Oktoberfest – more like Oktobeerfest (right?!) – has begun, but you don’t need to travel to MÃ¼nchen to enjoy oompah bands, Lederhosen and frothy ales and lagers by the Stein. London has taken this very Bavarian tradition to heart, and restaurants around the capital are celebrating with guest beers, special menus and tankards so large you may need help hoisting them to your lips. We’ve rounded-up the best of places to get authentic Germanic grub in a suitably gemÃ¼tlich atmosphere this Oktoberfest, and all year long…
Raise your Stein at a proper Bierkeller
When the Old Street original opened its doors back in 2005, it claimed to be the UK’s first Bavarian beer house. Indeed, we felt it was “difficult not to raise a Stein” to the place, which struck us as “strikingly authentic” when we reviewed it shortly after its launch. And its popularity seems to be growing with a second London location in Tower Hill and a site opening in Bristol in 2013. Try their ‘Schnitzel Madness Monday’ – pork escalope and a pint of German beer for £15.
Occupying a massive 8,500 square feet site on London Wall, this bar and restaurant definitely captures the cavernous scale of many Munich beer halls. The staff, all dressed in traditional Bavarian Dirndln and Lederhosen, serve up a selection of meats imported from a Bavarian butcher and an extensive range of beers, including MÃ¼llerbrÃ¤u from a family-owned craft brewery established in 1768.
This old Vauxhall pub has been transformed into a great neighbourhood restaurant serving regional German dishes and beers. On Friday lunchtimes there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for £7.95 which, unlike many German restaurants, actually offers a decent selection of vegetarian options as well as the usual sausages, Schnitzels and Schweinebraten.
For the best Wurst in town
£8.55 (dog, fries and soft drink)
This hot dog chain has been rapidly expanding over the last two years and now has three sites (Soho, Embankment and Fitzrovia). It’s a no-fuss, fast food kind of place, but raised a cut above thanks to the quality of its imported German ‘dogs. The Currrywurst, we felt, could be hotter though.
(£5.95 for dog, sauerkraut and potatoes)
This tiny little Farringdon spot has never inspired much feedback from our reporters but you’ll find every type of German sausage imaginable – Bratwurst, Rindswurst (pure beef sausages), Currywurst and NÃ¼renberger-style WÃ¼rste. All served with Sauerkraut and potatoes.
A little taste of Mittel-Europe
Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s Viennese neighbourhood café opened last summer and has already become a hit with celebs and foodies around Marylebone. Luxuriously decorated to look like a turn of the 20th century Konditorei, Fischer’s offers cured fish, Schnitzel, sausages and sandwiches, as well as Strudel and ice-cream coupes and a range of coffees.
Named after Bodo’s Cafezelt, the oldest tent at Munich’’s Oktoberfest and Schloss, this restaurant bar and disco concept offers ‘après-ski’ fun without ever leaving London. Wednesdays are lobster and live music night, where guests can enjoy their crustacea with salad and chips for £25, alongside other Alpine classics such as chicken or veal Schnitzel, NÃ¼renberger sausages and Sauerkraut.
What a shame that D&D London’s epic King’s Cross project won’t be open in time for Oktoberfest! It’s due to arrive in November instead, occupying the site of an old (and rather beautiful, Grade II-listed gym). Designed by London-born architect Edward Gruning in 1865, this was the first purpose-built gym in England and hosted the inaugural indoor events of the 1866 Olympic Games. 150 years later, this historical establishment is re-opening with a brand new 447-cover complex comprising ground floor grand café, an outdoor terrace, restaurant, bars and private dining spaces, serving a Mittle-European menu.