Interview: Sandra Forster

“Nobody’s going to miss your same old duck-faces”

Sandra Forster runs several restaurants in Munich – and a club in which photography is strictly forbidden. For us, she made an exception.

I’m meeting Sandra Forster, who now forms part of the hard core of Munich’s gastronomy scene, in the beer garden of her latest restaurant Blitz, located by the Deutsches Museum (German Museum) on the island surrounded by the River Isar. People splash around in the river on summer days and, if you’re really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Munich’s city beavers, who have built their dam around the corner.

The restaurant’s interior walls are filled with feasting Día de Muertos skeletons in high spirits – a reference to the Mexican flavour of its vegetarian and vegan cuisine. The restaurant also houses a club with the same name. Up to 900 people can party together there – but with a strict photography ban.

 

What’s all that about, Sandra? A club called “Blitz” (“Flash”) where you can’t even take selfies?

By imposing a photography ban, we mainly want to make a statement: Enjoy the moment. This is the real life, not out somewhere in the ether. Turn your phone off, relax and live in the here and now. Forget things like Snapchat and Instagram for a while. Nobody’s going to miss your same old duck-faces on Facebook. Blitz is a place where you can let yourself go on the dance floor and party together without cropping up days later on some forum or other.

Who or what else is unfortunately not allowed in the club?

We’re very open here at Blitz. A lot of people fit in here, so we’re not so strict at heart. During Oktoberfest, people will ask whether we should let in party-loving people in the traditional Bavarian dress. I always say, “Come on, we’re in Munich!”

Where do you go out yourself?

I don’t get much free time, so I mainly stay at my own restaurants. But I occasionally enjoy a visit to some of Munich’s classic bars and restaurants like Schuhmann’s. I particularly like eating at the Emika Restaurant in the Luis Hotel by the Viktualienmarkt (food market), and I treat myself once a year to an evening at Tantris. I find the exhibitions at the Haus der Kunst (“House of Art”) particularly worth seeing. I like watching the chamber plays performed by Munich’s Kammerspiele, because I find it exciting that the theatre-makers pick up on subculture influences there.

Apart from Blitz, you also run the training restaurant “Roeckl”, the Vietnamese restaurant and club “Charlie”, and the oriental restaurant “Kismet” on the Löwengrube street with its little brother “Kiss” on Landwehrstraße. Do your restaurants have a particular touch?

Yes. I follow the “turning old into new” trend to a certain extent and like to work with existing ideas. It has to grip me. I don’t come up with any concepts or anything in advance, and I don’t look at other restaurants. I work very intuitively and only have my own ideas in mind. This isn’t always easy for landlords or partners who I want to get on board with a project. They now trust me when I say, “Come on, it’ll be really nice!”

What do you show friends when they visit you in Munich?

I grew up along the banks of the Isar in Pullach. I think the river makes up a large part of the city’s nice atmosphere – and especially now it’s been returned to its natural state. DJs sometimes want to experience a bit of the city after a night at the club; I usually take them on a walk along the Isar up to the Englischer Garten (“English Garden”). They often go crazy with excitement.

 

It’s now 21:00, and Sandra Forster is getting restless. Her working night is about to begin; she’ll mingle with her guests and anxiously check whether everything’s going as she imagined: “really nice”.

 

Text: Karoline Graf; Photos: Frank Stolle