When we first arrived here in Cologne back in 2011, some friends suggested going to a restaurant for Peanut Tofu and I remember my initial reaction might have involved a request to rearrange a well known phrase or saying that involved at least one rude word. Having had my arm twisted a bit, our first visit to Warung Bayu was a memorable experience that we have repeated many times over the past few years. Every time we have friends visiting from the UK for the first time I always make the offer of Peanut Tofu for dinner and unsurprisingly I get pretty much the same answer I gave when it was first offered to me. Thankfully, I have successfully managed to convert a few carnivores. Sometimes the conversion has been pretty radical and I credit Warung Bayu’s tofu as the main catalyst for my friend John’s evolution from being a card carrying, beer drinking Mancunian to a gin-quaffing, man-bag carrying hip dude about town.
Warung Bayu is one of my favourite places in the world (yes, really) so it was inevitable that it would feature early in this blog. On the first Friday of every month we go with a group of friends to a wine and chocolate evening at a local cafe (I’ll write about this place as well one day) and we always finish the evening by having dinner at Warung Bayu. With these monthly visits and all the various trips we have made to Warung Bayu with friends visiting Cologne we have an awful lot of happy memories from this amazing little restaurant.
In the centre of the picture at the top of the post is Bayu who is the owner of Warung Bayu and on his right is Dipta (who is great at topping up the Merlot) and on the left is Marsel. They are always welcoming faces whenever we visit and the enthusiasm they have for their food bowls us over every time we visit. For the first year we never even opened the menu because Bayu just suggested certain dishes and we were never disappointed. It was a bit of a shock when he wasn’t there one time we visited and we didn’t even have a clue what our favourite dishes were called. We still don’t open a menu now and always go for Tofu (with grilled aubergine, green beans and peanut sauce), Chicken with Cinnamon and Duck with Coconut Milk.
The story about how Bayu ended up in Cologne is awesome and just the kind of thing this blog is about. Bayu has been living in Cologne for 16 years now with his German wife who is a school teacher. They first met back in Bayu’s native Bali where he had a business renting old army VW Camper van’s to tourists. Bayu’s wife was visiting as a tourist from Mönchengladbach and instead of leaving her to drive the Camper van herself, he offered his services to drive her around Bali for a few days to show her the sights. The rest, as they say, is history. Their love conquered the distance and they made a great life for themselves in Cologne. I love the fact that our monthly trips to Warung Bayu help to support such a fantastic team of people and their families.
Warung Bayu is located on Brabanter Str about 100m from Rudolphplatz in our home city of Cologne. You can read more about the restaurant on their website (in English and German) http://www.warungbayu.de/warungbayu-speci.html.
Thanks for reading. So far I’ve written just about Cologne but the next post will go a little further a field and over time I’ll hopefully get chance to talk about people from all over the world.