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June 2001

Wat? Crocodile?

Ethiopian stew and Creole casseroles are the talk of Schwabing

creole bar & restaurant
Nordendstrasse 12
Tel. (089) 27 39 97 16
Open 6 pm to 1 am, closed Sundays

Creole cuisine is a prime example of “fusion kitchen.” At Fouquets, a Creole bar and restaurant in Schwabing owned by Dakar, Senegal natives, an extraordinary version of this style of cooking is served: African flavors, Caribbean character, Spanish spice and French elegance combined with Asian creativity make for diverse culinary masterpieces. The unpretentious eatery has only eight tables—if you are a party of more than five, a few might be forced to seat themselves on a windowsill. In any case, you will always have a view of the opulently decorated bar, with its overflowing fruit basket and copious flower arrangements. Four main courses (DM 20–30) change daily. The permanent menu features about a dozen appetizers (DM 6.60–12.50). With so many inventive finger foods to try, it is best to order a large combination platter and share. Platter variations may include mango-chili dip, crudités, fish kabobs with hot-and-sweet peanut sauce, deep-fried vegetable balls and the house specialty, “jerk croutons.” Another fine starter is the carrot-ginger soup. Main dishes are prepared with beef, poultry, fish and even crocodile (!). Vegetarians will delight in feasting on various vegetable medleys, served with noodles or couscous. Fouquets’ fish curry is a sweet and zesty blend of coconut milk, lemongrass, leeks, banana chips, orange slices and chick peas, garnished with zucchini and carrot strips. The chef’s creativity knows no bounds. Grilled tuna steak marinated in sesame oil and lime juice is served with potato wedges baked in coriander-kissed cream flanked with shrimp bread spirals and grapefruit, are a feast for the eyes as well as for the palate. Pasta “Pina Colada” is a simple but memorable meal—a child-friendly mixture of fusilli noodles and pineapple-coconut sauce you will be happy to re-create at home when stumped for dinner ideas. Chicken breast glazed with honey, chili and cinnamon will equally appeal to those who would rather have sweets than supper. The fusion theme carries over to desserts—ginger brownies with coconut cream and the Caribbean’s answer to chocolate mousse, “Pine Pitch Pudding,” will make you even more grateful that Fouquets’ owners chose Munich as their new home.

Blue Nile
Siegesstrasse 22
Tel. (089) 34 23 89
Mon., Wed.–Fri. 6 pm–1 am, Sat. & Sun. 4 pm–1 am, closed Tues. Reservations recommended

An Ethiopian meal is certainly an unforgettable culinary experience. At Blue Nile—tucked away in Schwabing behind Münchner Freiheit—utensils are not forgotten, they simply are not supplied. Instead, the various main courses are heaped on ingera bread, a soft, spongy, pancake-like sourdough bread made from T’ef, a nutritional cereal grain unique to Ethiopia, and brought to the table atop a traditional enameled platter—replete with insulating “straw hat”. Though silverware may be requested, diners are encouraged to scoop up entrées with the ingera. Appetizers (DM 4.50–6) include Sambusa (DM 5.50), two triangular pastry shells served cold and filled with a lentil mixture accompanied by a dollop of sour cream and a fiery red sauce. A spicy selection of Wat, are stew-like dishes served either meat free or with chicken, lamb or beef. The Shiro Wat (DM 14), is a lively sauce of puréed peas and lentils served from a decorative black clay bowl and accompanied by a fine, dry, small-curd cheese. Tibs dishes comprise stewed or sautéed meat. Yebeg Tibs (DM 20) are seasoned lamb strips with tomatoes and onions and yet another spicy sauce. A smooth dressing of olive oil and rich garlic that carries just the right note of nutmeg tops the house green salad. Dinner isn’t over until the ingera is gone. If you still have room for dessert, try the Mango cream (DM 6.50)—a deliciously subtle finish to an exotic feast. To accompany your dinner, order the sweet potion known as Br-lle Tedj, a honey wine made from raw honeycomb and hops. This is served in its unusual, traditional round-bottom, flat-lipped bottle (DM 6)—easily held in the palm. After dinner, experience the real thing—Ethiopian coffee. Coffee plantations originated in Keffa, a province of Ethiopia, from which the beverage gets its name. Authentic art, traditional music and a friendly staff make for a comfortable dining atmosphere.

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