We are in a wintery atmosphere, so we eat at Kartoffel, a German-oriented restaurant in Utrecht. Gemütlich† What takes place there tonight is nothing less than a small culinary drama. We end up sobbing softly in the fetal position in the shower, trying in vain to wash off this currywurst assault.
But, to be honest, we should have known that in advance. Everything about the website, the dishes and especially the prices screams: eating barn. So let’s rate it as such. For example, from the perspective of the penniless student who has all sixteen types of Greek whim in Mr. Jack’s twice already (just google it, you can laugh).
Kartoffel is hidden on the quay of the Oude Gracht, for that you have to go down a few steps along the water. Inside, the space is shrouded in Oktoberfest-decor: lots of dark wood, beer glasses with handles and a stray lamppost. Nice detail: the toilet icons are wearing lederhosen and a dirndl dress. Unfortunately, the service doesn’t do that. But their blue checkered shirts also fit in perfectly with the decor. The wait staff is mostly uninformed (the weekly special is “something with pot roast in sour sauce…”) but they do have a flair: friendly, cheerful and helpful.
Also nice: you can set up your own music via your smartphone. For that I have to download an app, which, despite all the time and effort of the staff, we can’t get it to work. The manager is not the worst and wants to play Rammstein after 23 hours – he already knew what ‘prank’ I wanted to play (I opted for ‘Left, 2, 3, 4’).
In any case, the music is temporarily drowned out by laughing students who pound the table with their fists and chant German songs. Fortunately, this is not seen as salonfähig with Kartoffel either, and the cook skillfully intervenes after the fourth stanza.
On the map
I put it off as long as possible, but now I really have to say something about the food. The holes in the bottom of the flammkuchen suggest that it comes from a package. But hey: that thing costs 4.50 euros (!) and it has melted cheese on it. Goes in just fine. The currywurst (11.50 euros) comes with a black course of sauerkraut stew, a puddle of indefinable gravy and an aha-erlehbnis: this is reminiscent of the mess I once ate on a Berlin street corner at three in the morning.
What’s really cool is that this curry-bratwurst combination is also offered vegetarian (12.50 euros) – the same meat substitutes that you can also get in the supermarket. Not much wrong with that. The sauce is equally indefinable, but different.
The Schweinshaxe (14.50 euros), a large piece of braised pork with bone, is the tastiest of the evening. The sauce is again a binding agent flavored with salt. The frozen rösti rounds are … erm … crunchy. But hey: it’s a good base for an evening of heavy drinking.
The dessert (prefab strudel in a puddle of custard, 3.50/6 euros) takes quite a while, because the wifi sometimes doesn’t work in the kitchen. But hey: it does provide a free schnapps with the coffee.
The fact that no distinction is made here between liqueur (sweet) and eau de vie (twice as strong) can lead to surprises. But hey: we came for the beer anyway.
And let that be the only downside from our perspective: it takes a very long time for the beer to arrive…
Kartoffel is really completely unpretentious and therefore very sympathetic. You can quickly slide something in for little money and are helped by lovely cheerful people.
As for the food itself, it was warm and we didn’t get sick. The beer tasted good. I really don’t know what number to put on this…
You know me a bit by now and I assume you do too, so make your own estimate based on the above. I do trust you.