I'm a teacher, musician, blogger and uni student living in Sydney and always dreaming about living & experiencing a new corner of the world. Visit my blog at www.jessiejournals.wordpress.com.
Published May 29th 2015
Eat some Eastern European food with Czech beer
Bazaar Beer Cafe is a generous and hearty beer cafe that serves Eastern European meals and Czech beer. Conveniently located at a short distance from St Leonards train station and near Pacific Highway, Bazaar was packed with people there for their Friday night afterwork meals and drinks. It was so popular that the four of us had to squish into a booth that was designed for two people. Sorry, we didn't want to wait any longer, we were hungry for our meals.
Flipping through their menu, we were immediately struck by their Schitnelfest specials menu, however, we all went with things on their table menu. Everything on this menu also had a recommended beer that would accompany the meal, and while we didn't order any this time, it was definitely a regret of ours since our food arrived at the table.
We only had to wait for about 5 minutes for our meals to arrive, which was pleasantly surprising as the restaurant was completely packed on a Friday night. One of my companions had a pork belly- slowly roasted pork belly with crackling served on potato mash, sauerkraut, apple chutney and grilled csabai (recommended beer: apple beer). Although it came with chips instead of potato mash without any prior notice from the staff, he didn't feel the need to complain. He said that the meat was of a generous cut that passed the test of having the right "crunchy" sound. The only complaint he had was that it was all a bit too salty for him, which was a sign that we really should've ordered a beer to accompany our meals, as water simply couldn't suffice.
My other companion had a Bazaar Mixed Platter- a tasting platter of slowly roasted duck on red cabbage, vienna schnitzel with mashed potato and pork belly on sauerkraut (recommended beer: erdinger weissbier). Having always been a fan of pork belly, she obliterated that succulent piece of meat in no time. She said that the veal schnitzel was crumbed very perfectly in the sense that it wasn't too thick. She also said that the different vegetables kept a lovely balance between sweet and sour flavours. However, as much as she loved duck meat, she simply couldn't finish the dish. WARNING: Bazaar gives everything in extremely generous amounts, so make sure you starve yourself that little bit longer before indulging in their hearty food.
I had some lamb shanks- slow braised lamb shanks, served with creamy potato mash, honey sautéed root vegetables and red wine jus. The meat was very tender and well-cooked without losing the unique smell of lamb, and was very easy to slide off the bones. Its tastes combined very well with the mashed potato, which had a perfect consistency without being too overpowering. It's strange, but my favourite part of the dish was actually the combination of the honey sauté and red wine jus. This provided a unique blend of sweet and bitter flavours that gave the vegetables an eccentric taste. I have never tried any combination like that before, and I'm glad they gave me so much of it! Honestly, I couldn't get enough of it.
Okay, the food was generally really good overall, but we really regretted not ordering any beer. I have to admit, we did get a bit jealous when we saw other tables' massive beer jugs.
I should also mention that despite their busyness, a couple of waiters would regularly rotate around to ask if we needed help with anything. While we were ordering our food, the friendly staff even gave her personal opinions on our orders such as a thumbs up and a comment: "good choice". Indeed, the friendly staff does make a difference on our impressions of the restaurant.
Bazaar is a hugely popular restaurant in the relatively busy suburb of St Leonards. I'm sure going to follow everyone else's steps and come here regularly whenever I'm feeling peckish for some hearty Eastern European food.