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Restaurant Krokodil

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Last weekend we made a long planned cycle trip to Köpenick. The trip was partly inspired by a desire to cycle along the Spree and see the changing architectural/urban environment (Jim – architectureinberlin.wordpress.com) and partly because I wanted to visit Restaurant Krokodil and Hostel am Flußbad. I’d read about the Hostel and Restaurant on Berlin Hidden Places – always a god site for some inspired and off-beat touristing.

We planned our route using the brilliant BBBike site.  If you haven’t used it give it a try, you can plan any cycle route you want in Berlin, with options to stick to cycle routes and green-ways if you choose (and the added benefit that it’s provided in english, as well as auf deutsche).   It gives you a clear set of printable instructions and the option to print the map in a number of different formats.

On the way we cycled along Treptow Park, crossed the river and cycled most of the rest of the way through the Volkspark Wuhlheide. A lovely route through a park that we haven’t explored before.

Image 1: The Wuhlheide (with Parkeisenbahn) [1]

Our hunger drove us on through the centre of Köpenick and past the bands playing in the Schloss and the town square (I assume as part of the Blues & Jazz Festival, which runs though to the end of August). The small side street (Kietzer Str.) leading on to Gartenstr. where Krokodil is found, has some wonderful old, and now protected, buildings that used to be part of the independent Fischerkietz.

Image 2: Fischerkiez [2]

Restaurant Krokodil and Hostel am Flußbad could easily be missed, they’re set behind a big red-brick wall.  Once you’re inside it’s a beautiful space, the hostel looks lovingly converted, and the restaurant and seminar rooms are thoughtfully designed. Perhaps because it was rescued by a local group with the needs of local people in mind.

We found a spot under the awning an dug into the Sunday brunch buffet.  I have to say that after my initial excitement about Sunday buffets when I first arrived in Berlin, I’ve now rather changed my mind. The quality at buffets is often poor – sliced meats and cheeses from Lidl – and I rarely feel like I’ve eaten well afterwards.  Having said that, the Krokodil buffet wasn’t bad; there were several hot items, including pork and sauerkraut; dauphinoise potatoes; and, chunky chips; plus a variety of meats (rare beef, salami, etc), smoked fish (mackerel, salmon, eel, trout) and a mix of different salads (including tomato & mozzarella and potato). My only complaint would be the lack of a big green salad – something I tend to eat with every meal.

Image 3: The Beach with Hostel and Restaurant

Image 4: Restaurant Krokodil

The regular menu, and changing wochenkarte (weekly specials) look good – although there are a few too many main dishes with fruit in for my liking (fruit in a main dish is rarely done well imho).  I was slightly annoyed that I hadn’t held out and extra hour for the menu (before a certain time – sorry I forget when – you can only order the buffet) as the Matjes mit  Bratkartoffel und Salat (Herring with Roasted Potatoes and Salad) from the Wochenkarte looked and smelled particularly appetising as it whisked past my table later on.

Krokodil is particular good if you have kids – there were a few families who looked like they were regulars.  The adults can sit under the awning and eat, drink and chat whilst the kids play on the sand and swim in the well marked out swimming area.  If you’re feeling really adventurous you can borrow kayaks or rafts, or be taken on a guided tour (including multiple days with tents if you wish).  On the Sunday we were there we saw a group of kids – probably a birthday party – going out on a led tour on the raft, it looked great fun.

Image 5: The Beach

Image 6: The Terrace at Krokodil

According to their website they have quite a lot of live music events, seminar and conference facilities and can host parties or weddings. We didn’t investigate the hostel, but from a peer inside it looks clean, airy and spacious, and the proces are really good. All in all a great local facility.

I wouldn’t go to Köpenick just to go Restaurant Krokodil, but if you are there and you fancy somewhere relaxed and a bit different to eat or drink then do pop in.  Particularly if it’s a sunny day and you have kids!

After watching a couple of the bands – still playing in the town square – we made our way back though the Wuhlheide. This time we stayed on the the north bank, wending our way through the Kleingarten and exploring the ruined buildings on Köpenicker Chaussee.  Although tempted by Funkpark and numerous other (seemingly spontaneous) parties en-route we headed home along the edge of Rummelsburger See  and over Treptower Brücke.


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[1] Image courtsey of Jörg Kantel (also known as Schockwellenreiter) under a Creative Commons licence.
[2] Image courtesy of snow73, also under a Creative Commons licence.

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Written by hudsons

July 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Klagenfurt

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I’ve recently returned from Klagenfurt in Austria. Although it was mainly work, I did have the chance to try out a few local beers and a couple of restaurants.

