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Bavarian Beerhouse EC1
Let's be beastly to the Germans. No, for a change, let's not. That country has its virtues. Beer and the celebration of beer - think Oktoberfest - are two of them. A third is the widespread availability of native dishes which - if not elegant - are both solid and cheap.
Judging on all of the above criteria, it's difficult not raise a foaming Stein to this newcomer near Moorfields Eye Hospital. It claims to be the UK's first Bavarian restaurant, and certainly struck this reviewer - who spent a summer in Germany a few years ago - as strikingly authentic. The staff are the real McCoy, and this is one of the few places in town you can peruse the SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung (should you be so minded).
The house beer is Paulaner - a brew that's not hugely marketed here - and the other options includes a deep-brown 'visitor' from Cologne (Kölsch). (Wines - specified as 'red' or 'white', at £19.50 a bottle - do not especially encourage investigation.)
The menu comes complete with all those wonderful specialities which visitors to Germany sometimes seem to find it hard to embrace. Indeed, even I shamefully opted out of the great snack dish LeberkÃ¤se (literally liver-cheese), choosing instead a MÃ¼nchener Schweinshaxe - a huge and meaty knuckle of pork, complete with the potato dumplings and Sauerkraut I never learned to love (even in the Fatherland itself). The meat was nicely cooked, but the highlight of my lunch was a rich pancake with apples.
The setting - a plain whitewashed basement, with a few trestle tables - is understated, arguably to a fault. But, for an establishment just north of the City, this is remarkably like the sort of stand-by destination you might expect to find in any small German town.
190 City Rd, London, EC1V 2QH
all day noon, Sat 1 pm - Mon - Thu 11 pm, Fri 1 am, Sat 1 am
Last orders: Mon - Thu 11 pm, Fri 1 am, Sat 1 am