07 December 2010

Bavarian Bier Café O'Connell: Bier and Schnapps, CBD Sydney (6 Dec 2010)

16 O'Connell Street, Sydney NSW 2000

More than just bier and meat

Thanks to Kate Loxton from zing for inviting me along to this bloggers dinner event co-hosted by Roberta Camargo from Bavarian Hospitality Group (BHG) and Dominic Dighton aka Pier Professor from German Beverage Imports. Having only just eaten at the Entertainment Quarter restaurant less than two weeks ago I wasn't sure if my body was up for more filling meat dishes — and unfortunately where my credit card was also stolen, but that's another story. Thankfully tonight I was introduced to some lighter dishes on the menu which I never would have considered before. It's almost compulsory to order a beer in this establishment and tonight I tried the house recommended Hofbräu Original ($7.20-300ml) to start which was followed by the slightly heavier yet more flavoursome Hofbräu Dunkel ($7.50-300ml). Towards the end of the meal I tried the Paulaner Salvator which was sweeter and fruiter with cherry notes on the palate.

A great starter is the Freshly baked Bavarian Pretzel ($3.50) with the Bavarian antipasto platter ($19.50) which goes nicely with the beers as an easy to eat bar menu. I was thinking the Tomato and caramelized onion tart with goat's cheese and rocket ($18.50) was going to be quite boring but it turned out to have some lovely fresh flavours and the smooth goat's cheese wasn't too overpowering — quite a nice light starter to perhaps share. I had no idea the Mediterranean flammenbrot with prawns, olives, mushrooms and semi dried tomatoes ($20) was going to be like a really thin pizza — with such a super thin base you can better appreciate the toppings. I've never heard of a Pissaladiere ($18.50) before which came with crystal bay prawns and garden salad. It's a rather simple dish which was a little hard to cut and share but was one of the lighter dishes that's worth having if you're not a big meat eater.

Now for those you crave meat you'd probably be pretty happy with the generous slab of Crackling roast pork belly ($28.50). Not quite as big as the Belgian Beer Cafe but it's better presented and a more manageable size. I would consider the generous Jager schnitzel pan-fried veal ($29) a heavy dish which could probably be easily shared so you could try other things. For those wanting something a little less guilty you could consider the Oven baked chicken schnitzel free-range chicken thigh ($25.50) served with green salad — I'm thinking this would be my healthy choice if I visited again and it was pretty tasty. On the specials menu was the Pan fried salmon fillet ($30) which looked pretty healthy as well. Now if you're serious about your meat and crackling then your best beat is the Succulent slow roasted pork knuckle ($37) which would be a challenge for anyone to finish. The crackling looked exceptionally good tonight.

In the past I've always been drawn to the Bavarian tasting platter ($27) which comes with pork belly, sausages and schnitzel and tonight I choose it again . The 3 types of sausages are juicy enough, there's plenty of sauerkraut and red cabbage and the chicken schnitzel is cooked well. The pork belly meat is moist but unfortunately the crackling isn't particularly crunchy as hoped yet slightly better than my recent experience two weeks ago at the Entertainment Quarter which was just a bit on the chewy side. I remember the first time I tried this dish at York St in 2009 and the crackling was excellent and at another time at Moore Park not long after which was also very good. One day I hope to find that amazing pork belly I once had before.

With bellies pretty full it's amazing how there's always a bit of room left for dessert — gotta love those separate dessert stomachs. The recommended Apple strudel with vanilla anglaise ($11.50) had good flavour but I'm always hoping to find the upper pastry more flaky with a good nutty caramelised base — the kind I remembered having when I was younger at the Gelato Bar in Bondi. For lovers of chocolate the Chocolate delice with summer berries and toasted almond ice cream ($11.50) could be your best bet. The berry compote helps cut through the heaviness of the chocolate and the sweetness of the ice cream which has a rather honey taste. The nicely presented Classic lemon tart ($11.50) isn't too sweet and the pastry is nicely thin. I really liked the bold flavours in the Walnut & date pudding with honey ice cream ($11.50) and it was pretty moist has hoped. A generous platter of cheeses served with red wine apple compote and lavosh ($19.50) with it's Jenga stacked hard cheese is pretty good value although the soft brie probably needed a bit more time to soften and wasn't as flavoursome as the other two cheeses which I preferred. The final stage of dining is a digestif in the form of a shot of schnapps. Being a food and drink dare-devil I go for the most alcoholic Friesengeist ($8) at 56% alcohol. It had a slightly citrus taste and warmed up my palate and throat pretty quickly.

