Eating in Hamburg: Café Strauss

Café Strauss was suggested by a friend. Off we went after work. Located not far from the Osterstraße, one of Hamburg’s oldest, liveliest and prettiest streets, it’s an immediately welcoming sight.

Despite being close to a street that’s one of the cities main traffic arteries with heavily frequented bus stops and subway stations, Café Strauss is surrounded by tranquility and green trees.

Walking through an arched entrance, you first cross a pleasantly spacious courtyard I would love to try out in the summertime. Tables were still standing there, shining in the autumnal downpour. That’s Hamburg for you – maybe we’ll have just one more warm day before winter.

However, inside was just as comfortable, with guests obviously enjoying themselves. Understated, but harmonious interior in dark red, wood, candles and coloured lamps.

I hadn’t thought much about the Café’s name, Strauss, but once there my friend pointed out the small drawings of ostriches next to some of the dishes listed. “Is that really ostrich meat?” I asked our friendly waitress a shade too loudly. “That is reall Straußenfleisch,” she replied calmly.

My friend was bold enough to order something with ostrich. I am too firmly anchored in my (for me) traditional meat preferences, but maybe next time.

However, my order proved to be immensely satisfying. A baked potato or Ofenkartoffel, piled with a very generous helping of smoked salmon and accompanied by the usual sour cream, and a light green salad. To drink – local apple cider (in a Guinness glass. Sure, why not).

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I’m not a food critic, but if it tastes good, doesn’t make my stomach feel heavy and is altogether and inspiring discovery, then the place gets a gold star.

Happily there was room for dessert, so as instructed I went in search of the cake display. “Those are the remains from today,” said one waiter somewhat dismissively. The various “remains” were enough to make up a whole multicoloured creation, and I selected this lovely slice of raspberry curd cake.

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I will come again, even if deciding about the ostrich will probably take a while. But the other cakes require testing.

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