Food and Drink | 15.12.2009Even the Kartoffelsalat is a good idea. See - Curry Queen.
Saucy sausage curries favor with food critics
A restaurant in Hamburg is going all out to cast the currywurst in a prettier light
The good old German currywurst is poised for fame. A restaurant in the northern city of Hamburg apparently does the dish so well that it even squeezed a tingle out of the hardened taste buds of the Gault Millau critics.
Exactly who invented the currywurst - that is to say, who came up with the sloppy idea of dousing a boiled sausage in ketchup and curry powder - is one of those disputes which will go on forever.
Hamburg, Berlin and the industrial Ruhr region all lay claim to this culinary delight, but if, as the saying has it, the proof is in the eating, then the city on the Elbe is the winner. And that's thanks to Curry Queen, a little place which left a pleasant taste in the mouths of some of the world's toughest food critics.
Curry Queen in Hamburg - queen of the curried sausage
When owners Sascha Basler and Bianka Habermann received a letter informing them that they would be featured in the 2010 edition of the highly renowned Gault Millau eating guide, they couldn't believe it.
"We thought it was a fake," Basler told Deutsche Welle. It was the first time a fast-food joint had made the list. But "fast-food joint" isn't quite accurate.
"We consider ourselves a wurst restaurant," said Habermann. Their large menu veal, duck, beef, pork, bison and rabbit sausages - cooked on a volcanic rock grill to keep fat to a minimum and served with different strength curry powders.
Gourmet gurus tend not to joke around and the ranking was, indeed, very real.
Basler and Habermann are relatively new to the gastronomy game. They both come from a music background, but after a decade and a half of seeking their luck in a thankless industry, they were ready for a new challenge.
The idea for their current venture came after they entered and reached the finals of an international cookery contest.
Eating in style
"We thought there was a real opportunity for a high-level snack bar," Habermann said. Thus, Curry Queen was born and for two years now, wurst connoisseurs have been enjoying exotic sausage varieties in a classy atmosphere, with dark wooden tables and deer antlers on the walls.
Guests can choose from seven different curry mixtures. There are also four different home-made potato salads on offer, as well as home-made ketchup and even organic red wine from Mallorca.
However, French fries - the currywurst's standard snack bar accompaniment - are not to be found in Curry Queen. "We wanted to have clean air in the restaurant," explained Habermann. "To put in a big exhaust fan, we'd have to renovate, and we've avoided doing that so far."
Next year, Habermann and Basler plan to open a second restaurant in Hamburg and ultimately have their sites set on a nationwide chain.
Berlin snack bars, be warned.
Most train stations (Hauptbahnhof) in Germany have sausage stands, Munich in particular having some great ones. In Berlin, these are also found on street corners. Curry Queen has raised the bar. A lot.
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