... a dreamer, freelance writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me- Soul Home: https://www.instagram.com/the_soul_home/thewildemoon: https://www.instagram.com/thewildemoon/
Published August 26th 2013
Taste of Europe in bohemian Glebe - more sauerkraut please
Warm and welcoming facade of La Boheme - restaurant and bar within a circa 1870's stonemasons cottage.
Nestled in the bohemian streets of Glebe one can find a little touch of Europe.
Relocating from Balmain, La Boheme Restaurant and Bar is one of the latest newcomers to the well established eat-street of Glebe Point Road. Offering traditional mid-European food made by chefs who have worked in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, the restaurant dishes up home-style European cooking like sauerkraut, slaw, pierogy, pork knuckle, dumplings, goulash and schnitzel. Far more than a restaurant, it's also a quality drinking hole where you can sit back with a Belgian fruit beer or skull an authentic German lager or cider. Alternatively, try a Hungarian pear brandy, a German honey liquor or a Czech rum.
Housed within an old circa 1870's stonemason's building, there's a rustic, traditional, yet swish feel about the establishment. The charming Victorian style exterior immediately invites one in off the street. A lamp glows warmly over the brick facade and outdoor verandah seating area. No-one's sitting outside tonight - it's a bit chilly. Stepping in, we case out a table. We are greeted by hosts and owners, Ramone and Pavel Valter and their team, all of whom are classy and professional.
With two levels and three different dining sections (outside courtyard, casual downstairs bar area and a more formal upper level), there's plenty of choice and room to find your own space.
We score a table overlooking the fluoro blue, hot red and electric pink lights of the city skyline, upstairs where the lights are dim and the candles glow atop tables of dark wood. The other patrons seem to be large groups, friends and couples, and are nestled deep in conversation and food.
My dining partner is soon enraptured by the massive selection of European beers and settles on a Belgian beer. The extensive menu includes seafood, grills, platters, and dishes specific to the countries of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia. With his Dutch heritage, my partner is instantly at home with the menu, and nostalgia pours out.
The kids menu choices contain the standard offerings of fish and chips, but also some more interesting options like the Spinach Pierogy or the Svickova Sauce Bread Dumplings. The children's meat dishes come thankfully with not just chips, but salad.
Upstairs dining area - looks out on the Sydney skyline.
Surprisingly - as I had always equated European fare with fatty meats and cheeses - there are delicious and inventive options for vegetarians. My eye is on the Vegetarian Platter, curious how one could put together a fulfilling vegetarian meal with mere vegetables and not the standard pasta, noodles, rice, lentils, cheese or tofu ingredients I'm used to encountering.
There are even superior beer snacks with a European twist: pretzels, goulash, pork riblets, pickled veggies as well as French fries and modern Australian type offerings. Yes, one can visit La Boheme purely to drink, but with food like this, would you?
Downstairs dining area - rustic, raw brick and chandeliers.
My dining partner and I order an entrée to share of the crunchy button mushrooms stuffed with blue cheese. Ramone informs us that this is one of their most popular dishes.
The mushrooms are juicy and tender within a crisp, battered casing, the taste of blue vein cheese distinct and interesting. The salad provides a refreshing accoutrement to the dish while the house made tartar sauce adds bite.
When the mains arrive, I'm already full. My eyes pop as the monstrously huge vegetarian platter arrives and re-ignites the appetite. The food is rustic yet presented with flair and detail. Each component of the dish is a separate masterpiece; each vegetable glimmering with colour and freshness. I plough my way through the delicious puree's of deep orange sweet potato and pale potato, the velvety, soft as butter baby beetroot and the bread-like pierogy. The delicious dumplings and creamy brussels sprout are my favourite part of the meal and disappear all too soon - very odd, considering that before this moment I have always held a keen dislike for brussels sprout. I guess the Europeans with their harsher climates have vastly more experience making this winter vegetable taste good.
The mains - Vegetarian Platter and the Bavarian Feast Platter.
Despite my former claim of little appetite, my plate is empty, and yes, let me tell you, it is possible to create a scrumptious dish out of mere vegetables.
Somehow, there is some room left for dessert. On the table nearby we overhear them raving about the Belgian chocolate mousse. Unfortunately, this isn't available tonight. Our host Ramone informs us that the crepes suzettes (served with basil infused orange sauce, raspberries and whipped cream) is popular. Handmade chocolates are also available.
My dining partner is in the mood for strudel, so we go with that. The strudel arrives, chunky and embellished with cream and ice-cream. I seriously contemplate the glühwein (mulled wine), from amongst the almost overwhelmingly large beverage selection of beers, wines, spirits, liquors, interesting coffees and dessert wines.
With its extremely well-stocked cellar, La Boheme is a place to enjoy your meal and an interesting beverage at a leisurely pace. The meals are well spaced allowing one to relax and enjoy the night without indigestion. I glance over at the other patrons engaged in intimate conversations and rousing debates. The atmosphere is cosy and languid. We end up staying much later than we'd anticipated. It's that kind of place.
One thing I guarantee – you won't be short of choice on a bevy.
My advice is not to be in a hurry. And, do come hungry.
A great article. I have dining experiences at the restaurant when it was still located in Balmain. I like the food and its atmosphere. Glad to know that the restaurant is now located in Glebe. Love to visit the restaurant soon.