A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published May 14th 2016
The Bavarian Bier Cafe was chosen for Mother's Day lunch and a good choice it was. Whilst I'm not so much of a beer drinker, I do love German food and there is a variety of other drinks to choose from at this restaurant-cum-beer hall.
There are several of these 'cafes' across Sydney, from Miranda to Chatswood, and the city original in York Street. We visited the Parramatta location in the restored St Andrew's church, due to it being the closest to home. As I entered, the length of the church (highlighted by the long bar in the middle) and the wooden bench tables took me back to my visit to Munich and the beer houses there. It was very nostalgic.
The historic church with its high ceiling, stained glass windows and lighting halos was impressive. Lots of stein glasses hung in arm's reach above the bar, a large wooden keg was arranged on the floor and a couple of stag heads adorned a back wall. They all added to the atmosphere. The little touches were there too, with black and white photos in frames containing historical images of people and events.
Plenty of room allows for seating of well over 100 customers. There's ground level and an upper level at the back of the church as well as plenty of alfresco dining and a side 'haus'. We were seated inside in comfy seats with a complimentary flute of Champagne presented to me. This was a special treat for all mothers on Mother's Day.
This establishment is so popular that bookings are taken for 2 hour blocks only and I thought upon booking that we would be rushing through our meal but not so. Everything is well organised with lots of staff on hand and our first courses were brought out very quickly after ordering. If you want to stay longer than 2 hours then you can follow your meal with more drinks at the bar.
There were so many imported and craft beers for hubby to choose from. He went first with the 'Bavarian Flight', a tasting of 4 German beers with hard to pronounce names Benediktiner Original, Fransizkaner Hefe Weissbier Hell, Hofbrไu Dunkel and Paulaner Hefe Weissbier Dunkel. The latter was his favourite, an ale with spices and subtle fruits. The one with Hell in its name was also an ale whilst the others were lagers. All had various flavours, from citrus to caramel.
Later on, he tried the Butcher's Bride Pale Ale which also went down well. I love the name of this and others like Hop Dock Wheat Beer (with hints of toffee and banana), Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock (a lager with molasses, dark chocolate and cherry) and Bavarian Diesel (dark lager with Coca Cola).
He topped these off with a Schnapps the Bergfeuer its description, 'Mountain Fire'. With 50% alcohol volume, I'm guessing it had his heart rate on fire. The taste was fruity but he couldn't pin down the exact flavour. What I loved is the way it came to him on this long wooden shot glass holder with the waiter ringing a cow bell. They did that for all who ordered Schnapps; a fantastic way to serve it, I thought.
After my complimentary Champagne, I chose the 'Catching Thieves Moscato'. This not too sweet Moscato is from our very own Western Australia. Later I tried a cocktail called Bubble Berry a nice blend of vodka, cranberry juice, sparkling wine and strawberries.
Other drinks to indulge in include apple cider, Absolut vodka highballs, red and white wines, and Jagermeister with Red Bull.
I first tried one of the haus-made pretzels to complement my main course. A beautiful light bread inside with a few salt crystals on top went well with my 'Bavarian Tasting' platter, which consisted of Crispy Pork Belly, German Haus-Sausages, Schnitzel, Sauerkraut, Red Cabbage, Creamy Mash, Apple Compote and Bier Jus. Oh so filling and tasty.
My son chose Swiss Schnitzel and chips with his crumbed chicken topped with double-smoked ham and Swiss cheese whilst my husband had the half Pork Knuckle, or as the Germans say, 'Schweinshaxe'. You can get the latter in half or full size but half was more than enough to fill hubby up.
Alternate menu options include a Bavarian Delikatessen Charcuterie, Artisan cheese board, Southern German beef dumplings, prawn dumplings, Spicy Beef Goulash soup, Grandma's Famous Meatballs, Crispy Mac N Cheese balls, fish, steaks, burgers, various bratwursts and kransky.
After some breathing space, I decided to get dessert. The dessert menu is not as vast as the mains menu with only 4 choices but they all sounded good and it was hard to decide. With some deliberation, I went with the Haus-Made Apple Strudel that came with vanilla sauce and ice cream. It was delicious and completed my German food experience.
The other desserts available are Haus-Made Black Forest Cake, Soft Baked Bitter Chocolate Fondant (pudding) and Warm Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar, Spiced Chocolate Dip and Strawberry Coulis. It's a shame my son and husband couldn't fit dessert in as I would probably have got a taste of some of these creations.
A selection of teas and coffees are on hand but I could not fit anything else in, liquid or otherwise.
Prices at this restaurant are in line with other similar establishments. You can easily spend big here with food and drinks although if you're watching your wallet you can still get items under $20.
Entertainment came as a surprise whilst I was devouring my strudel. A German man playing accordion, moving between tables, got one group up dancing to the Chicken Song. It was an added bonus that topped off the mood and feel of the day.
Thank you to my family for a wonderful Mother's Day. For those who haven't been to this restaurant, I highly recommend it. I would definitely go back as it was a very relaxing and enjoyable encounter with authentic cuisine and great hospitality from attentive staff.