Welcome to the new feature: #foodiefriday, where I bring you one of my favourite foodie hotspots every week to tingle your tastebuds in time for the weekend. It may be based in Munich, it may not, it may be new, or old as time – think of this simply as your jumping off point into the solo dining scene. Sound good? Right, then let's get started. In focus for this week's #foodiefriday is restaurant/bar PICNIC, situated slap bang between two museums in the buzzing heart of Munich's trendy Maxvorstadt.
Without a doubt, the Tibetan Dumplings, otherwise known as 'Momos'
At PICNIC it's clear that a plant-based approach reigns supreme. But, before meat-lovers down utensils and run off in the other direction, this doesn't mean that meat can't be found on the menu. It means instead that meat is the side thought, rather than the menu's main focus as it so often is in restaurants the world over (particularly in Schweinebraten-saturated Munich). The beauty of this non-exclusive approach is that for once, vegan, vegetarian and meat friends can come together around one table and nobody is going to feel hard done by – because PICNIC's mouthwatering menu has everyone covered. Oh, and if that weren't enough, PICNIC also whispers words bound to send any foodie worth their salt (excuse the pun) into a tailspin of excitement: homemade, fresh, local, regional, organic. BOOM.
Berlin cool with a side of Munich chic, that's PICNIC. The interiors are as certainly as stylish as the dishes PICNIC serves up: big light fixtures, homely wooden surfaces set against industrial tones of grey, and bright red chairs for that added pop of colour. The trendy vibe extends to the crowd too, which is equally as effortlessly cool – this is the place Munich hipsters come to hang out. It's still a perfect spot for solos though, no matter how cool or un-cool you are: the wait staff are welcoming and friendly and the windows are wide and open in summer, making people-watching an almost encouraged right of passage when dining here.
The abundance of fresh and varied options on offer at PICNIC may make choosing somewhat of a challenge. Luckily the staff are willing to be flexible for those with eyes bigger than their tummys – I asked for one of the salads to be sized-down to starter-size, so that I could try more of what was on the menu. I went for the following: the beetroot, apple & walnut salad, the chutneys & papadum starter and the mixed Momos. The salad was proof that sometimes the foodie magic lies in the most simple – the combination of flavours was a real delight, and the addition of the avocado, plus a dressing of walnut oil, horseradish and white balsamic vinegar dressing, worked in elevating it to the next level. The starter medley of chutneys, yoghurt and pickles was also the perfect thing to graze on with an aperitif while waiting for the main course – and a great thing to opt for when dining alone and perhaps reading or working at the same time, because you can take a nibble of them every now and then.
The real highlight though, as mentioned right from the get-go, are the Tibetan dumplings – otherwise known as 'Momos'. The mixed platter is a welcomed option for those wishing to try various fillings because you can opt for 4 of one and 4 of the other. My personal favourite were the vegan Shii Momos, filled with Shiitake mushroom, leeks and parsley...mmm. Are the meals pricy? Yes, a little more than the average, but that's the going rate for the kind of high quality, fresh plates that PICNIC serves up.