The emperor's banquet

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Saturday, March 8, 2014


AN OLD man heard that the emperor was coming so he waited. The heavens might fall but he did (wait). When the doors of the palace were finally opened, he entered the gates with thanksgiving in his stomach. He was the emperor’s first guest. He ordered a plate of schnitzel.

It was the 14th of January this year that something good also happened. This was the tale of the first customer of Der Kaiserhof in Banilad Town Center (BTC) as narrated by restaurant owner Ma. Liza Neumann-Atillo and husband Nico.

Der Kaiserhof is German for “the emperor’s place or palace.” Yes, you have that established—a foreign house of foreign fares for foreign paunches. But not really.

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“We’re keeping it authentic. Regardless the nationality, the diners are becoming comfortable with the menu,” the Filipino-German chef Liza smiled.

It doesn’t serve everything from the original menu but Der Kaiserhof in BTC is as imperial as the maiden branch in Barangay Zapatera, Cebu City, which was launched in June 2011.

Instead of pushing greasy picks down foodies’ throats, the new outlet offers casual European dining in quick service; more of like a sophisticated fast-food address.

According to Liza, although they meet halfway with meat and potatoes, the Philippine and German kitchens are really two different worlds. Never mind though. The locals are loving Liza’s items at the table. Nico’s favorite is her “Kase Spaetzle,” a play of homemade noodles baked with cheese and bacon bits, topped with caramelized onions.

Liza’s schnitzels are just what the elderly foreigner at the beginning of the story probably wanted. A schnitzel is described as an Austrian breaded pork tenderloin dish. Liza’s stellar versions are the bolognese, the one bathed in meat sauce and peppered with cheese and parmesan; and hollsteiner, an eye-catcher with ham, cheese and sunny side up egg. Your day has just started!

Liza’s house dressings—all of it are made from scratch; absolutely original. And like the rest of the main dishes, her schnitzels come with a glass of iced tea, salad and a side of choice—mashed potatoes, French fries, or rice in extra-large cup.

If you’re a beef fan as much as Liza is, then you deserve a Hungarian Goulash treat. The tender meat, the milky German egg noodles on the sides! No wonder, the Germans crave for it.

The German term winzer may refer to “a wine grower.” Liza’s Winzer Steak is as elegant as wine. You know that the liquid is good just by the fragrance of the initial scent. Same case with Liza’s imported steak cuts. And the aftertaste? Leaves you composed for a second round.

Maintain the western momentum and help yourself, as in really help yourself, with Liza’s Hungarian or bratwurst sausage served with sauerkraut (made with sour cabbage) and mashed potato. The sausages are downright oversized and stuffed. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

The spicy chicken wings are an equally palatable entry in the list. With all the spice and everything nice, the closest Filipino resident dish is a good tandem for beer.

Go Italian this time with spaghetti carbonara and spaghetti meatballs. Carbo-overload, yes, so good. What diet? Take the Greek salat (salad) for your veggie fix, at least.

There’s always room for dessert after a carnivorous roll. Liza served some “Hot Fudge with Vanilla Ice.” Munch the pie while it’s hot for a striking experience with the frozen topping. Let it go in your mouth. Delight in blueberry, cherry and blueberry cherry flavors.

From the Latin word tuber, truffle means “swelling” or “lump.” Packaged in rum raisin, strawberry and buko, Liza’s cutesy chocolate truffles are just so adorable you don’t want to eat them. Sweet swelling, indeed.

Der Kaiserhof in BTC invites you to a grand feast daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dig in. The emperor is not watching. And while you’re at it, Rammstein’s metal grind in the background might ease the chewing. Guten Appetit!

Pork asado
Potluck

Check out this recipe for a braised dish made out of marinated pork listed at allrecipes.com. Pork asado is originally a Chinese recipe that has its own Filipino version. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 kilo pork pigue
2 tsps five spice powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 pc. bay leaf
1 pc. star anise
1/4 tsp salt
1 - 2 cups water

Directions:

Combine soy sauce, five spice powder, garlic and salt then mix well.

Marinate the pork in the combined mixture for at least one hour. Heat a cooking pot then put-in the pork along with the marinade and water then let boil.

Add bay leaf and star anise.Add brown sugar and stir to distribute evenly.

Simmer for about 40 minutes flipping the meat after 20 minutes or so to tenderize the other side.

If sauce dries and pork is not yet done, add more water. Boil over low fire until sauce thickens.

Turn off the heat and remove the meat from the cooking pot.

Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes then slice.

Transfer to a serving plate and top with the thick sauce.

Garnish with parsley or spring onions cut into 1″ long sprigs. Best when served with pickled papaya.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 08, 2014.

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