Hofbrauhaus

Let’s start out by saying this: German food doesn’t photograph all that well. Add that to an already amateurish photographer and what you get is… some of the least appetising food photography in the blogosphere.

To follow up, Hofbrauhaus is the kind of place you to go when you are hungry. Hofbrauhaus is the Grand-daddy of Melbourne City German themed restaurants. Once upon a time, there was Hofbrauhaus, and there was The Cuckoo Restaurant in Mt Dandenong. Now, the German bier hall theme has become popular with those particular Melburnians who straddle the fence between hipster and lout. The fact that they’re called bier halls seems to be an excuse to drink far too much bier and make an unappealing fool of yourself. Nonetheless, Hofbrauhaus persists, despite far less advertising and pandering to the masses, as it always has, as a somewhat darkened restaurant filled with the smells of roasting pork, saurkraut, and bread.

A not-to-be-passed-up classic of ours is the Gebackener baked camembert with lingonberry. It’s cheese, it’s crumbed, and it’s melty and good. You can’t really go wrong if you ask me, but I do have a possibly unhealthy fondness for cheese…

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The Langosch garlic bread, is not what you would expect if you’re used to going to Italian restaurants or pizza shops. Shaped like a pretzel, it has more of the consistency of a doughnut, is deep fried and in fact reminds me very much of Banh Tieu, a Vietnamese hollow donut also popular with Singaporeans. The grated garlic on the top is generous.

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Normally, we order deluxe platter for two, a rather revoltingly large serve of just about everything on the menu that is probably the size of my torso. However this time, we stuck to one classic: the roast and crackling pork knuckle, and what was (to me at least), a new contender: Jagerbrat’n. Before I move on lets talk about pork knuckle. While you can’t go past the crackling, this is a pickled knuckle, different to what you might expect from a roast pork – the meat on the inside is tender and pink and tastes more like ham. It’s delicious but somewhat of an acquired taste if you haven’t grown up eating pickled food, but if you like strong ham and you like pork crackling then you’ve found the best of both worlds. However my partner, who has a German grandparent has has grown up eating all things sauerkraut, was very disappointed, saying that they seem to have changed their recipe. I can’t stand sauerkraut so I wouldn’t know.

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Jagerbrat’n was, as I mentioned, a new dish to me. It’s described as braised beef in red wine sauce with forest mushroom sauce and German egg noodles. I had no idea that German’s made ‘noodles’ of any description so I was obviously intrigued. They also didn’t look like noodles in any familiar sense. But what I can say is they are absolutely delicious. I have no idea what goes into these or what the process is except that it probably involves a lot of butter, but these, with the delicious creamy forest mushroom sauce, pretty much made my night. I’m not a big fan of braised or roast beef so I’m not sure if the meat was disappointing or if it was just not to my taste, but I’d probably order this again anyway just for the egg noodles.

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