More than midway into my exchange program in Germany, the German towns that have left the greatest impressions so far are the little towns dotted along the Romantic Road (a German invention of the post-war 1950s when the country was eager to rebuild its tourism industry) that stretches from Fussen in the South to Wurzburg in the North. This was also where I had my most memorable German meal to date, in a medieval-looking little town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
While the cuisine in Rothenburg is marketed as Fraconian (an independent region before it merged with Bavaria), I found it pretty similar to Bavarian cuisine, with staples such as Potato Dumplings instead of rice or potato mash.
Translated to mean Burger Cellar, I was initially highly skeptical about Burgerkeller’s abiliy to serve up authentic German dishes. We later found out that Burgerkeller was a slight misnomer. The restaurant was located in a cellar but no burgers were served here. The dim lighting and small-scale of about 10 tables added to the intimacy of the restaurant. Floor operations were handled by just 1 captain, which he did excellently. He patiently took our orders, never rushed nor gave us any dirty looks despite our incessant flow of questions regarding the dishes on the menu and still found time to go around the restaurant checking in on guests to ensure that everything was going smoothly. Kudos to the service!
Food here was exceptional as well. We took an adventurous leap and ordered the Bavarian Liver Dumpling Soup (3.80 Euros), which came as a liver meatball over a savory base. I didn’t take too much to the soup base but the liver meatball was pretty tasty and really delicate.
Our favourite main came rather unexpected – the Smoked Blood and Liver Sausages and Roast Sausages on Sauerkraut and Potatoes (9.30 Euros). I have had blood sausages before and thought I had a pretty good idea of how they should taste like but the ones here were really mind-blowing. Just when I thought that was it, I took a bite of the liver sausages and realized that it was even tastier, with a more mousse-like texture compared to the chunky texture of the blood sausages.
Coming in a close second was the Pork Knuckle on Sauerkraut and Potato Dumplings (12 Euros). I’m guessing the pork knuckle was boiled and perhaps baked given that the meat was awfully tender but with a light charred (but still moist) exterior. The taste reminded me much of canned stewed pork, just that the meat was much more tender and less fats had dissolved upon cooking (which I imagine was due to well-timed cooking).
I would have been more impressed by the Roast Pork in Dark Beer Sauce with Potato Dumplings and Red Cabbage (9 Euros) had it not been for the pork knuckle. It was pleasant initially but the meat became tougher after being left alone for some time.
Possibly the most uncharacteristically German (and least impressive) item we had was the Fried Pork Steak covered in Basil, Tomatoes and Melted Swiss Cheese on Potato Wedges (10.50 Euros). It felt like something we could have gotten at a Hong Kong Café. The only saving grace was the Wedges, which is definitely in the top 5 percentile from what I’m used to having.
Although we were stuffed and had initially agreed to skip desserts due to our heavy late lunch, we had enjoyed the food so much that we couldn’t possibly leave without at least sharing their dessert so we ordered the only dessert item on their menu which was the Fresh Warm Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream and Whipped Cream (4.50 Euros). Again, it was one of the better apple strudels we have tried so far in Germany.
For beverages, I ordered the Untereisenheimer Sonnenberg Kerner von leichter Sube (4.20 Euros), a semi-sweet wine. It really suited my tastes, so much so that I ordered a 2nd glass and will actively attempt to look out for it in Singapore.
My initial view on German cuisine was that it is unsophisticated and haphazard. Burgerkeller did much to change my perception and I’m truly grateful for the experience. Do take the chance to drop by if you are around the area.
PS: Later found out from a German friend that Burger actually means citizen. So, Burgerkeller should be translated to mean Citizen Cellar rather than Burger Cellar which I mentioned erroneously above.
Herrngasse 24, 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany
Tel: +49 9861 2126