When I think of German food I think of BIG portions, loads of meat and a beer on the side. And I don’t think I’m all that wrong in thinking this. At Essen, this is exactly the case and I’m not complaining one bit. Perfect for a cold and rainy night, this northern European home style restaurant serves classic German dishes at classic German sizes (read: huge).
The menu has a good range of food, including some vegetarian options and a whole page dedicated to schnitzels! I was there to try the Reuben sandwich, which seems to be the sandwich of the moment here in Sydney but I also couldn’t go past the pork belly with roesti, sauerkraut and red wine jus ($27.50).
But first let me talk about the Reuben. OH. MY. GOD. Did you see the photo above?! This was the biggest sandwich I’ve ever seen and it was so full of delicious pastrami, gruyere cheese, sauerkraut and mayonnaise that I sat there for a few moments wondering how that beast of a sandwich was going to fit in my belly, let alone my mouth. There was no neat way to do this, you just have to go in it knowing that you’re going to get messy and your dinner partner is going to laugh at you and then Instagram you when you’re at your messiest (thanks, Derek).
Beyond the massive size, and the fact it was served dramatically with a knife through it, this was a really, really good sandwich served with 2 kinds of relish (horseradish and beetroot) and I think it could be the best Reuben I’ve had in Sydney. Yes, I said it. Only available for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays, the monster sandwich comes with wedges, pickles and a small beer for only $22.50.
Before I gorged on the the meat tower that was the Reuben sandwich, I couldn’t resist in partaking in one of my favourite things – deep fried cheese ($10). Served with cranberry compote, it was every bit guiltily tasty as I was hoping for. The poached salmon with dill mayonnaise ($15) was another winner and surprisingly light compared to the other items on the menu. Crispy pork belly was exactly that – so crispy and fatty (but in a good way) served with lots of sauerkraut and potato. Yum.
I was feeling quite food drunk by this point but how can I say no to apple and pear strudel? How?! Somehow I managed to regroup within the 20 minutes it took to prepare the dessert and thank goodness I did, because this was a damn good strudel! The vanilla sauce went perfectly with it and I could see me coming back and ordering this again.
Finally, keeping with the apple and pear theme, I decided to give their apple and pear schnapps a go. Served in the cutest little bottle, this 38% alcohol packs a punch. But hey, when in Germany…
Yes, I’ll be back. I think there’s a Jaeger Schnitzel with my name on it.
Address: 133-135 Broadway Ultimo NSW
Telephone: 02 9211 3805
Opening Hours: Daily dinner from 5.00pm; Thursday and Friday lunch from 12.00pm
Fashimi was a guest of Wasamedia and the lovely people at Essen. Thank you!