Ratsstube, Goethe Institute, 18/1 Soi Ngam Dupli, Sathorn South Soi 1, Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours:daily 11am-2pm, 5-10pm
The first sentiment to hit us upon entering this cozy, single-room restaurant was slight confusion: The furnishings are an eclectic mix of Lanna-meets-Bavarian ski cottage with neon-bright Thai paintings hung adjacent to cuckoo clocks. The strange design motif translated to the musical selection as well, which started off as a dramatic film soundtrack and ended with hip hop. Aside from these idiosyncrasies, though, this place somehow pulls off a somewhat elegant feel. Traditional German wooden tables and chairs, subtle lighting, and the slightly cramped feel of a grandmother’s living room create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. The room was nearly full, and we were surprised to see mainly Thais and only a few expat Germans—does that mean the food is inauthentic? Fortunately not. Either the lack of farang was just a coincidence or a lot of Thais have taken to schweinehaxe and the like. Either way, the fried pork knuckle with roast potatoes and sauerkraut was deliciously juicy, although the crust could’ve been a little more crispy for our liking. The sauerkraut is prepared with juniper berries, for which we give the chef two thumbs up, and the potatoes were just right: neither soggy nor bone-dry. The knuckle is served with two kinds of sauce: spicy mustard (and when we say spicy, we mean spicy!) and ah jad dip for those who need a little Thai touch to their German fare. On recommendation we tried their leberknoedelsuppe (a clear soup with liver dumplings), Schweizer wurstsalat (Swiss sausage and cheese salad) and a mixed veggie salad. While the latter was nothing to write home about, the Swiss salad was delicious and came with a pleasantly sour vinegar dressing. If there was one thing to find fault with, it would be the cheese not tasting genuinely Swiss (but with Thailand not exactly being dairy nation, we’ll let the chef off the hook). We then dug into the rouladen— thin strips of beefsteak filled with onions, rolled up and cooked in thick gravy, served with mashed potatoes and grilled veggies. Tender and just how they’re supposed to be, the fillets melted in our mouths. Adding to the enjoyment is a good selection of German beers. We first tried the Franziskaner helles, a light wheat beer that has a pleasant taste, then switched to the dark version when the main course arrived. Those with a sweet tooth need not fear—the menu includes a standard selection of sweets, including the German specialty the apfelstudel, a fluffy pastry filled with apples, raisins and cinnamon.