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.