Sooner or later in Munich, you’re going to encounter some stunningly rude “service”. Britain’s service culture sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, but I’ve never had “Yeah? What. Do. YOU. Want?” barked at me in a pub here, as I have many times in Muenchen. The blokes in charge of the barrels in the beergardens are the worst, as if angrily dispensing short measures gives them some sort of exhalted status. Restaurants and bars are usually better. The older waitresses often have a carefully-cultivated brusqueness, which along with the dirndl is all part of the act. It’s a characteristic also found in Blackpool landladies and East End matriarchs.
Refreshingly, the service has always been reliably good at Andechser Am Dom – It’s an outlet of the eponymous Bavarian abbey, and very, very good it is too. The staff are young, friendly and they actually smile. The restaurant is owned by Sepp Kratz, a Munich bigwig who also owns the Hippodrom at Oktoberfest, and who last year (in)famously refused Michael Jackson’s dad Joe entry to the tent. Kratz is also the image of Odilo Lechner, the recently-retired abbot of Andechs, which leads to a bit of confusion when looking at the photos of the proprietor and his famous (Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger) chums on the wall.
The Dom’s food is excellent – all of it from Andechs organic farms – and the beer’s even better, brewed by monks at their monastery overlooking Ammersee. The abbey is well worth a visit, an hour or so trundle to the the end of S-Bahn 5 at Herrsching, and a wander through the woods and fields until you see the Kloster itself, looking exactly as it does on their logo. Your reward for the climb is the Andechs beer garden, which if you’ve got there at a weekend will be ferociously busy. I’m a sucker for the deliciously crisp and pure Andechs Helles, and I just wish it was easier to find in the UK.
Warning: A post-beer walk back to the station in the 9/10ths blackness of the woods is a good way to fall down a hole and lose some very expensive sunglasses.