Saturday, January 19, 2008
Kurz and Lang, Cowcross Street
I was emailed a link to Kurz and Lang ages ago and it was also mentioned in Time Out's recent list of best sausages, so I thought I'd seek it out over the Christmas break.
On the day I went, the whole Smithfield's area was very quiet (being a non-working day) but I could tell straight away that Kurz and Lang was in a fantastic location - right across the street from the famous Smithfield meat market.
However, the sausages they sell are not made from the meat that's available on their doorstep but are flown in from Germany. This is obviously great for authenticity but it does seem like a waste of airmiles when the market is just a few metres away.
Never mind that, what are the sausages like? I tried two varieties, the classic Bratwurst pork sausage, and a Krakauer which is made from pork, beef and spices. Rindswurst, Käsewurst and other varieties are on the menu.
The Bratwurst I had plain style, whilst I had the Krakauer 'currywurst style' which basically means it comes smothered in curry sauce. Fries and bread were on the side.
The sausages are cooked on a hot plate. They have the texture of a typical frankfurter or wiener i.e. tightly packed into the casing and obviously processed. There's nothing wrong with this style of sausage but for me it only works as part of a hot dog. On it's own, the texture is a bit dull and doesn't eat that well.
A bread roll was served but it was just plonked on the side which means you have to manually assemble your wurst-in-a-brotchen. I did my best but the roll wasn't fresh (again, probably due to this being a non-work day) and on the whole it wasn't a great eating experience.
The currywurst sauce is a sweet, gloopy confection that is probably exactly what you would get from a Berlin street vendor but wasn't particularly tasty. It reminded me of a dipping sauce you used to get with McDonald's chicken nuggets.
I think Kurz and Lang offer a genuine taste of German street-style sausages but it could be so much better.
For example, they could try serving the sausages in bread to start with; perhaps a soft, yielding bun that properly sets off the flavour contained in the sausage. With several different sausages on offer, more varied condiments might help too (ketchup, mustards and sauerkraut are on offer). And it would be great to be able to try fresh sausages made on the premises, or at least ones that use produce from the nearby market.
In summary, the sausage and bread magic just wasn't there! They serve nice sausages and it's interesting to get an authentic taste of German street food, but it could potentially be much, much better. I will try go back there again, though, on a work day to see if things are any different.
3 out of 5. Worth going to satisfy your curiosity.