Germans are very proud of their bread. And breakfast here also involves a lot of bread rolls. For both, it’s definitely worth crossing over the Rhine to the up-and-coming district of Kalk (tram lines 1/9, stop: Kalk-Kapelle). This is where Engelbert Schlechtrimen runs his bakery in the third generation. As a “slow baker”, he gives his handmade loaves and rolls the time they need for an ideal result. The breakfast buffet (€8.50) in the bakery’s own café is a really authentic experience and includes cheese, cold cuts and “Metthappen” (ground pork with onion on a crusty roll). Try the Klinsmann bread roll (named, of course, after footballer Jürgen Klinsmann), a traditional rye roll.
Bäckerei Schlechtrimen, Kalker Hauptstrasse 210, Kalk, Mon–Fri 6 am–6 pm, Sat 6 am–2 pm, Sun 7.30 am–5 pm, schlechtrimen.de
The two chefs Jan C. Maier and Tobias Becker have dedicated themselves to regional and seasonal cuisine with their restaurant maiBeck, not far from the Museum Ludwig. Whether “Sauerbraten” (braised beef marinated in vinegar) from ox cheek sourced from the nearby Eifel region, or pumpkin from the Buschbeller forest with palm kale and bulgur, their sleek yet innovative interpretation of regional traditions has been awarded a star from the Guide Michelin three times now. Without too much fuss or fancy extras like espuma, mousse or spherification, the food served here really gets back to the roots. The dishes are perfectly complemented by a great selection of wines and a laid-back atmosphere. In the evenings and especially at the weekends it can be difficult to get a table, but you’ll be in with a good chance during the week and at lunchtime.
maiBeck, Am Frankenturm 5, Old Town; Tues–Sat 12 noon–3 pm and from 5 pm, Sun from 12 noon, maibeck.de/en
There is a strict etiquette when it comes to ordering a piece of cake in a German cake shop. You first have to stand in front of the cake counter and choose from the countless cakes and gateaux on display. Once you’ve made your decision, you will be given a small piece of paper with a number that you then hand over to your waiter or waitress when they come to take your drinks order. There aren’t many cafés that still uphold this ritual, but Café Jansen is one of them. This traditional coffeehouse is the perfect place to come and people-watch civilised ladies and gentlemen enjoying a slice of Frankfurter Kranz (a layered ring-shaped sponge cake filled and covered with buttercream and sprinkled with hazelnuts) or Black Forest gateau — and also get an idea of what life in the 1950s would have been like.
Café Jansen, Obenmarspforten 7, Old Town, Mon–Sat 9 am–6.30 pm, Sun 11 am–6 pm
Traditional fare is the mainstay of German cuisine and simple, hearty food is still very much celebrated here. Thankfully it isn’t only served in homes across the land, you can also tuck into such dishes at one of the many restaurants serving up excellent home cooking. In Cologne you’ll automatically end up at a “Brauhaus”, one of the typical beer hall restaurants. This one here is located a short distance from the Old Town (tram stop: Barbarossaplatz), so you can expect to see fewer tourists and more quality. And it’s not only worth a visit because of its wonderful ceiling. The menu of traditional, wholesome meals here includes pickled herring salad, potato fritters and pork knuckle. All washed down with Päffgen, a Kölsch that you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere outside the city.
Haus Töller, Weyerstrasse 96, City Centre, Mon–Sat from 5 pm, kitchen open from 5 pm–10.30 pm, haus-toeller.de
Kölsch is not only the name of the local dialect, but also the city’s very own light, top-fermented beer, which is served in small 0.2-litre glasses. But even though there are seven breweries in the city, countless pubs and way more than 20 diff erent types of Kölsch, you don’t need to feel bad ordering something else. Suderman in the Agnesviertel neighbourhood is a bar where you’ll find both: fancy drinks such as the Röggelchen (rye whiskey, Cynar liqueur, maple, orange bitters), but also a so-called ‘Herrengedeck’ (beer and a chaser), which is traditionally a beer with a shot of ‘Korn’ (schnapps produced from fermented grain) on the side. In the elegant yet unpretentious setting of Suderman, however, this has been upgraded to a pale ale with a shot of pineapple rum.
Suderman, Sudermanplatz 3, Agnesviertel, Tues–Thurs 7 pm–2 am, Fri–Sat 7 pm–3 am, facebook.com/sudermanbar
Fine dining, quick bites or the best new bars: “tagnacht” is the German- language gastro guide to eating out and drinking in Cologne. Every year in April, we present hundreds of new reviews: from fast food to first-class restaurants, from the Old Town to the outskirts. “tagnacht” also features photography and reports on the latest trends in food culture and provides an extensive selection of tips on grocery shopping, cooking and going out in the cathedral city.
tagnacht is published by the Stadtrevue Verlag — available from bookstores or at stadtrevue.de