The second in our Munich series takes us far from traditional German fare; instead exploring one of the go-to places to eat for the locals in the city centre.
English traditions and social conventions often go out the proverbial window when it comes to German dining. For example, rather than having specific tables set for each party, people just join onto the ends of tables or, even more to my mortification, sit opposite complete strangers. For me, no thank you; I’m more of a private diner, myself.
This did, however, wreak havoc a little with where Jon and I could go to eat during my stay in Munich, aside from his veganism and budget. In the course of my first full day, wherein I was taken on a walking tour of the city and the numerous gardens and parks, from a tiny Japanese Tea House that only opens twice a month to a purported nudist park, eventually settling in the Englischgarten for a game of cards in the sun, while a brass band kept the masses entertained with a number of renditions, both traditional and modern. A relaxing departure from anything one would expect to find in any garden in England.
In the thirty-odd-degree heat, the rapids of the River Eisbach were very inviting – a large, natural water slide, which eventually culminates in such a way that enables some of the local lads to surf on the water (see pictured).
One of my favourite parts of the day was visiting the market; for a food enthusiast, these are brilliant regardless of where you are – unfortunately the items I was more interested in – the fresh octopus and anchovies among them – would not have gone down well with a vegan audience. Neither that, nor the very expensive chocolates I bought from a very luxurious chocolaterie, purely as an indulgence to myself, sat well with Jon.
A place I knew we could both feel comfortable was literally just around the corner from Jon’s employers’ apartment – a little pizza and ice cream restaurant called Pinocchio, where I was taken immediately after arriving for some much-needed raspberry sorbet and white chocolate ice cream (see pictured). As they reportedly did a pizza deal for only €6, I named it as our place for dinner that evening.
Not only are the pizzas very good value for money, they are also vegan-friendly (or cheeseless, as I call it) if requested, such as one with mushrooms and artichokes (see pictured), as well as the usual tomatoes.
The anchovies I had seen at the market earlier reminded me of how long it had been since I had last had them – whether on a pizza or not. As such, my choice for pizza was a Napoletana (see pictured below), with anchovies and capers. It should go without saying therefore how wickedly salty this was. But I have never been one to snub strong and salty flavours. It had everything I was after in a pizza – especially for the price.
As for the ice cream I mentioned earlier, the raspberry sorbet had the flavour of raspberry jam about it, as though it had been mixed in, while the white chocolate ice cream surprised me with an at-first-unwelcome nutty secondary flavour, which appeared to be hazelnuts. Once I became used to their being there, it became more like a Ferrero Rocher-style ice cream, which doesn’t take much effort to appreciate.
Pinocchio is definitely a local’s pizza and ice cream café rather than impressive à la carte restaurant, but then again, it’s not trying to be something it’s not. Somewhere a person can retreat for a couple of hours. For this, it’s the perfect setting.