Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Taste of Hamburg

Mandeln Stall at the Dom

Rachel, Hamburg

Last weekend I scored many, many wonderful girlfriend points by organising a trip to Hamburg for the boyfriend’s birthday, including a visit to nerd heaven AKA Miniatur Wunderland.  I included a little something for myself though too as I thought that the Christmas markets, lots of glühwein and suitably Baltic weather would be a great start to the festive season and put us in a very Christmas-y frame of mind.

The first of many Glühwein mit schuss
We stayed in the fantastically central Motel One Am Michel and discovered that the Hamburger Dom was only 5 minutes away.  This was incredibly tacky but we had a great evening taking in the sights and warming up in between with a glühwein mit schuss (rum, amaretto or, our favourite, cointreau).  I treated the boyfriend to his birthday dinner in one of the ‘restaurants’ – I reckon currywurst with a bread roll, fried potatoes and a beer is comparable to him taking me to Chapter One this year, right?!

Sausages featured heavily across the weekend, indeed most of our eating was done from stands and stalls of some kind.  The most unusual thing was a Hungarian chimney cake (a spiral of pastry rolled in cinnamon sugar) and the most addictive was definitely the Mandeln, almonds coated in crunchy caramel..

Top L-R: Kartoffelchips, spiral cut crisps; Mandeln, caramel coated almonds; Crepe
Middle: Wurst, wurst and more wurst
Bottom: Hungarian chimney cake

We made an effort on Saturday night to try a proper restaurant by heading for ‘Schulterblatt Strasse’, a street I’d been recommended was full of good restaurants.  At first glance I wasn’t convinced, it wasn't an area that screamed 'gastronomy', but I'm very glad that we trusted the advice as we found a wonderful Japanese restaurant that was great value. We ordered maki (rolled sushi) for starter and a main course for two of Shabu Shabu which involved an enormous plate of thinly sliced fillet beef with vegetables, noodles and tofu, a pot of stock on a little stove, and three dipping sauces.  I think the idea is that you're meant to dip the beef in the stock for as long as it takes you to say 'Shabu Shabu'.  Ours spent considerably longer in there as we chased after it with our chopsticks.  We were too full for dessert but managed to find room, as we walked home through the Dom, for some more Mandeln and a pastry.

I would highly recommend Hamburg as a city break destination, it is so compact that you can see most things on foot and the food and drink were excellent.  It would be interesting to go back to see what the eating experience is like outside of the Christmas market season but I think I'd miss my glühwein and mandeln too much! 

Our meal at bok: assorted Maki for starter and  Shabu  Shabu for main, including the mahoosive plate of beef!


  1. I heard that 'shabu-shabu' is the sound the meat makes as you whoosh it to and fro in the stock. Sort of the Japanese for whoosh!