Fairly new to the Munich restaurant scene, Upper Eat Side is situated in Obergiesing, a former working class neighborhood in the South East of Munich. The area is increasingly popular with young families who prefer to be slightly outside of Munich’s center.
At the door we were greeted by “Jogi”. Jogi, or Jochen Klepper, runs Upper Eat Side with a few friends who all grew up together in the Starnberg Lake Region, an area of pristine lakes and spectacular alpine views just a short drive from Munich.
Farm to Table in Munich
Jochen gives us a quick tour while he fills us in on what Upper Eat Side is all about. As we learn from Jochen about the eatery’s ethos, all the details of the environment and food quickly start to make sense. The decor is simple, walls are adorned with photos of friendly cows on alpine meadows shot by Jochen’s brother, a commercial photographer. Behind the bar is a larger-than-life-sized photograph of Jochen’s uncle posing with fish. Especially when seated at the bar, Jochen’s uncle feels like the second bartender – a jovial presence that sets a relaxed tone. A connection with the nearby countryside and all the freshness and simplicity of the local culture and ingredients that entails, is coming into focus.
There is a handmade roughness to the furnishings that is a pleasant relief from the sophistication of urban Munich. Tanned leather colored chairs, handmade wooden tables with clean simple lines and warm lighting have a modern guesthouse character. The rough-hewn theme extends to the smaller details: cutting boards, ice buckets, menus – everything modern but with a nice handmade character. Jochen tells us that many of these things have been made by friends.
The simple and local-made theme translates even better into the cuisine. A chalk board menu features prominently in the dining room spelling out the day’s offerings. That’s always a good sign, a menu made fresh daily based on what comes from the lake, field and pasture.
With places like Starnberg, abundant in fresh produce, within easy delivery distance all around Munich, Upper Eat Side has its pick of great ingredients to construct its unique dishes. But Jochen, describing himself as somewhat “picky”, says that it is not easy to find and maintain the suppliers that allow Upper Eat Side to consistently deliver its vision of simple, reasonably priced, high quality cuisine. Decent pricing was key for Jochen. He wanted a restaurant that catered to a wide audience and was a good option for regular local patrons. And he seems to have pulled it off, appetizers are around 6 Euros and a four course menu comes in at around 40 Euros. The proof is in the numbers. Upper Eat Side is busy. Take my advice, if you are in Munich only for a few days, make a reservation well in advance or you might miss out.
The kitchen has been hard at work while we chatted with Jochen and now the dishes are coming out. Let’s get the meat of it, or in this case the fish. First out is the Bavarian sashimi featuring fish from the lakes around Munich. Now, immediately this is a surprise to me. Of course sashimi is nothing new in Munich but in the context of cuisine inspired by local traditions it initially seems a bit counterintuitive. But as Jochen explains, preparing the fish to give it the consistency of sashimi is actually rooted in traditional Bavarian methods. And accompanying it with pickled horseradish really places it solidly in Bavarian territory. I loved this one.
The meat and fish entrees are mostly portioned to be shared, and so it is with the wonderful entrecôte, definitely plenty for two. Or you can choose from up to six daily specials. My eye caught the one with saibling, a local trout-like fish, with horseradish foam. A very light and fresh dish.
There is a compact and straightforward wine list featuring options from Austria, Germany and South Tyrol. And since this is Munich, there must be beer. I am not a beer drinker but Jochen talked me into it saying this was not like any other beer. Good call Jochen! Much more interesting than any beer I have had. Coming from a small brewery not far from the restaurant, it had complexity more similar to wine and perfectly suited my saibling and horseradish dish.
Bread is baked on site every day and just fresh bread and local butter is a pretty good starter. Oh, the simple things of life.
After a lovely chat and more than our fill of local delicacies, we bid Jochen and friends goodbye, looking forward to our next Munich visit and a meal at Upper Eat Side.
< More fascinating vacation destinations await. Let’s go.
Just for emphasis I am going to repeat myself, book early if you are planning to have dinner at Upper Eat Side! To make sure you get a table, a booking 30 days in advance would be advisable. But you can do it online, here’s the link; www.uppereatside.de
Sorry, no credit cards accepted.
Photography and story by Daniela Stallinger
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