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Guglhupf Cafe

Posted by MEZ 3 Dec 2009 13 Comments

Full Disclaimer: I am already a huge fan of Guglhupf for brunch, afternoon coffee and writing, lunch, dessert, whatever. So, I was very excited to try their new dinner menu, which they’ve been serving for two months and I was probably predisposed to love it. That said, it wasn’t perfect but my review is probably a bit rose-colored. Also, I promise my next review here will be a cheap eats spot!

guglhupf at night

For their night service, Guglhupf has created a warm lighting scheme with the addition of large globe lamps in pastel shades. European jazz played quietly from the speakers.

They now offer a cocktail list as well as an affordable wine list, which one of my friends suggested was probably sourced from Wine Authorities. I couldn’t resist trying the Spiced Apple Martini.

It was made with apple cider, muddled cranberries, gin, lemon, and ginger beer. I thought the solitary cranberry garnish was an elegant touch. The ginger beer was vibrant and the spice and sourness from the cranberries, not to mention the tasty bits of fruit, were fantastic. My only complaint was that it wasn’t chilled enough.

We were offered multiple bread selections from Guglhupf’s bakery to start out. Somehow, none of us ordered one of the new entrees (Great move for a food blogger, I know). Instead, we ordered a few of the small and sharing plates. First up, my husband and I split the house-cured duck confit salad with roasted new potatoes, walnuts, watercress, frisee, and warm huckleberry vinaigrette.

The duck was good if a bit too salty. I would have preferred it off the bone to make it easier to eat as a salad. I didn’t expect the breading, but who can complain about fried poultry? The huckleberries were sprinkled about the plate and not incorporated into the vinaigrette, which made for a pretty presentation but didn’t give much flavor. The frisee was ungainly to tame but good quality.

Next up were the potato latkas with house-cured salmon gravlox, quark, watercress, capers and red onion.

guglhupf-012

Their cured salmon is always top-notch and it came in plentiful quantities in this dish. The latkes, however, were rather small and there was only a pair of them. I liked what I had but it wasn’t enough to form a solid opinion of the latkas. The quark mixed with herbs was lush and a great companion for the salmon, as were the sprinkles of caper and red onions. It was a gathering of simple ingredients, which seems to be a focus of their menu.

By this point, I was on my second cocktail, the Lorelei. The menu had little mention of what it was beyond calling it a blond twist on a cosmopolitan but I was still lured into trying it.

My guess at the ingredients is vodka, lime juice, and either pineapple or pear juice. It was too sweet and definitely not as good as a cosmo (my standard cocktail) but not bad, either. It just was.

Our second small plate was the kaseplatte (cheese plate).

It consisted of cheddar, Spanish, goat, and blue-veined cheeses. The accompanying raisin compote was very good, as were the marcona almonds. The figs were a bit caramelized and seemed dry. The bread was dark, yet somehow light and airy in texture. I’ve had more interesting cheese plates but I was happy with it.

Our friends had the beef goulash, which they thought was good. The beef was especially well liked, but they suspected from the dish’s dried edges that it had been hanging out under the heat lamps too long. They also ordered a chicken liver pate with maple sautéed pears, cornichon, mustards and house breads.

They raved about the black forest cake they had for dessert. We opted for a German-style cheesecake topped with poached pears, walnut toffee, candied cranberries, and a marsala wine sauce. Yum. Not that I’m hard to impress with dessert, but it was really good and the best incorporated dish of the night. The gummy cranberries were so delightful and I loved the fluffy texture of the cream cheese. The toffee tasted a little burnt, though.

I still love Guglhupf, but I think I’m more inclined to go there during the day, when the porch is an option or the sunlight streams through all the windows. The dishes we tried were similar to their daytime offerings, though classed up with fancier presentations. Of course, we didn’t try the entrees and it’s very possible that they provide a little more variation from the (excellent) ingredients piled and tossed on a plate that many of their smaller plates use. Don’t get me wrong, Guglhupf does that simplistic style well, but I’d be very interested in hearing if any of you have tried an entrée!

Guglhupf Café
2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.
Website
Sharing/Small Plates: $8-12
Entrees: $16-20

Reviewed 11.19.09.

13 Comments »

  • mark said:

    Nice post. I have recently just discovered Guglhupf myself and did a photoshoot there for my blog. Check it to see more pics http://www.spoonfedraleigh.com
    We have just been to the bakery but are planning to go sometime soon to try the cafe.
    I’m sure you already know the bread is excellent.

    [Reply]

  • Jeremy T said:

    We’ve only been there for dinner once, on opening week, and really enjoyed it even then. I got the schnitzel, which was excellent, and my wife got a pork dish (the details of which are sadly lost to the murky past, but I do remember it being very good).

    I’d highly recommend it for dinner. I think the atmosphere is completely different, and I really like it. But to each his or her own :)

    [Reply]

  • TSQ75 said:

    I finally visited Guglhupf recently for an early afternoon lunch. My husband and i opted for a bit of a more ploughman style meal and split an assorted Cartucherie plate and a big mediterranean salad. we were extremely happy with the size and quality of our dishes, everything was fresh and delicious. we were especially enamored of the spicy mustard (which i suspect is housemade, or at least house-spiked with a nice dallop of horseradish. we were also in love with the lil selection of pickles on the plate, which seemed to include pickled apple chunks..Delicious!

    we’ll definitely be back for more…we seemed to have hit it at the right time, avoiding the rush to get seated between breakfast and lunch

    [Reply]

  • ACW said:

    Did I hear a rumor a while back that the new dinner menu was accompanied by a new chef?
    Thanks for the update; we’ll have to go check this out. :)

    [Reply]

    MEZ replies on December 10th, 2009 at 2:10 pm:

    Looks like you are right! Per BCR’s blog on the dinner offering, Dave Allworth, a former 411 West chef is running dinner and my friend was right that Wine Authorities is running the wine list.

    [Reply]

  • MEZ said:

    Just heard on NPR that Guglhupf is doing a Traditional German Christmas Market this Saturday and Sunday from 10-3, with food, crafts, and music, in case anyone wants to drop by!

    [Reply]

  • jane said:

    I have actually never eaten at Guglhupf for brunch, but will be sure to try it soon! We ate there for dinner a couple of weeks ago because the menu looked so enticing with tons of different options. Although all of the appetizers and small plates looked delicious, we tried an entree from the menu and the special entree for that night. We tried “Oma’s Meatloaf” which was a moist meatloaf with a hardboiled egg in the middle with bacon around the outside. We really enjoyed the mashed potato, gravy and green beans accompaning the dish. The real star of the dinner was the special which was a trout with perfectly cooked risotto with swiss chard, and butternut squash I believe. The special dish was incredible, one of the best dishes i have had in a long time. The flavor was buttery and delicious, and the dish was perfectly sized with two filets. The dessert we tried was deliciously decadent and chocolately and I loved the Lorelei cocktail. We will be going back to try the other dishes!

    [Reply]

    MEZ replies on January 7th, 2010 at 11:19 pm:

    I would not have guessed that they would offer meatloaf! Sounds like an intriguing take on it. I will definitely order off the dinner entrees next time!

    [Reply]

  • Treat Harvey said:

    Oh yeah, you must go for an entree-filled dinner. The ravioli was amazing. So was the salmon.

    [Reply]

    Treat Harvey replies on January 7th, 2010 at 11:21 am:

    I should clarify: when I said “ravioli” I meant maultaschen (it looks like ravioli on the plate), sorry!

    [Reply]

    MEZ replies on January 7th, 2010 at 11:19 pm:

    Totally understandable confusion. =)

    [Reply]

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