Zum Franziskaner, Munich

In a new four-part series, we cover our recent travels to Munich and a thimbleful of the restaurants at tourists’ beck-and-call, alongside some of the more beautiful nearby points-of-interest.

If you have a lunchtime flight anywhere from an airport a good three hours away from your home, I highly recommend travelling up the night before and staying overnight in a hotel. It isn’t something I have ever done before, but in this journey from Bournemouth to Stansted Airport, I am so glad for it – so much stress was saved. Just a little shuttle bus to and from the airport; the hours beforehand spent in comfort and relaxation, at the Stansted Airport Hilton, on this occasion.

Since I was last at that airport, there have been many changes, not least the loss of my favourite restaurant and go-to place in the departures lounge – The Bridge Bar and Eating House. I forget where I ate instead; nowhere that met the same standard, that’s for sure!

Munich Architecture 1Enough about the pre-travel now; onto better things. I met my dear friend, colleague and host for the week Mr Jon Appleby at Munich airport, and he quickly introduced me to something that would become a recurring feature during my stay in Germany — the public transport. I’m not a huge lover of our own public transport in England, so you can imagine how delighted I was to find I would be using the German tubes an awful lot.

Munich Architecture 2For the locals, however, it must be a Godsend to end up in places within minutes, sacrificing only a few moments of comfort as a result. From Jon’s rather sizeable apartment to the city centre took only quarter-of-an-hour at most, and upon exiting the station, I was greeted by fabulous examples of architecture (see pictured).

As you may have gathered from reviews in which he has featured as a guest diner, being vegan, Jon is a little restricted when it comes to eating out, but I was determined to have at least one meal in a traditional German restaurant. The evening temperature was moderate enough to comfortably dine al fresco when we found a place that would accommodate our budgets, which eventually took the form of Zum Franziskaner.

Schweinshaxe:- pork shank served with potato dumplings and Sauerkraut

Schweinshaxe:- pork shank served with potato dumplings and Sauerkraut

Meat is generally what one expects of a traditional German meal, though I must admit one of my main ideas was to try a German Onion Soup (especially since it’s one of the only things I still remember being able to order when I was learning to speak German – “Ich nehme eine zwiebelsuppe bitte“. Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t an onion soup on the menu. What there was, on the other hand, was another famous German dish by the name of Schweinshaxe (see pictured), served here with Potato Dumplings and Sauerkraut.

In short, it’s a rather large shank of pork, complete with crackling and sitting in a pool of well-salted gravy. The meat itself was succulent and juicy, while the crackling was crispy to a perfect consistency. The Sauerkraut, which I had never tried before, was an interesting flavour, though I was not sure what was the point of the bacon chippings with which it was served – any sort of smoky flavour was completely nonexistent. The dumplings were like giant balls of gnocchi – virtually the same as the Lithuanian cepelinai without the crackling stuffing. These added substance to a dish that would otherwise have been just a joint of meat and some shredded cabbage.

All that and a drink for €23, but the portion size really gains the meal some points. I certainly didn’t go away hungry. All I will say, however, is expect nothing of German customer service and nothing will shock you. Put it this way, if only the English didn’t complain so much; customer service would be so much easier a business if we did it like the Germans!