DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

To Nobody Restaurant

Much more than trout and sauerkraut

Joerg Eisenschmidt evokes a more than passing memory of the days of Kaiser Wilhelm - he has all the facial hair and large presence, and is undeniably German. Joerg Eisenschmidt is the driving force behind the To Nobody Restaurant, which is also undeniably German. His wife and partner, Sunisa, a young Thai lady, worked previously in Munich and spoke German. That was all I knew, as the sum total of my knowledge of this establishment, when Madame and I visited the To Nobody Restaurant to do the Dining Out review. However, we took with us Michael and Marion Vogt from the Chiangmai Mail (the MD and executive manager, marketing and communications), both of whom have a good German heritage to guide us when necessary.

This restaurant has been open for 18 months, and its location has been one of the better kept secrets of Chiang Mai. It is in Soi 2 off Sutep Road, but look for the illuminated sign outside the gate! It is easy to get lost - we did (and the taxi driver)! Take the phone number first time and ring for directions.

The restaurant itself is set in the grounds of a grand old house, and although there is a dining section inside, everyone chooses to eat outside - the atmosphere is just right. Red or blue check tablecloths adorn the tables which have the requisite German mustard bottles on top, and wooden chairs (padded) complete the dining ensembles.

The menu is in German (naturally), English and Thai, so the major groups are catered for (well, at least on our table)! It begins with two soups (70 and 90 baht) and then into appetizers (B. 100-120) with the true nature of the food becoming evident with a herring salad and Bavarian sausages on offer.

There are some salads (B. 90-100) and then you are into the first of the fish selections. These run in price from B. 140-200, but it is the next section that really brings out the interest - three cooking styles of trout from the local Royal Project - and fresh that day too, for B. 250.

Twelve meat choices are up next (B. 180-250) with pork knuckle and rump steak at the top end. There are also assorted German sausages at B. 180. These are followed by three egg favourites (B. 100-140) and a couple of cold dishes including smoked salmon (B. 200).

We began with a mixed fish plate featuring four different fish cooking styles with herring, trout and mackerel, taken with dark German bread and washed down with a beer (yes, German beers are available), though Madame stuck with the house white wine (B. 100 per glass for an eminently drinkable South African). There are also wines for selection at around B. 700 per bottle.

From there we tried the assorted sausages which had all individually different tastes (the knackwurst was my favourite) and then we had a huge plate with pork knuckle, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes and a trout which just melted in the mouth, a very sweet fish.

By this stage we were all (collectively and independently) totally full, but then Joerg brought out some German Xmas cookies, all covered in dark chocolate and I had to indulge. These were simply sensational!

It turned out that Joerg, a fully trained accredited chef, makes everything himself: sausages, breads, pastries, smoked and cured items (he has his own smokehouse at the back) - a complete one man band, cooking to order. Amazing!

To say that Miss Terry enjoyed the evening at To Nobody would be an understatement. Miss Terry admits that she ‘pigged out’ in the biggest possible way. The food was excellent, with a range of tastes I have not experienced before in Thailand. You do not have to be German to enjoy this restaurant (on our evening 80% of the diners were Thai) and we can give To Nobody a very highly recommended rating. You will not be disappointed, but don’t eat for the 24 hours before going - you do need to leave enough room!

To Nobody, 99/8 M. 10, Sutep, Meang, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 278 794. Open 5 p.m. - 11 p.m., closed Tuesdays.