Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe, Ultimo


First time I went to Essen was last August for my brother's birthday, don't know why but the post on that visit is still in draft mode, pictures are all ready to go but never gotten round to the writing part.
So, it was just the right timing when Krissie from Wasamedia asked whether I'd like to review their newest client. 
It was winter when I went last year and the menu was more towards the heavier and warming, like goulash, roasted chesnuts and mulled wine.
I was looking forward to try out their new Summer menu :)


Formerly known as Una's Restaurant, Essen is well know for their big sized schnitzels, homemade potato roesti and what's a beer cafe without a range of beers !!
While their Austrian flavour still dominate their menu, they are extending their menu to cover regions outside Austria.

Love how their wooden chairs are decorated with Austrian folk designs, it gave that homely vibe to the restaurant I thought. 

Schofferhofer Hefe $10.00 ; Karamalz $4.50

The Frankfurter cloudy wheat beer was very refreshing with its clean and crisp flavour, whilst the Karamalz has a flavour that I didn't expect. 
Due to its zero alcohol content, kids and pregnant woman can consume this German malt beverage that is also known as kinder bier a.k.a. children's beer. 
I love Kinder Surprise (for the toys inside and the chocolate) and I drink kinder bier , I might as well go back to kindergarten again *sigh*.
Karamalz has this slightly sweet caramelic flavour to it, tasting a little like cola that has lost all its fizziness. Not too bad, but it is different. 

Rinder Kroketten (3pcs)  $10.00

A new addition to the summer menu is the crumbed and deep fried cylinders of Dutch style beef ragout, served with Dijon mustard on the side.
The croquette was amazing ! So creamy and just delicious, there was the right balance of the tender beef and the ragout. 
The dish could perhaps be plated better, putting few leaves on the plate for decoration is kinda pointless, it would be probably better off without them - the plate would have a more cleaner presentation. 

Camembert  $10.00

I was surprised when my friend, whom I drag along to the dinner, has never had deep fried camembert before !! She has been missing out BIG time !

Creamy camembert cheese, cut into wedges, crumbed and deep fried served with cranberry compote.
Though I had hoped that the inside would have been more melted, it is still deh-li-cious :D 
I could just had the whole plate myself....but must leave some room for more food.

Deep fried camembert....mmmmm......

Duo Herring and Lachs  $17.00

Szilvester, our charming waiter for the night with his distinct Hungarian accent, insisted that we must try this as it is one of their summer menu special.
I was a bit hesitant to order it at the sound of herring. Making pickled herrings as part of my study to become a food technologist has deterred me from eating herrings *shudder*
Even when I was at work's head office in Denmark, they always have herrings on rye bread in the canteen, the Scandinavians and some of the Western European just love this fish :)

A plate with 2 potted fish and freshly baked sourdough and rye bread arrived.....it's time...*gulp*

Herring to the left and Salmon to the right

The pickled herring in beetroot and apple was actually good - it is not fishy at all, on the contrary, it tasted clean and fresh. The sourish pickled beetroot and apple puree really made the it less fishy (make sense ?).
The poached salmon was buried under the creamiest home made dill mayonnaise. 
Out of the two, I prefer the herring better - as unbelievable as it may sound ! 
I found the potted salmon was too fishy to my liking, it is an oily fish and the eggy flavour of the mayonnaise enhanced the smell even more so. 
Even Szilvester was surprised when I told him I prefer the herring, apparently the salmon has been the more popular sister out of the two :P 

Schweinehachse  $29.50

We know this is going to be a big dish...just didn't expect it to be that big !!
Pork knuckle that has been roasted overnight arrived on a wooden board, complete with sauerkraut, fried bread dumpling and red wine jus.
"Don't worry, it's not burned" we were told, we must have had worried looked on our face *oops*
It has been glazed with honey hence the caramelized/burnt skin.

One huge knuckle

This is one hard piece of meat to tackle...we just don't know how to cut it, dissect it, or however you wanna call it.
The thought of just grabbing it by the bone and start gnawing did cross....
The skin was hard to cut through, but surprisingly crispy when eaten, not quite crackling but it still have that crunch. The meat was quite tender though I found it a little bit dry (I suppose roasting overnight will do that to a piece of meat ?)

Deep Fried Bread Dumpling

The fried bread dumpling, however, I liked very much :) Milk soaked bread, mixed with specks cubes and deep fried crispy !

Wurstteller  $26.50

What I thought will be a lighter main came as a plate of fat sausages, a thick slice of grilled speck, half a plate of roesti and the other half filled with sauerkraut...*gulp*
The brown and fat Swiss Cervelat was really soft and had a lovely smoked flavour whilst the Thuringer Bratwurst has a more robust flavour packed with lots of herbs and spices. 
The roesti was delicious, so buttery and soft, finely grated potato mixed with onion and pan fried golden. 

Tea 

We opted for some House of Santian loose leaf tea to help settle the over filled tummies, we had the  strawberry black tea and peach green tea.
There are some alcohol spiked hot beverages if you feel for something with more oomph ! than the tea.
Cofffe with German brandy or the Jaeger Tea that caught my eye - rosehip tea with Stroh rum that has 80% alc.....it is perhaps wise to pass on Jaeger Tea tonite...

Apfel und Birnenstrudel  $10.00

There is a 20minute wait on this dessert but it is worth every minute of waiting......
The apple and pear strudel arrived hot from the oven and the pastry was perfect, so flaky and crunchy. Filling was a compote of well stewed apple and pear, almost puree like and still have the tartness of the green apple. 
Served with vanilla cream sauce and vanilla bean ice cream....a perfect end to the night.

Mmmmm.....strudel......


Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe is a perfect place to hang out with friends over beers and good hearty, homestyle Western European cooking. The service is friendly and welcoming, while the foods may lack in presentation they are definitely not lacking in the taste department. 
The foods are delicious and comes in generous portions, as you have seen:)

We didn't get the chance to taste the schnitzel this visit so we shall be back to try them soon. 
They also have a shorter take away menu for pick-up or delivery and yes....their schnitzels are on the list !

The close proximity to universities and student accommodations sees this place frequented by mostly students but we saw a few tables of business suits that night. 
The weather is getting warmer and warmer (to my dislike), so why not drop in for lunch or dinner, grab a pint of beer or maybe another one whilst chatting away with your dining companions :)

Love My Foods & Sugar dined as guest of Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe and Wasamedia. 

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8 comments:

  1. Gosh your photos really made my mouth water! especially the knuckle, YUM!

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  2. That is a HUGE pork knuckle. Looks kinda medieval.

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  3. Glad to see you ordered different dishes to ours! LOL. And yes, everything is huge here, which is definitely the appeal.

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  4. wow the camembert looks so awesome with that gooey centre and crunchy outer

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  5. The deep fried bread looks so naughty but ever so nice :)

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  6. I wonder if they have 'KiBa' here, which is cherry banana juice that I had all the time in Germany. So yummy!
    It looks like fun here:)

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