October is a month full of celebrations.
Across the globe, festivals are being held, from the Ghadames Date Festival in Libya, Diwali in India and Jidai Matsuri in Japan to one of the largest folk festivals in the world, Germany’s Oktoberfest.
The annual festival began in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. As a tribute to the princess, the festival site, located in the heart of Bavarian capital Munich, was named Theresienweisse, or the fields of Therese.
Joining in the party, Trans Luxury Hotel Bandung on Jl. Gatot Subroto is hosting Oktoberfest in their third floor restaurant, simply named The Restaurant, piloted by executive chef Michael Deutsch, who, as his name might suggest, is of German descent.
An array of Bavarian beers and delicacies, such as white fish poached with Riesling butter sauce, beefsauerbraten, kummel kops and kohlrouladen can be enjoyed in an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner, says the hotel's F&B marketing & promotion manager Melody Siagian.
When I met Chef Deutsch himself last week, he talked about the dishes served at Oktoberfest.
"It's all about comfort food to accompany the overflowing beer. Nothing complicated, really," he said during dinner.
But some dishes, he added, despite the simplicity of the method, took a longer time to prepare.
Take sauerbraten, for example. It takes around two to three days just to marinate the beef alone before cooking.
The end result, I must say, was really worth the time. The thinly sliced roasted beef was so tender and tasty. The marinated sauce covering the beef also tasted subtle, yet juicy.
I also sampled the restaurant's chicken dish, which was equally delicious, as well as a German-style potato salad, pickled asparagus, potato rosti, braised red cabbage, an array of salads and the sour cabbage dish sauerkraut.
"Most of the dishes have a hint of sourness due to the addition of vinegar. In the old days, before the invention of the refrigerator, vinegar was used to preserve the food," explained Chef Deutsch.
The chef added that he stuck to the dishes' original traditional recipes rather than trying to customize them for the Indonesian palate.
"I only added chilli to my asparagus pickle because I know you guys love spicy food. I know I do," he laughed.
The joy of savoring authentic German dishes was capped with delicious German desserts such as traditional cakeklugehopf, a sweet cake with sweet white icing.
Oktoberfest at The Restaurant at Trans Luxury Hotel is available throughout October on Thursday to Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.