next to an equally large heap of what I figured was some sort of beans (I later discovered Berner Teller—also known as Berner Platte—is traditionally served with green beans. These may’ve been green in an earlier life; by the time I got them, they were a dull olive, limp and long dead. ‘Has-beans’?). There were boiled potatoes, and the rest of the plate was occupied by the meat: pork knuckle, smoked beef tongue, a big chunk of bacon, Bernese sausages and chops. Except for the pork knuckle (which was low on seasoning; in any case, I’m not keen on stuff in the knuckle and trotters category), it was all pretty good, but oh, so filling. I ploughed gamely through it all (with some help from Tarun), but ended up leaving much of the sauerkraut and the beans.
We paid CHF55 for the entire meal, including a tip. Except for the beans, the food was good enough—not fancy, but adequate. The portion sizes were more than enough, and we even got some complimentary bread.
The only niggle was that if I lifted my head and glanced up, it was to look straight up at the Statue of the Ogre next to the restaurant. A very graphic carving of a creature swallowing babies is hardly likely to help improve your appetite.
From journal Bears, Bears Everywhere