The Australian reality TV series My Restaurant Rules is an incredibly high-stakes game show. The producers give a vacant shopfront to each of six inexperienced couples. Cameras then chronicle the heartbreaking work of turning it into a restaurant. I had a burger at the Greedy Goose, the series two winner, when I last visited Adelaide. At the time, I knew nothing of the history of the place, but they did a damn fine burger.
Some weeks ago, our local watering hole closed. The Bar Rechts der Isar was not just a ludicrously convenient place from which to stagger home, but it was pretty cool, too.
The fact that it closed surprised us. They surprised us even more when someone trashed the inside; we soon learned that was all part of the theatre. Bar Rechts became the Munich location for Mein Restaurant, the German-language My Restaurant Rules. Precisely five doors down the street.
Master Right and I are really rooting for the Munich couple. (That's rooting in the American sense, not the Australian sense) Toby is an IT nerd turned circus performer who applies his juggling skills to tending bar, like Bryan Brown and Tom Cruise in Cocktail, only better. He and his wife Anna clearly have the most energy and best sense of humour.
They almost blew it, though, when they presented their restaurant concept to the panel of judges.
I would have thought the concept of a restaurant was already pretty clear; i.e. provide food in exchange for money. But this is TV, so the judges demanded a theme, too.
Surely the theme should centre upon Toby's amazing theatrics, juggling drinks and flying desserts. But our hapless heroes spouted some cockamamie idea about an Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant, with big things on one side of the plate and little things on the other. Guys, guys, guys...
The judges preferred the boutique-owning, chain-smoking couple who pitched The Copa Room, a Rat Pack-themed Vegas-style cocktail lounge in Cologne. In Cologne.
The dedicated Müncheners have soldiered on with their theme, and Der Grinzekatze (The Grinning Cat) opens on Monday. The chef has won awards--way to go, guys! We'll check it out and get back to you. In the meantime, watch Anna and Toby's recruiting video.