Raise your hand if you think food is a big part of any culture, and that you have to have local food to truly experience a destinations?

Now we can’t hop on a plane and travel to far off places as often as we want, but there is no stopping us from trying out different cuisines. This time, we are off to try South African fare at Bobotie in Cologne.

Located on Marsilstein straße in Altstadt-Süd, it is a cosy restaurant that can seat approximately 30 people at once. The entrance is unassuming, and only a yellow sign board beckons you to this gem of a place.

I went with three friends for lunch on a weekday, and found the restaurant empty. Hence, you can walk-in and might not necessarily need reservation. Interiors are all wood accents, with life-size paintings and graffiti on walls for a faux cave vibe.

We were greeted and attended by a lovely lady, who was well-informed about the menu and quick to offer suggestions according to our preferences.

Bobotie offers an à la carte menu, and a daily menu as well. We decided to order mostly from the latter; we had Samoeas and Potato Wada for starters, Potje and Gemüsepfanne for mains, and a selection of coffees to end the meal.

Samoeas at Bobotie, Cologne.

Samoes, three vegetable stuffed pastries, came with a side of delicious sauce. It had the right amount of crisp and generous stuffing, and the mango seasoning in the dip complemented it perfectly. Potato Wada, on the other hand, were child-friendly, crispy oblong potato cakes, with mild seasoning and tangy flavour.

Potje at Bobotie, Cologne.

Potje, short for Potjiekos, is a South African specialty, originally prepared outdoor in a cast iron pot. It is slow cooked, with meat and vegetables, and very little liquid. Bobotie’s version was very similar; it came piping hot in a three-legged cast iron pot, with a small side of yellow rice. The stew had meat, broccoli and carrot, and slightly more curry than the original recipe prescribes (however, I love curry and was glad that it did not come almost dry). It is slow-cooked with Dutch-Malay spices, and has the consistency of Goulash. For Pakistanis – imagine a flavourful ghosht ka salan, with vegetables, and nihari’s consistency. Delicious

Gemüsepfanne has fresh seasonal vegetables in coconut curry, with a small mound of rice in center. It was delish, however the rice serving could use some generosity. Yes, we are carb monsters!

Hour of the day only allowed coffees, so we had cappuccino and latte, and both had standard froth and flavour.

Bobotie has a lot to offer if you are looking for a good meal in a beautifully designed space. And if you opt for daily menu, you can get a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

Cost: 38€ (for 3-4 people)

Cuisine: South African

Rating: 4/5