A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published November 22nd 2017
Where you'll find the perfect pork hock
I recently attended The Hof Downtown's party to celebrate the completion of its major refurbishment (see my earlier write up here).
The bar at The Hof Downtown
A big barn of a place, with a large floor space, mezzanine level, plus a generous amount of outdoor seating, The Hof Downtown is a perfect place to call in for a quick (German) beer after work (happy hour is 4-6pm Monday to Friday), or to bring a group for a meal. With Christmas rapidly approaching, it would be a great venue to consider for a work party.
There is a decent amount of outside seating - perfect for a warm afternoon
At the re-opening party, we got to sample a few items from the menu, such as the freshly baked warm Bretzel (bagel/pretzel) served with butter ($6.50) (perfect with a beer), sausage skewer served with potato mash, sauerkraut and salad ($26.50), and the famous chicken schnitzel (large) with chips and salad ($27.50).
But we walked away feeling we had unfinished business. There was one dish in particular we felt we had to try: the 1.5 kg roast pork knuckle served with a side of sauerkraut, mashed potato, pork jus and mustard. At $49, it's easily the most expensive dish on the menu, but it's listed under the 'sharing/large' section of the menu, and rightly so. It was easily enough to feed my partner Dave and I - in fact, it was just about big enough to feed three people.
We couldn't wait to dig in when the massive pork knuckle hit the table. The first thing one notices is the perfect crackling surrounding the knuckle. The dish comes with a carving knife skewering it. It took a little effort to crack through the crackling - but that's not to say it was too dense. In fact this was, without question, the most perfect crackling I've ever had. I wish I could prepare it so well at home. It was crunchy perfection!
Ham heaven, pork perfection!
And the delightful, tender, juicy meat underneath melted in the mouth. Heaven!
But what did Dave think of the dish? "I'm having a metaphysical moment with pork," he sighed. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what that meant, but it was undoubtedly positive! Every shred of meat was stripped from that bone.
The sides of sauerkraut and mashed potato are the perfect complements to the salty, rich pork meat. We also ordered a side of stir-fried vegetables ($8.50), which we probably didn't need.
To wash down your meal, there is a great range of German beers available, with no fewer than 10 on tap, plus bottled options. The on-tap beers are available in 300ml, 500ml or one-litre vessels, starting from around $8.50.
There is also a reasonable selection of local and German wines available. I tried the house shiraz, the Haselgrove 'H' Shiraz (McLaren Vale) ($10 per glass), and found it pleasantly drinkable. There is a good selection of ciders and cocktails available also.
We were tempted into trying a dessert because it sounded so good. When the hazelnut custard with coffee flavoured ice cream, meringue and amoretti biscuits ($13.50) arrived, there was a moment of confusion, because it looks just like a flat white coffee! Clever! Again, this dish offered bliss-inducing deliciousness. Each layer is so well executed, and together, it is a winning combination. The coffee ice cream was amazing.
Our dessert - actually layers of sweet deliciousness
With its German origins, you'd expect The Hof Downtown's menu to be meat orientated, and it is. Vegetarians will be unimpressed by dishes such as ox cheek, liver pate, and roasted bone marrow, however, they needn't go hungry as there are also a couple of vegetarian options on the menu.
You can view The Hof Downtown's full food and drinks menus here.
The Hof Downtown is located at 737 Bourke Street, Docklands. It is open six days, from 12 noon - late Monday to Thursday, 11.30am - late on Friday, and 4pm - late on Saturday, (closed on Sundays). (Check the Facebook page for the most up to date opening times, as they may vary depending on events at Etihad Stadium).
Click here to make an online booking, or call The Hof Downtown on (03) 9642 3350.
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Weekend Notes.