Alois - as Bavarian as BMW

The minute you step into the Alois Restaurant, you are assailed by a large chequered Bavarian flag, just in case you were uncertain of what kind of cuisine is served there. It is German, but it is more than that - it is Bavarian, run by a proud Bavarian called Alois. And if you are wondering where BMW fits into all this, the initials stand for Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works).

It is not large, having only six wooden tables, and along one side is a sit-up wooden bar that serves draft Weihenstephaner wheat beer. Open along two sides, it is airy and has overhead fans for cooling, not that Chiang Mai needs much cooling right now. In front of each diner is a woven place mat, and the crockery and cutlery are of a good serviceable standard. In the background is a band playing ‘oompah-oompah’ music, to keep the correct atmosphere.

Alois had only been open for four weeks when we went to do our review, but owner and chef, Alois (from Bavaria) seemed to be more than ready to look after us and other clients. Having been in the food business in Bavaria he has all the right contacts, and his sauces, such as the sweet mustard or horseradish sauce are imported from Germany (make that Bavaria).

The menu is not large and begins with ‘Suppen’ (soup) ranging in price between B. 40-70, including a goulash (but not from Hungary). The next section is ‘Brotzeiten’ (snacks) with all items under B. 120, including a smoked trout with horseradish cr่me, toast and butter.

Germans love their sausages, and Alois is no different. There are five sausage choices (B. 80-120), followed by four salads (B. 45-85), and then comes two pages of Bavarian speciality food, with most items around B. 140, other than the large pork knuckle, stove baked with brown beer sauce, bread dumpling, sauerkraut and mixed salad and a glass of schnapps for B. 300, all inclusive!

Finally there are some European items, pizzas (most under b. 100) and desserts.

We began with a clear soup with semolina dumplings (which looked like potatoes) and it was a good palate freshener. Then we tried the white sausage Munich style with hot pretzel and Bavarian sweet mustard. This sausage is eaten by slitting down one side and removing the skin first.

Our next course was an original Bavarian roast pork on brown beer sauce with a bread dumpling (which incidentally, you break up, rather than slicing, to be authentic). The pork was excellent, with thick slices and very tender.

Another Munich style dish was presented next, a braised roast beef with Bohemian dumplings, again with the meat sliced thickly and very tender.

By this stage we were looking for outside assistance, we were so full, but Alois was in full steam ahead mode by this stage, and a plate of grilled Nuernberg sausages on sauerkraut with horseradish sauce was presented. We began to struggle, but I must admit this was a very tasty dish.

But Alois had not finished with us yet. There was a Bavarian dessert to come! This was a Bavarian cream with fruit sauce, and I enjoyed it very much, even though I normally do not eat desserts. Not too sweet and a great ending to a (huge) meal.

If you are going to Alois to eat, bring a large appetite with you. Dumplings seem to come with everything, and are large and filling. There were Bavarian dumplings, Bohemian dumplings (as eaten by Jean Paul Sartre), semolina dumplings and spaetzle, and probably more, but I’ve run out of German!

The meat dishes that we tried were particularly noticeable for their tenderness, literally falling apart with just a little fork pressure, both pork and beef.

Alois brings another dimension to Chiang Mai eating, and I can highly recommend this restaurant (and you don’t need to be Bavarian to enjoy the food). Give it a try. You will not be disappointed, and it won’t break the bank either.

Alois Bavarian Restaurant, Phapokklau Road Soi 8, opposite Golden Fern Guest House (Gast Haus?), telephone 053 278 515. Hours 11.30 a.m. until 11 p.m., closed Mondays. On street parking.