Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hofbrauhaus, Melbourne CBD by Kit Kat

With only one day to go until the Oktoberfest celebrations were over we were able to find time to enjoy a German feast of gargantuan proportions at Hofbrauhaus in Market Lane, Melbourne.

Most of us started with German beer (no steins were had, disappointingly, as shortly after I was driving to a Halloween party) that was imported from Munich – the beer that is actually drunk during their Oktoberfest celebrations. For someone who is a non-beer drinker, I really enjoyed it.

We were disappointed not to be served by beer wenches or men in lederhosen; perhaps this was part of the show at 9:30, which we unfortunately couldn’t stick around for. The waiting staff were excellent though, despite not being suited up.

The mains that were brought to our table occupied practically the entire space of the plate, or the “platter” as I liked to call it.

Big Fil and I ordered a classic dish; pork knuckle, or, as it appeared on the menu ‘ Munchner Schweinshaxe’; for those who are not versed in German cuisine, this is Bavarian pickled, roasted pork knuckle with traditional pan fried potatoes, sauerkraut and natural jus. The pork was beautifully cooked and was easily pulled apart using just a fork however the skin didn’t come as crackling and was a little softer than we would have liked. There was a layer of fat under the skin but not too bad for pork knuckle. The sauerkraut was delicious, not too much vinegar and salt, the potatoes were nicely golden and crispy and the dish came with a very nice mustard that wasn’t too sharp and was kind to my stomach. I felt like I had been transported back to a beer hall in Munich; and I’m proud to say, the food here was even better than over in Germany.

Snooze ordered the Krainer which is a German pork kransky sausage with sauerkraut and traditional pan fried potatoes and mustard. It was a hearty meal although the sausauges were slightly over salty. But Snooze like the sauerkraut and potatoes that accompanied the sausages and thought the sauerkraut had a nice touch of acid without overdoing it and the potatoes were especially nice … brown and good addition with bacon.

Ruby Grapefruit ordered the Goulasch, a traditional Hungarian pork stew with spatzle (spatzle – house made German egg pasta). Ruby Grapefruit felt a little disappointed by the Goulasch, which seemed to resemble a soup more than a stew; the goulasch she tasted in Hungary was better. However, the pork was tender. The spatzle made for a very nice side dish.

The waitress who served us was kind enough to recommend some peach schnapps which I downed with the greatest of ease and pleasure.

At around 7ish, we were treated to a two-piece band; one guy on drums the other playing a piano accordion who both seemed to indulge in the occasional tango fusion tune mixing it up with some more upbeat music that brought two couples onto the dancefloor; one of these couples were actually to heterosexual guys goofing around, celebrating a buck’s night out. Not that I would have been able to pick any, but the band didn’t seem to play any traditional German music, except for one tune at the end of their last set that I recognized from my one night in a German beer hall. This was the German beer song “Ein Prosit” (“a toast to you”), a salute to health and well-being which is traditionally sung with your stein or glass in one hand.

Despite filling our bellies to capacity, we decided we wanted to make room for dessert. Between the four of us we shared a serving of Apfel Strudel served with cream and ice-cream and Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (black forest cake), also served with cream and ice-cream.

The general consensus was that the apfel strudel was the better dessert; it had a nice pastry and the apples were nicely spiced, plus we thought there was a hint of some kind of liquor that we couldn’t put our finger on. The sour cherries in the black forest cake cut through nicely but didn’t have a strong enough taste. What was interesting about this black forest cake is that it had a layer of chocolate mousse in place of an additional layer of cake, which may have let it down slightly.

When you come to Hofbrauhaus, be sure to eat as minimally as possible beforehand because you’ll need the room. All in all, the meals presented well, were very hearty and the serves were generous. Perhaps considering the scarcity of German restaurants in Melbourne, this is why the meals appear to be a little pricey, but you do get your money’s worth.

Food - 8
Service - 8
Ambience - 8
Price – 7

18-24 Market Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Hofbrauhaus on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Yum yum, I love German food! It seems they've got a different Black Forest Cake in now; the last time I went it was 3 layers of dry cake with cream in between. I think the one you had looks a bit nicer! :)

In Germany I've seen Black Forest Cake with and without the choc mousse layer - perhaps it's a regional thing?

xox Sarah

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