Other visits to the Bavarian Bier Café:
25 Oct 2011 - O'Connell, Sydney, Oktoberfest Menu
6 Dec 2010 - O'Connell, Sydney
21 July 2009 - Entertainment Quarter, Sydney
18 April 2009 - York St, Sydney

Other blog reviews:

PROS: Good variety of biers produced using the Bavarian Purity Law, Food is freshly prepared each day, Kitchen aims to source the best produce directly from their suppliers, You won't leave hungry, Good selection of schnapps, Nice decor, Friendly service
CONS: The long heavy pew-like seats are awkward to sit on and not particularly elegant for women, Good pork crackling has been a hit and miss for me
MUST TRY: Schnapps, Any of the biers, Pork knuckle

Freshly baked Bavarian Pretzel with butter ($3.50)

Bavarian antipasto platter: Selection of gourmet cured and smoked meats with condiments and European bread ($19.50)

Tomato and caramelized onion tart with goat's cheese and rocket ($18.50)

Mediterranean flammenbrot with prawns, olives, mushrooms and semi dried tomatoes ($20)

Pissaladiere with crystal bay prawns and garden salad ($18.50)

Crackling roast pork belly served with granny smith apple compote and sautéed potatoes ($28.50)

Jager schnitzel pan-fried veal topped with mushroom sauce served with sauteed potato ($29)

Oven baked chicken schnitzel free-range chicken thigh dipped in yoghurt and emmenthal cheese, then dusted in breadcrumbs, oven roasted and served with green salad ($25.50)

Pan fried salmon fillet with champagne sauerkraut, buttered potatoes and balsamic rocket salad ($30)

Succulent slow roasted pork knuckle served on sebago mash and sauerkraut with Lowenbrau Bier Jus ($37)

Bavarian tasting platter with succulent pork belly, sausages and schnitzel all served with traditional Bavarian condiments ($27)

Seeded mustard, traditional mustard

Apple strudel with vanilla anglaise ($11.50)

Chocolate delice with summer berries and toasted almond ice cream ($11.50)

Selection of cheeses served with red wine apple compote and lavosh ($19.50)

Classic lemon tart with double cream ($11.50)

Walnut & date pudding with honey ice cream ($11.50)

Hofbräu Original ($7.20-300ml)

Hofbräu Dunkel ($7.50-300ml)

Paulaner Salvator

Friesengeist Friesen Ghost ($8)

Schnapps menu — The top 3 most popular apparently are Jägermeister Herbal ($7), Bergfeuer Mountain Fire ($8) and Friesengeist Friesen Ghost ($8)

Goodie bag of a souvenir mug and drink voucher

Winner of best boutique beer offering AHA NSW Awards Excellence 2010

Bar menu

Bar and stein chandelier

Downstairs bar

Downstairs seating and kitchen

Table of bloggers and hosts

Fair amount of seating

High ceilings

Dining and seating


Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Do you sleep...? :D

Can't believe how yummy the flammenbrot was! Loved the cheesy sausage and the oven schnitty too.

thang @ noodlies said...

Yum, my farewell lunch today was at their Chatswood branch.. love the prezels... never had it with butter, yum!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

pork belly! pretzel! apple strudel!! hellooo schnapps :D

Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said...

How good does the crackling look on the pork belly and pork knuckle? Mm crunch!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi tina, sometimes but rarely after a special event :-)

hi thang, it was the first time i tried their pretzels and quite possibly not my last :-)

hi vivian, hello hello hello schnapps indeed! ;-)

hi forager, the pork knuckle was probably better but if done right the pork belly should be just as good.

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