The Schwabing elite may still be religiously heading to the Englischer Garten (better known as the 'EG' to locals), but the latest addition to less-fashionable Westpark – Café Gans am Wasser – may well just be the thing to cement the park's status among the Munich cool crowd as THE new place to mingle, mix and be. Let this week's #FoodieFriday fill you in:
Bringing hip refreshment and cultural gatherings to one of Munich's best, yet lesser-known, parks.
'Vom Viertel fürs Viertel' (From the neighbourhood for the neighbourhood), Café Gans am Wasser is run by two young locals set on reviving a much-loved spot. Reminiscent of the ruin bars in Budapest which serve as a local gathering locations (more on that here), Gans am Wasser really does feel like a kind of neighbourhood living room – a place where everyone from the area can come together and enjoy each others company: young, old, families, groups and, yes, solos.
Westpark has long been underestimated by those not living nearby. In the likes of London it would be hailed as one of the best parks in the city, but in Munich competition is tough and the pruned gardens of the palace parks in the city centre and the famous English gardens tend to get all of the attention - from locals and tourists alike.
As a result, sadly, Westpark falls lower on the list and its unique landscaping and history tend to go unnoticed and unexperienced. The fact that it hosted the International Garden Expo 83 will come as no surprise once you've got to know this lush place a little better. The park comprises several small lakes, beautiful vantage points from higher terrain, allotments, secret gardens, and two amphitheatres (one of which becomes an outdoor cinema in summer). And now it has yet another plus to add to the list, waterside Café Gans am Wasser overlooking Mollsee, which may just be trendy enough to draw away the crowds from the traditional Munich park favourites.
And trendy it is indeed: old bathtubs turned into seats and crates into makeshift sofas, bright flower boxes, a construction trailer serving as the cafe hub and a cosy tent filled with couches to sink into after a long day or simply a lazy weekend. To say that the place has a chilled vibe would be an understatement (and yes, it's more than a little bit hipster). The real bonus though is the community feel, which is thanks in part to the various cultural activities taking place in the cafe's cosy tent, with everything from yoga to cooking classes on offer to occupy the idle.
Simple is key here – Café Gans am Wasser's menu is small but has everything needed for a summer's (or an Indian summer's) day, and best of all, it's all local. The generous slices of cake on show are from Westend's alternative and ever-popular Café Kubitscheck, whose philosophy is to 'Fuck the Back Mischung' (Back Mischung being the boxed cake mixtures which can be found in abundance in German supermarkets). There's ice cream on offer too, provided by Eisdiele Riviera am Harras for those that wish to get their cold sweet fix overlooking the water. By far the standout though, are the fries. How good can fries really be? The answer is very. These ones are homemade using potatoes from a local organic farm, and the quality produce shows. The skins are left on, they are scattered with rosemary and, quite simply, are crisped to perfection. Make sure that you don't miss out on these bad boys when paying Café Gans am Wasser a visit!