If you fancy Spanish fare in an understated restaurant, Al Andalus is the right place.
Al Andalus is one of the top recommended Spanish restaurants in Köln on Yelp, and we went on a quiet Sunday night to give it a try. It’s on GladbacherStrasse, close to ChristophStrasse and Media Park. Finding a parking was a mini-nightmare, as it’s a busy commercial and residential area. We found one about five minutes away (after circling the area four times); the way from parking to the restaurant is mostly cobbled, so I’d recommend you be careful with heels.
We were one of the two couples in the restaurant. It’s a dimly-lit, eccentrically decorated little place, with accolades hanging off the walls in frames, alongside antiques and symbolic fixtures (swords, pottery, wooden masks, etc). It has massive windows, so it’d be a beautifully bright place during lunch hour (which I assumed would be a busy time, considering the location).
A server presented menus, and reappeared five minutes later. We were still deciding, and asked for a few more minutes. Once we were ready, we asked for Plato de 3 Tapas mixtas for starters, Cuadril Mexico and Pollo al ajillo for mains, and Sangria Tinto de Verano and green tea for drinks.
The server struggled with English, and you know the proficiency-level of yours truly in German. Another server came to our rescue, and helped throughout to make sure everything was understood.
For starters, we got three tapas, chosen by the chef. I loved the prawns in red sauce; the flavours were mild, and the innate taste was the star. Mushroom were slightly sautéed, and Lentejas wasn’t something I would have picked as I am not a fan of legumes.
Cuadril is beef steak with corn cream sauce. It came with a side of potatoes. I wasn’t asked how I like my meat, and I didn’t specify either, so what came out of the kitchen was slightly chewy but delicious. The sauce had a distinct taste, and I alternated the meat with sour cream (that came with bread basket) and corn cream sauce. There was also a wedge of orange; I scrapped the pulp and used it as a topping. Quiet delicious.
As for the sides, I don’t like those potatoes – haven’t developed a taste for them yet. Still very German (or maybe Spanish?) for me. I wiped the plate clean, sans potatoes obviously.
Pollo is fried cockerel, with garlic sauce. It has two big pieces of meat, side of potatoes, garlic-y sauce, and a wedge of lemon and orange. It was well done, and the meat was succulent. It could use a bit of extra flavouring (or so says my garam masala exploited Pakistani tongue). Again, potatoes weren’t appreciated.
Sangria was delicious as well – it was mild and refreshing. Green tea was served too soon (again, we didn’t specify that we’d like it after the meal).
We didn’t find anything appealing for dessert. If I hadn’t had the generous serving of steak, I might have tried the Spanish pudding. It sounded yum, but I couldn’t stomach it after the main course and over indulgence with bread basket.
It was attentive – a bit too attentive perhaps. Maybe we got that special attention as we were the only ones there.
VALUE FOR MONEY
We were billed €39 for the entire meal. I found it slightly expensive for the quality of food. I would have been a happy camper if my steak wasn’t chewy, and if I could have replaced those potatoes with something else.
It’s a decent place, and worth at least one visit. I loved the interiors, that Sangria would be amazing on a hot afternoon and they do their sauces like Elvis Presley did Love Me Tender.