We’re big fans of the heartiness of German, Austrian and Eastern European food. It’s not a big thing in Canberra: the Austrian Club is rather inscrutable about membership, while the Harmonie German Club has an unfortunate tendency to poison its diners. We can often be found at the touristy but pretty good Löwenbraukeller at the Rocks, but it wasn’t in the cards this trip.
We’d planned to hit Na Zdrowie, the Polish joint on Glebe Point Road. Unfortunately they didn’t have room for us. So we walked around for a while and came back to Essen in Ultimo, where we’d eaten previously.
Essen has the Urban Bierhall vibe down pat. Stone walls, wood-paneled ceilings, long communal tables, and chairs with cute folk-art designs painted on them. The waitresses are friendly and mostly German.
The muggy humidity of this particular Sydney day lent itself well to wheat beer’s refreshing qualities. So we ordered a litre of it.
On the left, a Fransiskaner cut with mango juice, which is not nearly as weird as you’d think, and twice as delicious. On the right, a Schöfferhofer Kristall, tangy and banana-reminiscent with superior humidity-killing properties.
After an entrée of rosy, paprika-flecked garlic bread, it was time for SCHNITZEL.
One chicken, one pork, liberally doused in green peppercorn sauce. The schnitzels themselves were exemplary: perfectly greaseless and crunchy and tender. The peppercorn sauce was tasty but a little too peppery: in the future I’d order it on the side, because eventually the piquancy overwhelmed my taste buds. The rösti were crispy on the outside and soft, juicy and oniony on the inside. Delightful if perhaps a squish underdone.
Dessert was a tasty apfelstrudel, garnished with ice cream and a drizzle of custard. I’m not certain if it was made in-house but it did the trick.