Yes, your intrepid restaurant reviewer has sought out another interesting eatery for my dear reader to try. This one is truly a bit different and it has a certain quirky charm. It’s the Bavarian Beerhouse on City Road near Old Street Station.
Established in December 2005, the Restaurant/Bar has quickly become popular with guests who are looking for a genuine German beer-hall experience. This is the very spot for that. There is the traditional service provided by waitresses in Bavarian “Dirndl” dresses. And a bar that would make any Munich drinking establishment proud. Yes, the beer really does arrive in litre glasses.There is a good selection of real German beers as well as schnapps and spirits.
The front area of the Beerhouse is, well, a beer house. It has wooden benches and on football evenings, screens to watch the big match. It’s a venue designed for group conviviality. It has a good number of regular clients who might come to eat and play cards at lunch times. The Sunday until Wednesday guests can enjoy “Bavarian Gemuetlichkeit” and have a relaxed and quiet time, but on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays it gets busy with big groups.
There is an authentic-looking ski hut or “Skihütte”at the back of the Beerhouse for those who want a quieter but equally authentic Bavarian experience. It’s a wood-clad cabin with room for 40 or so guests, it’s smart and folksy and ideal for cold winter nights. Start the evening with Glühwein – hot mulled wine, or Apfelwein – hot German cider.
A traditional Bavarian menu is a big part of the character of the Bavarian Beerhouse. All meat, pretzels and bread are imported from Germany so you know it’s the real thing. The dishes are substantial but that is part of the draw. This is an establishment ideal for those with hearty appetites but there are vegetarian options. Entire suckling pig is available for groups of 30 or so. Order in advance as they probably won’t have one just waiting in the fridge.
The restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Kitchen closes at 10pm. The Dinner menu is often updated with specialities like White Asparagus in May. If you have had holidays in Germany then you will be familiar with many of the dishes on offer here.
Obazda Cheese, a Bavarian speciality, was my choice for a starter. This is a creation of mature cheese mixed with cream cheese, butter, beer, onions, paprika and caraway seeds, served with a pretzel. This was tangy and ideal for those of us who don’t want meat with every course. The pretzel dough is imported from Germany but baked fresh at the Beerhouse.
My guest chose Weisswurst – traditional Bavarian White Sausage. Two Bavarian white sausages, served with a pretzel and sweet mustard. These were presented in an intriguing fashion, arriving in a little bowl of hot water. Very practical. There is a technique for eating these sausages and the management thoughtfully provide instructions. Cut the skins and remove the sausage meat before devouring with sweet mustard. They might not look like your regular banger but my guest proclaimed them to be flavourful and delicious.
It was Monday and that’s Schnitzel Special day. There are several varieties on offer at the Beerhouse but I chose Wiener Schnitzel – classic breaded pork escalope served with French fries and a mixed salad. This is a simple dish but when it’s good it’s unbeatable and this one was. Be warned though, this is a meal for those with healthy appetites or those who have been shovelling snow from the runways at City Airport all morning.
My guest tucked into Spicy Bavarian Beerhouse “Wurstplatte” for his main course – spiral sausage (Bratwurst Schnecke), Merguez spicy sausage, cheese cracker sausage (Kaeseknacker) served with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and mustard. This was a good combination of German sausages and North African lamb sausage which has become popular all over Europe.
In the unlikely event that you will have space for a dessert you can indulge in Kaiserschmarrn, which is a Bavarian-style pancake with raisins, or Apfelstrudel served with cream; and there is always Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, the celebrated Black Forest Chocolate Cake. My companion enjoyed his Bavarian pancake which is described as ‘scrambled’: the batter is stirred to create a sweet confection in bits rather than a flat doily. Well worth trying.
Bavarian Beerhouse has two distinct characters. It’s a party spot for groups and sports lovers but the ski hut provides a smart and private haven. Both the Skihütte and the Beerhouse offer good food at reasonable prices.
190 City Road
London EC1V 2QH
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018