I stayed in the new Lindner Seepark Hotel am Worthersee, a plush hotel near the lake.  Most nobable were the spa and the breakfast.  I’m so often disappointed with hotel breakfasts, even at the pricier end you’re served up scramble made with powdered egg, greasy cheap sausages and fruit from a can. Here you’re offered a variety of fresh fruit, meats, fish and cheeses, wonderful bread and eggs cooked to order (scrambled, fried, boiled or as a omelette).

Image: The Lindner Seepark Hotel am Wörthersee

On the first night I ate in the hotel restaurant – sepia spaghetti with grilled steingarneln (some type of prawn that I couldn’t find an exact translation for) – it was tastey, but the portion was so small that I ate the complete bread basket (2 rolls and 2 rye bread slices). Personally I think that the waiting staff should tell you what to expect, particularly if you only order one course.

After our first day’s work at the university we were treated to a wonderful meal at Restaurant Maria Loretta. I chose two courses from the daily specials, so unfortunately they aren’t listed on the website, but the menu does give you a good idea of what’s available. My first dish was Eierschwammerln cooked in a bacon and cream sauce with a dumpling. Eierschwammerln are in season and  seemed to be on offer everywhere.  A quick google search tells me that they are chanterelles (in english), or Pfifferling [1] (in german) – ‘Eierschwammerln‘ seems only to be used in Austria. My second course was a simply grilled fish served with a lemon, a fresh salad and parsley potatoes. The fish wasn’t one I knew, but it looked and tasted like a brown trout. All of the fresh water fish that the restaurant serves are caught locally in the lake and stored live in a big water tank – you just don’t get any fresher. I didn’t have room for dessert, although I was very nearly tempted by the summerberries with icecream and cream. All in all it was a great evening – friendly co-workers, good conversation and friendly professional service staff.

Image: Restaurant Maria Loretta [2]

A reduced group went to eat in town on the second night as some people had flown out already. After a quick visit to the central square to see the statue of St. George and the Dragon we headed to the courtyard of what’s know locally as Zum Pumpe (more correctly as Gastwirtschaft Zum Großglockner). Apparently it’s a bit of an institution in Klagenfurt, but personally I wasn’t too impressed, the beer was good, and I loved the strap line –  “The beeriest beer” – but they didn’t offer anything for the non-beer drinkers among us, and the service was pretty rude.  The goulash, which it’s also known for, looked pretty impressive but with a waitress like the one we had we didn’t want to hang about!

Image: The Dragon                                                           Image: Beer at Zum Pumpe

A short walk took us to Bierhaus Augustin, not dissimilar in look and feel to Zum Pumpe but bigger and a great deal friendlier.  We shared a selection of smaller plates as a starter – a kind of austrian tapas. These included “Schweinbratenbrot mit Kren, Senf und Gurken”, “Erdäpfel paniert in Nussbrösel mit grünem Salat und Joghurtdressing” and “Ausgelöste Klachlsuppe” – in order: “rye bread with sliced pork, horseradish, mustard and gerkins”, “green salad with potatoes cooked in buttered breadcrumbs” and a “pig’s trotter soup”. The soup was good, it was made with pot-barley and was seemed quite like a soupier version of a stew my mum used to make; the potatoes were nothing to write home about; but I loved the bread and pork. So often it’s the simplest things that taste the best. The pork was marbled with fat, and thinly sliced; it melted in the mouth. But it was the quality of the bread and the horseradish that made it into something special. At first I thought there were shavings of cheese on top, but the first mouthful and the explosion of horseradish in my mouth, nose and eyes quickly reminded me of just how pungent fresh horseradish can be. My main course was “Zanderfilet in Knoblauchbutter auf Mangold-Blattspinatgemüse und Petersilerdäpfel” (a steak of pike-perch with chard, spinach, garlic and parsley potatoes ). Another dish from the specials list, it was perfectly cooked – still moist but with a crisp skin – and the garlic, chard and spinach complemented it perfectly. Accompanied by a couple of local beers and some interesting discussions about how languages are taught in school, and the urge that we all have to clear our plates made it a great night out. The evening ended with a (passable, but not great) whisky sour in the hotel bar.

Klagenfurt itself is a beuatifult town that I’d like to go back to sometime. The people were friendly, the beer and food good and the surroundings beautiful.  If I hadn’t been in a meeting room for two days I would have hired a bike and cycled around the area.  I did find a spare hour to swin in the lake at the Stadt Strandbad though, which I highly recommend – clear warm water and a large grassed to laze the day away.

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[1] Whilst googling eierschwammerln, I also found this german phrase, which kind-of tickled me: er kümmert sich keinen Pfifferling um seine Kinder = he “doesn’t give a fig” or “couldn’t care less” about his children

[2] Photo courtesy of Anita from Klagenfurt, via a Creative Commons license.

Written by hudsons

July 14, 2009 at 7:54 pm