Monday, 3 February 2014

Every so often, a nice day comes along!

This will sound like a sponsored advert, but it's not - I'm genuinely enthusiastic about the place I'm about to tell you about!

With that caveat out of the way, onto the meat of today's entry!

Being a late shift bus driver tends to mean that most of my free time is to be had when most sensible people are either at work, or asleep in bed. This kind of puts the kybosh on having a vibrant and active social life, but we have to find a way to pay the bills somehow, after all.

However, once in a blue moon, I actually like to be able to get off my backside and do things, like braving central London to buy certain stuff (in today's case, a new backpack for the Living History hobby I enjoy), or hit a pub with friends, or whatever. Generally, this'll happen when I get a pair of rest days back to back, and get to reset my body clock to daylight hours. I'll then have time to do things while there's a smattering of daylight to be had on the second day.

Such a day was today, and for once, everything seemed to gel together nicely. The buses arrived just after I got to the stops, so no waiting in the cold was suffered; I didn't miss the trains (again, no waiting in the cold was suffered), and the shops had what I wanted - and I also got to do something I've been meaning to do for some time, which was visit a certain style of fast food shop...

Probably the best fast food shop in London!

"Herman Ze German" is a newish fast food business. It's the German equivalent of a fish and chip shop, but instead of fish, it serves up German Sausages and Chips; I was lucky enough to sample this form of Schnelleimbiss (literally, "Fast Snack"), as I was told it's called in Germany, back in 1993, when I was over there for a shooting competition on the Territorial Army's time and expense; I acquired, at a shop in Hamburg, in one marvellous mouthful, a taste for Brockwurst (yes, that's the spelling I used - apparently there are arguments over whether it's spelled "Brockwurst" or "Bockwurst". Go figure!), which is smoked and slightly spiced pork sausage. The closest we come to over here is Cumberland sausage, and really, that isn't even in the same class as a proper Brockwurst.

So, when I learned a couple of years ago, that a Schellimbiss shop had opened up in London, I made a note to visit it the next time I was nearby. Well, it took a while, but it was worth the wait!

There are two Herman Ze German branches at the time of writing this; the first is on Villiers Stret, opposite the eastern stairs exit to Charing Cross railway station, the other, more recent addition to the firm, is their branch on Old Compton Street in Soho.

I visited the Villiers Street shop shop just after the lunch time rush was over, at around 2pm or so; the shop was still doing a regular trade, with people popping in and out while I was there. The staff, two pleasant young ladies, were friendly, professional, and seemed to be genuinely happy in their work - that's a rare and pleasant thing to see in a fast food shop these days!

I'm sorry to say that I didn't take photos of the food, as I was too busy scoffing it down my throat (it almost failed to hit the sides!), but wow, it tasted good; the sausage was the right temperature, consistency and taste. The fries, or "Pommes Frites", were incredibly crisp, and hadn't got a trace of the sliminess that so often curses our own chips that we get from fish 'n' chip shops, and with mustard on the sausage, and mayo on the chips (Europeans tend to put mayo on chips, not salt and vinegar, that's a British perversion!) things could only get better - which they did!

To add to the excellence, the coffee, a 'Plain Flat' (British style white coffee) was absolutely bang on - right colour, temperature and flavour, and with just a hint of the bitterness that all good coffees should have (if you aren't having a snack, at least go for the coffee - it's that good!)

It all combined to bring back some very good memories from days when I was much younger, lighter, and fitter! Needless to say, I'll be calling in there again, the next time I'm near Charing Cross!

Herman Ze German has a web presence at, so you can find out more about the menu and the firm; personally, I'd highly recommend a visit - your stomach will thank you!


(OK, sorry, but I couldn't resist!)

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