Curry Manufaktur has long been the leading Currywurst outlet in Wiesbaden. Located on Römertor and also appearing twice a week at the farmers’ market at the Marktplatz, they do a consistently roaring trade of excellent, regionally-produced sausages, Belgian-made sauces and freshly-packaged (as opposed to frozen) chips to a loyal brigade of happy customers.
Various other Currywurst joints have come and gone in the time I’ve been here, from Curry Papst on Goldgasse, whose late night DJs and wildly flashing lights couldn’t do enough to keep the customers coming, to The Best Worscht* in Town, who positioned itself laughably close to Curry Manufaktur, covered its sausages in curry powder rated on a scale of zero (“because you find yourself too hot already”) to “Fucking Burning Injection”, and promptly closed back down. It seems that Wiesbaden likes its Currywurst done in style.
Taking all this into account, you’d think that anyone opening a new fast food restaurant in town might think twice about making it a Currywurst joint. Unless of course, they think they’re really in with a chance of stealing Curry Manufaktur‘s crown.
Well, the six-week old Curry Kartell on An den Quellen could be in with a chance. It opened at the beginning of August, a modern, clean-lined, glass-fronted affair at the top of the tiny escalators next to Vapianos. Space is a little tight on the inside, yet it doesn’t feel cramped, and they’ve a couple of larger tables outside to make up for it. It’s got a bit of a hipster vibe, from the huge black stickers of moustachioed, monocled chaps on the windows to the names they’ve given their sauces – you wouldn’t get Der Dude or Der Dandy at The Best Worscht in Town.
The drinks menu continues on the same theme, made up of Fritz-Kola & Limos, the socially responsible, sustainable must-have German thirst quencher for any self-respecting hipster (and I say that with affection – their drinks really are very good); plus beer, pale ale and a very carefully considered gin and tonic.
But we’re not here to talk about stickers on windows or hipster beverages, are we, we’re here to talk about the Currywurst. So, is the Currywurst any good? Yes, it’s good. It’s very good. And it should be: the meat is all produced within 150km of here, turned into sausages made to a Curry Kartell’s own recipe without flavour enhancers, colouring or preservatives. The chips are real potatoes, twice cooked. The sauces were developed by award-winning, three Michelin-starred German chef Juan Amador and are made using fresh ingredients. Even the curry powder is a blend supplied by Germany’s king of spices, Ingo Holland; and even the dips are – as far as possible, they say – organically and regionally produced.
The very cute menu card (photo above) includes a small selection of Currywürste, salads, dips and meal deals, the brevity of which made me very happy, since there’s nothing I hate more than endless menu options, especially “crazy” variations on a Currywurst theme (minus point for Curry Manufaktur there: the decision-making process can be very confusing for a first-timer). There are two very basic meal choices – Currywurst and chips with or without a drink – plus a vegan option that comes with salad, and a fancy sausage-free meal accompanied by a gin and tonic (!).
I picked the Schnelle Liebe (“fast love”) menu, a classic currywurst with chips and a Fritz Apfelschorle (6,90€) plus extra mayo (0,70€). There are three tomato and three fruit based sauces to choose from, each available in three levels of heat and each with its own name to avoid confusion. I went for Der Dandy, a tomato sauce dusted with a medium hot spice mix that had a wonderfully fresh, tomatoey flavour and a proper fiery kick. The sausage was excellent, juicy and meaty without being fatty, the mayo was good and the chips, twice-cooked and made from actual potatoes, were the best I’ve had in a very long time.
I know it’s just a Currywurst. It’s just a sausage and chips. But good grief it’s a good one. Three cheers to Curry Kartell: they’ve succeeded in making the Currywurst more than just a guilty pleasure and they’re giving Curry Manufaktur a run for their money. I like to think Wiesbaden’s big enough for the both of them, but I can’t wait to go back to Curry Kartell for my next one.
Address: Wilhelmstraße 52, Wiesbaden
Website: Curry Kartell
*Worscht = Wurst (sausage) in regional dialect.
Have you been to Curry Kartell yet? How do you think it compares with Curry Manufaktur? And most importantly, how do you like your Currywurst?