Mon, Oct 08, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Life: Wendel’s whips up Oktoberfest feast

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Michael Wendel of Wendel’s Bakery & Bistro.

Photo: Jason Pan, Taipei Times

It’s party time in Bavaria for the annual Oktoberfest — with good food, beer, dancing, singing, men in Lederhosen and charming Frauleins in bar maid costumes.

Having visited Germany on several occasions, it’s the German-style sausages that I recall most fondly — all washed down, of course, with a mug of German beer. ”Prosit! Wonderbar!”

So when the German Institute in Taipei announced their events for Oktoberfest to take place at Wendel’s Bakery & Bistro in Tienmu, I decided to check out the festivity on Wednesday and get some German-style sausages for lunch.

The bistro was decked out for the official Oktoberfest celebration that evening, with a Bavarian theme decor, and a number of traditional German dishes on display. A stage was set up in the courtyard, with the Bavaria Show Express band from Germany playing for the official functions and party that evening.

Work hard, party hard

Owner Michael Wendel, master baker and chef, said this is the 8th year co-organizing Oktoberfest special events in Taipei, and they always receive an enthusiastic response from locals.

“Oktoberfest is a special time, and Taiwanese people can see the other side of German people. We work hard, but can also play hard, and have fun partying, enjoying good food, good beer, music and dancing,” he said.

In front of the restaurant, a queue was forming for the buffet lunch (NT$360), which includes a selection of salads, cold cuts, tapas dishes, and assorted deserts, including German Black Forest chocolate cake.

Where’s the sausage?

However, something was missing. I came to eat like a big hearty German at Oktoberfest, but my fancied German sausages were not on the buffet.

With determination to have what real Bavarian men must feast on for Oktoberfest, I had no alternative but to order the sausage platter (NT$425) dish from the menu.

Wendel’s Sausage Pan, as it is called, has four kinds of sausage: The Thuringer sausage as its centerpiece (coiled up like a snail spiral), Bavarian white sausage, German cheese sausage and Frankfurter sausage. These were served in a small frying pan, with sauerkraut and a dollop of mashed potato.

The Thuringer sausage (made with lean pork) and the cheese sausage are delicious, with good meaty textures, accentuated with their spicy and cheesy flavors.

I was also looking to relish the Bavarian white sausage. However, it was a bit too soft and a bit on the flaccid side, and seemed to languish in an undistinguished supporting role. For the frankfurter sausage, it tasted like a stronger tough-guy version of the garden-variety frankfurter wiener, but otherwise it did not win high distinction.

The slight disappointment of the two supporting role sausages aside, the experience did bring back fond memories of past delightful meals in Germany. At a total NT$468 (at NT$425 plus 10 percent service charge), it’s a bit pricey for us working journalists on a limited budget.

A server told me that the sausage platter (or another main course) can be added to the lunch buffet for an additional NT$260. During the Oktoberfest offering (ends Oct. 24), authentic German brews — Erdlinger Beer and Krombacher Beer — are available, while the buffet lunch has added special Bavarian dishes. On the Net:

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