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Schwarzwlder

We revisit an old-time favorite for an authentic and hearty German meal.


By Heinz Bulos
April 2004

you`re old enough to remember,
Schwarzwlder, the German
restaurant, used to occupy a
prominent place in the Old Greenbelt,
ronting Makati Aenue. I remember the
irst time my dad took us there or dinner.
1he place had an Old \orld eel-dimly
lit, heay wood, cast iron. 1he sausages
were illing and succulent. 1he sauerkraut
was, well, it grows on you.

Schwarzwlder now has an entirely
contemporary look since it moed to the
ground loor o 1he Atrium along Makati
Aenue. But the menu remains largely
unchanged.

I`m here with Ralph Peter Jentes, the 66-
year old German owner o the restaurant.
Jentes came to the Philippines in 191 and
sered as the general manager o the
lyatt Regency or seen years, and later
managed a chain o hotels.

In 1980, he opened a ranchise o
\ienerwald, a popular Viennese chicken
chain which had around 1,500 outlets at
that time. 1he Manila branch was the irst
ranchisee in the lar Last outside Japan.
As ate would hae it, the chain pulled out
o Asia and Jentes took the opportunity to
run the restaurant on his own.

le decided to call it Schwarzwlder,
literally someone rom Schwarzwld, a
mountainous area in the south-western
part o Germany near the Swiss and
lrench borders. Schwarzwld means
Black lorest and it happens to be a
aorite holiday destination in Lurope,
amous or its ir trees, historic cuckoo
clocks, colorul peasant attires, century-
old monasteries, and spotlessly clean
thermal springs. And it happens to be
where Jentes came rom.

Jentes decided to gie the restaurant a
light and airy` atmosphere three or our
years ago. But he kept a ew dcor rom
the old place, like iron stands and the red
ceramic lights-I saed eight or good
luck,` says Jentes-which add charm to
the interiors.

le explained that he made the moe,
although he was oered a choice corner
spot at the new Greenbelt, because he
didn`t want to be surrounded by ity
other establishments.` le allows though
that there are adantages to that,
particularly during dinner as the area has
become the latest hot spot in Metro
Manila.

Still, Schwarzwlder enjoys a steady low
o customers during breakast and lunch
,dinner time is a bit unpredictable,. 1he
breakast crowd enjoys the restaurant`s
buet with lilipino,Continental dishes.
Interestingly, Jentes says that while there
are German nationals and other oreigners
who eat at his place, about 95 o
clientele are lilipinos. \e cater to a
mature clientele, orty plus years old, but
we also hae a lot o people who come
here with their parents as little kids.` le
says that they`re trying to attract the
younger crowd as well as the middle-age
proessionals who come in with their
laptops ,most customers are business
executies,. 1hat gae Jentes the idea,
with the prodding o his son, to work on a
\i-li hotspot deal with Bayantel.
Schwarzwlder also has a unction room
that can it around 28 people, which
customers can use or meetings.
I

Jentes explains the appeal o
Schwarzwlder to lilipinos: \e gie
good ood or a relatiely reasonable
price.` le adds that the riendly serice
and clean toilets are plus actors as well.
But in the end, it`s the delicious and heay
meals that make customers keep coming
back. lilipinos loe to come here or the
pork knuckle,` he says, which is ordered
either boiled or crispy. Schwarzwlder,
and German cuisine in general, is oten
associated with sausages, and the
restaurant oers a wide ariety-
kalbsbratwurst ,eal sausage,,
knoblauchwurst, St. Gallen schueblig,
hausmacher, nuernberger rosbratwuerste,
rankurter goulash, and twin wienerli
sausage.

But Schwarzwlder is also well-known or
chicken. 1he restaurant oers German
spit-roasted chicken, herb-and-mustard
chicken, breaded Viennese chicken,
among other choices. \hat I`m haing is
Swiss larmer`s Chicken, one o their best-
sellers. It`s a illing and tasty meal, with a
rich sauce and bits o mushroom and
bacon.

Prices are indeed reasonable and ery
much worth the taste and sering size.
1here are some orty items in the menu.
Soups range between P95 to P115, salads
between P15 to P295, and sandwiches
aerage P25. Sausages, chicken, seaood,
and pasta are priced rom P245 to P450.
By the way, their take out menu is priced a
bit lower.

Jentes has long been an insider o Manila`s
high society in the seenties, but now, he
says, the scene has changed. 1hen, only
the adults went out and the kids stayed
home, but now, it`s the youngsters that go
out, he obseres. le adds that lilipinos
hae become more adenturous, as seen
by the explosion o dierent kinds o
cuisine. Schwarzwlder has a bey o loyal
customers, including politicians and
ambassadors. Most customers are repeat
business,` he says. Jentes is also proud o
his collection o wine and brandy, a lot o
which is aailable only in Schwarzwlder.

One thing that strikes me about
Schwarzwlder is that it`s just a great place
to hang out. It`s relatiely quiet and
isolated and is ar rom the maddening
crowd. It`s a perect nook to read a book
or magazine while sipping coee or wine.
And it`s a cozy spot to chat with riends
oer a huge sausage platter. My chat with
Ralph Peter Jentes eentually dierts to
society and politics, and it occurs to me
how his decades-old German restaurant is
indeed such an ideal place or hearty ood
and liely conersation.

Visit:
Schwarzwlder
Ground lloor
1he Atrium
Makati Aenue
Makati City