When I think of Germany, several things come to mind. Besides bratwursts, currywursts and sauerkraut, there’s also Oktoberfest and beer. My trip to Germany could not be complete without a couple visits to some beer houses in Munich, the home of Oktoberfest.
Today I visit two, one for lunch and another for dinner. The first is the Hofbrauhaus, located in Marienplatz (the city centre). It is Christmas day and the place is packed full of local families and the odd tourist group. The hall is decorated with painted ceilings and large lamps overhanging the canteen style tables. There is not much hint of Christmas here other than a wreath at each window; there is still a great festive atmosphere however with a brass band playing in the centre and a group of German patrons breaking into song.
The custom at beer houses is that you seat yourself anywhere and a waiter serves you (and somehow remembers the split in patrons for bills, impressive). We sit at a relatively empty table before being joined by a Berlin family down here for holidays.
Munich-style sauerbraten (marinated pot roast) of Bavarian beef, with a bread dumpling and cranberries – €9.90
Our first dish which comes out is a beef pot roast. The presentation is plain and simple, as is the affordable price tag. Upon cutting the beef, it feels extremely soft and when eaten, basically melts in your mouth. The gravy has a sweet flavour and goes nicely with the beef; for some additional juiciness and sweetness, the cranberry chutney does a good job. The bread dumpling is something new and interesting. It is thick and similar to potato in texture and goes well as a carb filler with the gravy. Overall an excellent dish!
Original HB Brewer’s pork steak with stewed onions and baked potatoes au gratin – €8.90
The next dish is the pork steak. Here, the gravy is more meaty and onion flavoured but goes well with the tender pork. The onions are soft and sauteed, leaving juices across the dish. The potato gratin is also layered and cooked well.
Radler (beer with lemonade, 1L) – €7.30
Personally, I’m not a beer person and neither is my eating companion so we opt for a non-pure beer for less beer-ish flavours. A Radler is beer with lemonade and it is very light and very refreshing. When drinking it, it still tastes like beer (and it looks like one too), however there are lemony after tastes which makes it more enjoyable for those who are not the biggest fans of beer.
Overall the service here is average but then again, this particular hall is very busy with a great atmosphere. Conveniently located, if you’re looking for an affordable meal near the city centre, this is the place to go.
The next place we go to is Augustiner Keller, another beer house for dinner. Located near Hackerbrucke (a couple train stops from the city centre), the area seems like a corporate district. The PwC building is a block away and I can guess where they come for friday drinks!
Smaller than the Hofbrauhaus, it is not as busy or bustling (probably due to its location). However, it is still a big hall with tables set like a canteen hall. The ceiling and walls are adorned with historic and religious symbols. Upon a quick glance at the menu, the prices are more expensive than the previous one (some are more than double for mains). Thankfully the service we get throughout the night is excellent; the staff are attentive to all our needs and understanding that we do not speak German. The food also comes out extremely quickly, with service arrive approximately within 5 minutes of ordering.
Roast pork with dark beer gravy, potato dumpling and red cabbage – €11.90
Our first dish is the roast pork which is soft and melts in your mouth (seriously, Germans can cook some mean meat here!). The gravy is slightly bitter here with a beer aftertaste and is full of flavour, complimenting the pork very well. Contrary to my belief, a potato dumpling here is NOT gnocchi, but instead is literally a ball of potato. I’m not sure what else is in it, but it has a very bouncy and chewy consistency and doesn’t taste too much like potato. The red cabbage is served separately in a bowl and is warm and soggy with a strong tomato taste. A different take on cabbage, I quite like this version but it is best eaten in small portions otherwise the flavours get a bit strong.
Bread crumbed schnitzel of vealsaddle with roast potatoes, mixed salad – €18.90
The other dish we ordered is a veal schnitzel. It is soft and well crumbed and way better tasting than any other schnitzel I’ve had in Australia – the coating is still crispy whilst the meat is tender and not overcooked. It goes well with the wedge of lemon and the side of cranberries adds some extra sweetness and juiciness.
The Augustiner Keller beer house has a more inconvenient location and higher prices, but offers quicker and better service with tastier food. If you’re looking for a less bustling place to enjoy a meal, this beer house is the place to be.
Platzl 9, 80331 Munich
Ph: +49 (0) 892936100
Arnulfstr. 52 80335 Munich
Ph: +49 (0) 89 594393