Still in shock about the rude treatment I received from the owners of Just Pure The Bistro in Hermanus two days ago I went to the very Bavarian-looking Dorf Krug and found a haven of friendliness and good wholesome Bavarian food.
Outside on the terrace they have placed Bavarian-coloured barrels, which attract attention to the cottage building. The interior is not German at all, other than the Deukom German TV channel broadcasting the Winter Olympics, and the tables and riempie chairs do not suit the theme. The odd Bavarian and German flag can be seen. Very large paintings fill the walls, but do not link to the Bavarian theme. The name was puzzling me, being the ‘Village Jug’ directly translated. I was told that the owner, Dr Brigitte Riedelsheimer, is a Bavarian swallow living in Düsseldorf and at Arabella. She has owned the property for some time, having leased it to a second hand furniture shop previously.
The outside seating area behind the building was a complete contrast, with long tables and benches with cushions covered in the Bavarian blue and white, and plants softening the edges. A massive mural of a Southern Right whale is in the parking area, painted by a Bot River artist. The delightful Manager and Chef Wilna Rautenbach made all the difference, being welcoming immediately, sitting down to chat, and providing all the information that I needed. She remembered that she had last seen me about 18 years ago when she was a waitress at St Tropez, the best restaurant Hermanus had at the time. She worked at Heaven at Newton Johnson and at Mosaic Farm in Stanford subsequently.
The restaurant is popular amongst Afrikaans and German locals especially, and German tourists too, enjoying the Bavarian beer and food. The cutlery is presented in a beer mug, with a blue and white material serviette with a heavy duty cutlery set, more suited to steak. A two page menu on a clipboard is brought to the table and a board with specials has additional items. The specials included an interesting sounding Spinach Strudel (R65), Bockwurst and chips (R49), a Ladies Schnitzel (R79), a Sausage platter served with Sauerkraut and chips (R150), and a croissant and coffee (R35). The main menu includes mainly sausage dishes, mostly served with mash and sauerkraut, including a Berlin style Currywurst served with chips and a curry sauce (R49); Münchner Weisswurst which is normally served with a pretzel and sweet mustard, but which Wilna prepared with potato mash and sauerkraut with cumin for me. The sausages were served in a big Weisswursttopf with hot water, to keep them warm, and a matching Zenftöpferl for the mustard (R72); Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (R72); Eisbein (R145), grilled Haxe (R165), Wiener Schnitzel (R110), Strammer Franz, rye bread topped with panfried meatloaf and two fried eggs (R65); and Allgäuer Käsespätzle, an egg noodle/dumpling (R69). For starters one can enjoy a Leberknödel, Lentil, or Gulasch soup (R39 – R55), or Herring salad (R61). Nathan the waiter brought a wooden board with excellent rye bread, butter, and schmalz, a chicken or goose fat spread, topped with fresh chives. For dessert one can order Kaiserschmarren, described as ‘torn pancakes‘, in two portion sizes (R49/R75); cherry ice cream and cherry compote, which Wilna had cooked herself (R35); and Apfelstrudel (R35).
Wilna sources special organic potatoes from Stellenbosch, her breads from The Eatery in Hermanus, and the sausages from Raith.
The beverages are posted on boards, the wines being proudly-Hermanus (Newton Johnson Felicité range, and La Vierge), with the exception of Porcupine Ridge. The wine vintages are not indicated. Only the house wine is available by the glass (R30). Imported beers offered are Erdinger (but to be discontinued shortly), Paulaner, Maissel’s, Franziskaner, Warsteiner, and Krombacher, in a price range of R40 – R58. Local craft beers sold are Blond Trippel, Amber, and Krystal.
Nathan told me that he is learning German, but took exception to me telling him that ‘Apfelstrudel’ does not have an umlaut, as he had written it on the bill. The food quality, service, and friendliness was very good, especially relative to what I have experienced in Hermanus at a number of other restaurants in the past month, and the back seating area is an oasis from the bustle outside. Some good German oompah music would have rounded off the restaurant perfectly!
Dorf Krug, 19 Long Street, Hermanus. Tel (028) 312-1073. www.dedorfkrug.com Facebook. Tuesday – Thursday 11h00 until 17h00, Friday and Saturday until 20h30.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage