Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Weekend in Hamburg

Hamburg is not the prettiest city I have ever been to, but it is one of the greenest and after this weekend I know why. It rained for about 80% of the weekend. Just as well there were enough pubs to keep me busy!

We stayed in a cheapish hotel/pension and the breakfast on offer didn't look very appetising. Which actually worked in our favour as it made us go out to a local café, of which there was no shortage of. The receptionist of our hotel recommended a good café and we didn't look back. With a great array of European breakfasts, what did we go for? – yep the English version. Cup of tea, a bowl of cornflakes, followed by bacon, scrambled eggs and salad – yep salad – odd and it didn't work because it had a rose marie sauce on it, but it was the Café Uhrlaub version of an English breakfast. Our waitress was very smiley, chatty and polite, so much it helped us to decide to go back the next day. Not sure you can call Lasagne or Chilli Con Carne breakfast, but it was the first meal of the day as we had only been up an hour, it was 12 O'Clock and wasn't sure if they were still doing breakfast dishes.

 On our first evening we went somewhere very local to our hotel, it was so local it was actually next door. It was a shabby looking pub that did traditional German dishes, so schnitzels were had all round. I had a wiener schnitzel, which was a pork steak flattened and covered in bread crumbs then fried in a lot of fat. It is traditionally made with veal, but luckily for me it was pork as I'm not a fan of veal (because I don't approve and no, I'm not going to have a debate about it). It can also be made with chicken. One of my friends had zigeuner schnitzel which is made with spicy tomato sauce and mushrooms. My other friend just had a chicken breast (which had also been flattened), grilled with parsley butter put on top. All came with fried potatos and a side salad. It was wonderfully cheap and it filled a gap, ready for a big party we where going to later that evening. Not somewhere I would rush back to in a hurry for food, but it was a great authentic pub, with wonderful staff, so we frequented on our last night for a last few drinks.

The meal of the weekend was a restaurant called Vasco Da Gama, a popular rustic Spainsh/Portuguese, where all my friends agreed, the food was good and well cooked. As we decided not to have a starter we were each given a small bowl of fresh salad to start, which was nice and crisp with a little vinegarette dressing. I had a rice dish of prawns and cuttle fish, in a rich tomato sauce which was let down by the use of a cheap stock. Cuttle fish can be easily ruined if overcooked as it becomes tough and chewy, but it was perfectly cooked and the prawns were tasty and meaty, even though there were only two of them. If they had used a good fish stock, this would have been a superb dish. Two of my friends had mixed grill and both agreed was very tasty with the Portuguese sausage being the biggest hit. My other two friends had grilled lamb in a red wine sauce, which they both agreed had been cooked well and as they wanted. They also agreed the sauce didn't overpower the succulent lamb and the separate vegetables had been well cooked and weren't like mothers overcooked versions (haha).

The worst meal was our last night, an Italian restaurant which looked very elegant, but the food served, was something from a 70's trattoria. Myself and my partner were served soggy pizzas. The others had grilled lamb, which was not cooked as ordered and was not as good as Vasco De Garma and a beefsteak which was tough and overcooked. The place was average at best and not one we will be going to again. It was so bad I can't even remember what it was called or is that selective memory?

The biggest regret, when leaving the clubs at 0400 was nothing was open, so I didn't get to have my beloved dirty currywurst, much to my disappointment. But not to worry, whilst waiting for our taxi to take us to the airport, I ran into a local supermarket to purchase some German susages and lo and behold there was a plastic box filled with currywurst which I will be having for my lunch some time this week..................hmmmmmmmm currywurst.........

So if you are ever in Hamburg make a trip to Vasco Da Gama located at Lange Reihe 67 20099 Sankt George for a evening meal or Cafe Uhrlaub which is on the same street as Vasco Da Gama, for breakfast and you could visit the website – but only if you can read German

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