Where: 133-135 Broadway, Ultimo 2007
Opening Hours: Mon - Wed 5pm - late, Thu - Fri 12pm - 2.30, 5pm - late, Sat - Sun 5pm - late
Phone: 02 9211 3805
If it's a Bavarian feast you're after (and you're not quite willing to brave the drinking crowd at Una's), I know just the place. While the name is different, this restaurant possesses the same heritage, same atmosphere and same food - not to mention the gigantic serves. Plus, the menu here is expanding beyond Austria and Bavaria to include lighter options like cured salmon, so there's no excuse to skip the strudel.
When we turn up early on a Thursday eve Essen is already packed, and I'm glad we decided to book. Waiters dash past, plates in hand, but it's not long before we find ourselves seated in a nook against the large, glass windows that front the restaurant. The couple next to us are digging into two hot Brezels ($3.70 each) that they smear with butter. We decide to order the same, plus beers, while we browse the menu and settle in to our surrounds. Think sandstone walls hung with portraits, hand-painted wooden chairs and plenty of beer steins.
The serves might be generous but this doesn't stop us ordering up big. We start with a signature, the Deep Fried Camembert ($10), plus the less-familiar Grilled Scallops wrapped in Speck ($18). The scallops are a little too excessive, while the Camembert - indulgent as it is - sits just right. Luckily the beer we've ordered, the Schofferhofer Kristall ($10 for 500ml), is surprisingly refreshing.
For mains, the classic Schnitzel (from $19.50) is in order. We opt for one with Diane sauce, and it doesn't at all disappoint. Vegetarians should look for the Dinkel Risotto ($21) with zucchini, carrot, leek and Parmesan, while the Strindberg ($28.50), a grass-fed Tasmanian sirloin, will satisfy big meat-eaters.
Phew. While dessert doesn't quite seem necessary, we can't resist the Crème Brulée ($10) plus a glass of the Pedro Ximenez Hidalgo ($9). Settled in as we are, it's hard to muster up the courage to venture back out into the cold night.
Deep Fried Camembert, Diane Schnitzel, Schofferhofer Kristall
Good For Groups: