45 S Wharf Promenade South Wharf, Melbourne
Winter is coming! Finally! I’m not a summer girl. My pale, porcelain doll complexion, love of tea drinking and book reading in my PJs, serious lack of body confidence required for skimpy summer attire and generally introverted nature are far more conducive to a perfectly cold European winter than a sunny Melbourne summer.
I’m not really sure what it was about the winter I spent in Italy with my family when I was 17, but ever since, cold weather has always made me think of Europe. They know how to do winter right: beautiful warm coats and leather boots, gorgeous markets in snowy town squares, and properly warming and comforting food. While most people would probably think of Oktoberfest at a place like Melbourne’s Munich Brauhaus, all I could think of was how nice it was to come out of the cold after an exhausting week into such a big, warm place with some great friends and food that just screams “let me warm you up!”
An already large front bar gives way to a cavernous dining hall, where the appropriately dressed staff and continuously flowing drinks promise you a good time before you’ve even made it to your seat. We settled in and ordered a pretzel each ($4.50) to get started while we read through the menu. Dense, warm and doughy, perfect way to start the meal! It was also nice to know that my pretzel recipe is actually pretty spot on comparatively!
The menu choices, both food and drinks, are extensive, so we decided to try it all with the tasting plate. We had the option of one tasting plate each, or we could have it brought out on one big, communal board. “They ring the bells when they bring it out to you!” Sure, let’s get the giant sharing board…
And to the accompanying ringing of the bells, a procession emerged from the kitchen, carrying the board of carnivore dreams. $41 per person will get you a selection of five different types of sausages (I don’t really know what they all were, but everyone really enjoyed them!)…
… a pile of pork that included a big, juicy pork knuckle which is what you can see front and centre below (after having sat there for an hour, we realised that around 80% of the other diners had ordered pork knuckles of their own. It’s bloody amazing, and if you’re only going to get one dish when you visit, make this it; juicy, tender pork shelled in salty, crispy, golden skin. It’s all your meat dreams come true), crispy golden schnitzel, and the most heavenly crispy skinned pork belly with the most perfectly rendered fat and tender meat…
… oh, and don’t forget the sides! Mashed potato, sauerkraut,red cabbage, apple sauce and bier jus, to create the absolute perfect package.
For $41 each, we rolled out absolutely and completely stuffed. But don’t be tricked into thinking it was just quantity; this is one of those rare instances that you’re getting absolute quality as well. The tasting plate is the best way to get a proper taste of it all because when faced with the menu choice of pork knuckle OR sausages OR pork belly, I mean, how do you choose between children like that?! Everything was cooked perfectly, and there wasn’t a single thing on that monster board that any of us really disliked.
Another big plus was the staff – I’ve been here more than once now, and they do such a great job of making sure everyone is looked after (no mean feat in such a massive place); as soon as an empty stein was placed on the table, a checkered shirted staff member would magically appear to offer another one. They helpfully offered the boys the cheaper happy hour beers when they ordered more expensive ones initially, and knew the dessert menu back to front, with helpful suggestions thrown in, too. They do such an awesome job of being insanely professional and still creating such a fun atmosphere at the same time – you wouldn’t believe what a well-oiled machine they are unless you’ve seen them at work!
So, as the weather turns colder in Melbourne and you and yours are looking for a place to warm up with some steins and sausages on a Friday night after work, make your way over to Munich. You know, if you can’t quite afford a plane ticket to Germany for real. It’s a solid substitute for the night!