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Derby, Derbyshire
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Dinner At The Newly Opened Stein Strasse in Derby

Published On Monday 11 Dec 2017 by Sticky Beak
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Although we live in rural Derbyshire, The Man Bird and I love nothing more than visiting the bright lights of Derby City. The new kid on the block is German venue Stein Strasse, bringing you Germany’s finest cuisine and beverages - with a bit of Oompah thrown in for good measure!

The premises are very open plan with distressed wood floors, beer barrels along one wall, and exposed bricks around a feature open fireplace. Pumping Euro-pop music was setting a lively atmosphere, but there is a stage area at the back of the venue that hosts Oompah bands playing authentic Bavarian tunes.

The female staff were channelling their inner “Heidi’s” in gingham mini-dresses with their hair in fraulein plaits; Richard, our server, wasn’t wearing Lederhosen thankfully (I don’t think I could’ve stood the excitement!) but he did have on a co-ord gingham shirt.

Stein Strasse is very, very newly opened and it still has that gorgeous “box fresh” smell to it - or perhaps that was the discreet Christmas tree in the corner? This brings me to another point; apart from some suspended snowflakes in the window the delicately dressed tree was the only nod to the Festive season, making it the perfect refuge if it’s all a bit too much everywhere else in the city and your eyes just need a rest!

There’s no escaping the huge bar, it dominates the space. There is however plenty of seating for those wishing to partake of the Bavarian dishes that Chef Kez serves from his kitchen, and the round tables at the front have lovely mid-back chairs to perch your bottom on. Just to the side of the bar there is a picnic bench-style table and seating, which is also to be found in the back area near the stage.

The cutlery and napkins are presented in a mini wooden barrel and I loved the arrangement of the napkins in the Red, Yellow, and Black colours of Germany’s national flag - very cute!

Richard spoke in German to us throughout the night, but did take pity on our total lack of “sprechen sie deutsch”-ing and vacant uncomprehending faces, by repeating the sentences in English. We ordered the Weisswurst (traditional Bavarian sausage from minced Veal and Pork back Bacon) for His Nibs, and the Bayrischer Ghoulash for me as main courses.

All Stein Strasse’s Wurst is served with Sauerkraut, Skinny frites, and mild German Mustard; The Man swapped the frites for Bratkartoffein, which are fried diced Potato chunks with Smoky Bacon and Onions.

My Ghoulash is Chef Kez’s Grannies recipe; this rustic stew comprises slowly braised meat in red wine, Paprika, Tomatoes, and Herbs and is served in a hollowed out Sourdough Cottage loaf. I ordered extra sides of Sauerkraut and braised Red Cabbage with Cinnamon and Apple – yes, I love Cabbage!

Three huge Wurst were nestled on a bed of mixed leaves and the Potato and Sauerkraut were presented in separate bowls, as was the sunshine hued Mustard. The Boy Wonder tucked in and was very taken with the thick, meaty, herby Wurst; the meal was deceptively filling because it looks a fairly manageable amount on the plate, but it took some determination to finish.

There was a lovely smoky note to the Potato dish from the back Bacon and it had pervaded throughout the Potatoes and Onions; against the Wurst it went exceptionally well. Sometimes fried Potatoes can be overly greasy, but the ones at Stein Strasse didn’t fall into this trap, meaning that all the flavours were true in the mouth.

In England we tend to make our stews with a fair amount of sauce to them, so I was very surprised by how little juice there was to my Ghoulash. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t detract in any way from the deliciousness of this stew and actually made perfect sense given that it was served in a hollowed out bread loaf. It was absolutely ram-packed with beautifully tender beef chunks and slices of potato and the sauce was very rich and tasty.

This was another fine example of soul-nourishing comfort food that you just can’t beat in winter. When I’d finished the Ghoulash, I dipped the bread in His Nibs’ Mustard and savoured its wonderful heat (it did make me sneeze a couple of times though!).

We both loved the Sauerkraut, which given The Man Birds’ pickiness when it comes to vegetables took me a bit by surprise. There’s a common perception that it is crunchy and quite sour due to the fermenting liquor, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. The Sauerkraut was very mild and surprisingly soft in texture and accompanied the hot food brilliantly; I could just pile this on bread and eat it as a snack to be honest, it was delicious.

The Red Cabbage was cooked until softened; apple provided a superb gentle sweetness and this combined with the lovely warmth of the Cinnamon to make a lip-smackingly good side dish. Both our plates were clear as Richard came to take them back to the kitchen :)

As soon as I spotted Apple Strudel on the dessert menu I didn’t bother looking any further; that, for me, is the epitome of German puds. This morsel is a very traditional dessert for Germans and is made from layers of sweet pastry with a soft apple filling. I figured that if a German eaterie, with a German Chef, couldn’t make a good strudel then it was lights out, game over! All I can say is “wow!”. Kez makes an absolutely belting Apple Strudel.

The pastry was nice and light, beautifully sweet but not overly so, and the apple was gently spiced and soft in the mouth. A small scoop of good quality Vanilla Ice Cream gave a delightful creamy element to the pudding; again, it was one of those things that soothe the soul.

The Man Bird decided to try the Danube Wave Cake; a two tone sponge with dark chocolate and butter cream. It had a gorgeous, thick layer of Cherry at the bottom and more Cherries were served with it. It was surprisingly light on the tummy; I think another common misconception is that German desserts are very heavy and stodgy, but our experience was very much the opposite. His Nibs cake also had a scoop of the creamy Vanilla Ice Cream with it.

A couple of coffees brought the meal to an end and we headed out, back into the cold night air. The staff had all been so lovely throughout the evening, quietly but efficiently going about their business. It was a shame that assistant manager Rachel Williamson couldn’t meet us in person (given that we’d been emailing so frequently) but it was lovely to meet the manager himself, Jason Field.

It’s definitely worth going and sampling everything Stein Strasse has to offer; we went midweek and it was very pleasant, so at the weekend I can imagine it will really come alive! Hot Wings definitely deserved for the food and service :)

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