Welcome to the second part of the Expat Quest Series. Having been a British expat family in Germany for over 5 years we have had a great adventure learning about life in a new country. In the first part of the series, I wrote about the German tradition of Kaffee and Kuchen. Finally, we found a cafe where we could get something different on a Saturday afternoon. It was such an exciting find in a little town to the west of Cologne that I felt obliged to write about our afternoon relaxing in Cafe Parl*or. That’s not a typo, just the way they write the name of the cafe. Feel free to go back and read all about it here.
The second part of the Expat Quest Series involves an often difficult challenge that many expats face when they move to new city. Indian Food has long been the most popular takeaway food in the UK. As new parents (quite a long time ago now) our curry nights were one of the few respites we had from sleepless nights and singing “Wheels on the Bus”. There were quite a few years where it was the only grown up thing we got to do together. As the girls got older, the curry nights became a bit of a family ritual. Our youngest daughter Lucy (not so young anymore at 18) finally started liking curry just as she hit her teens. Sadly right at the point when we moved to Germany. Finding a good Curry House became a key part of our new adventure in Germany.
The Onion Bhaji Barometer
When I say that the hunt for a good curry house in Cologne has been a challenge, that would be somewhat of an understatement. In the days of the internet and Trip Advisor, we really didn’t think it would be that difficult. But how wrong we were! Over the course of the last 5 years we must have tried every Indian restaurant within a 50 km radius of the city. We would hear vague stories from friends or through school’s parent network about someone having a friend of a friend who had found the perfect Indian. But no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn’t come close to recreating the kind of Indian food we had become used to in the UK. Whenever we returned to the UK, having an Indian was always at the top of our to-do list.
During our quest for a good curry, we became governed by the Onion Bhaji Barometer. Every time we tried a different restaurant we were rewarded with yet another bizarre take on the Onion Bhaji. Some just tasted awful. But our bhaji adventure included a whole battered onion, fried onion peel (huge pieces – just wrong) and even a pizza like flat bread thing that really didn’t know what it was trying to be. The main courses were never much better either. Until we started the hunt for a good curry house here in Germany I didn’t realise quite how much variation of quality there could be with Indian food.
The Search is Over – Finding Ginti’s
After 5 years we had practically given up hope of finding a good Indian Restaurant in Germany. Thanks to a hot tip from a work colleague and some actual instructions on where the restaurant might be, we finally stumbled across Ginti’s. Annoyingly, it was barely 200m from our favourite Balinese restaurant (the one with the amazing Peanut Tofu). Ginti’s was just on the wrong side of the tracks beyond the tram line where we had been too lazy to venture. Once we did, what a treat! Naturally we had to have Onion Bhajis to start and safe to say, it was just perfect. Finally our search was over, we had finally found the Curry House we had been hunting all these years. I even managed to have a proper Kingfisher beer.
Introducing Ajay and the Team
Ginti’s is owned and managed by Ajay. When we visited, he was doing a wonderful job keeping the customers happy and organising everything from the middle of restaurant. It was really crowded when we were there but despite this service really was outstanding. It took me a while to get them all stood still in the restaurant long enough to take their photo. The food itself was worth the long search and I’m sure that Ginti’s will become a regular feature in our lives in the future. Lucy wasn’t with us this time and Ginti’s has a huge Veggie menu so we have to go back soon so that she can try it. As well as the perfect Bhaji, we also had a fab Chicken Tikka. The one cooked in a Tandoori oven. The meat was so succulent and flavoursome, we really thought we were in heaven. We also tried a Jalfrezi, as well as a Korma and both were as good as the Bhaji had suggested they would be.
You can check out the menus at Ginti’s on their website here. As well as being a great restaurant, they run Indian Cookery courses, which sounds like an awesome idea just in case we move again and the Curry House search takes as long the next time. So now we have found a good Curry House, there are just a few more things left to find. We have heard word that a Fish and Chip shop is opening soon, so watch this space.