Review: Augustiner am Platzl, Munich Germany

The Hofbrauhaus is legendary. Almost everyone we met in Munich said to us, “You have to go to Hofbrauhaus!” Of course, this insistence was always tempered with “Don’t bother with the food, it’s a bit average…just go for the beer hall atmosphere!” I hate to say it, but that’s probably the worst way to recommend somewhere to us – I don’t drink, and K doesn’t have more than a handful of drinks in a week even while on holiday.

When we walked past the Hofbrauhaus, it further demonstrated how it wasn’t the place for us – rowdy drunk Americans and Australians were stumbling around outside the beer hall, reeking of stale alcohol. If you’re a drinker and you love tossing back litre mugs of beer with other tourists, the Hofbrauhaus is for you.

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For our part though, we crossed the road to Augustiner am Platzl, a smaller Bavarian pub serving beer from Munich’s oldest independent brewery – Augustiner-Bräu. The atmosphere is a lot more relaxed in here – while it’s still busy with tourists given its location, they’re more likely to be sedate family groups or older couples. It’s also the type of place where older German gentlemen come in on an afternoon, buy a beer, and sit down to read the newspaper – so it is popular with locals as well.

Augustiner Hefeweissbier and Apfelschorle

Augustiner Hefeweissbier and Apfelschorle

Beer is still the primary attraction of the Augustiner am Platzl, with a full collection of the Augustiner beers. K chose the Augustiner Hefeweissbier – reportedly a very drinkable lighter beer which matches well with the heavier Bavarian style of cuisine. I chose to have the Apfelschorle which has become my drink of choice as it’s not quite as sweet as regular apple juice, and is infinitely more refreshing with its bubbles.

Traditional Bavarian roast pork with white cabbage salad and potato dumpling, 12.90 Euro

Traditional Bavarian roast pork with white cabbage salad and potato dumpling, 12.90 Euro

I chose the Traditional Bavarian Roast Pork for my meal, which came served in a thick pool of rich beer-tinted gravy. The pork was roasted well – possibly a bit on the dry side in some parts so the gravy came in handy to make it a bit more palatable. The potato dumpling was very thick and stodgy, and not as smooth, light and creamy as you would hope.

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The white cabbage salad side that came with the roast pork was a lovely accompaniment – only lightly dressed, it acted as the perfect light side dish to balance out the heavier and richer flavours of the pork and potato. The little deep-fried bacon bits helped to add a bit of texture and saltiness to the salad.

Butcher's Grill Pannikin (typical Bavarian sausages en brochette with sauerkraut), 9.90 Euro

Butcher’s Grill Pannikin (typical Bavarian sausages en brochette with sauerkraut), 9.90 Euro

K’s choice of the Butcher’s Grill Pannikin was a lot more disappointing. While the concept is good (a tasting of different German sausages), the execution was less well done. The sauerkraut was very sour, even for people like us who enjoy pickled and fermented foods. The sauerkraut to sausage ratio was off as well, with way too much sauerkraut and not enough sausage. Not a fantastic meal unfortunately.

Augustiner am Platzl won’t offer you the best Bavarian meal you can have in Munich – but it’s not a bad alternative to the Hofbrauhaus if you want a less rowdy atmosphere! You can still get a good range of beers here, and half-decent food for a good price. I’d recommend ordering one of their many pork dishes rather than their sausage-based meals though.

Augustiner am Platzl is located at 5 Orlandostraße, Munich.


Review: Trattoria San Benno, Munich Germany

Arriving in Munich at dinnertime, we met our Airbnb host Lisa at the apartment we were going to rent from her for five days. After a quick tour of the apartment (it was a studio apartment, it didn’t take that long!), she said to us, “Have you got any plans for dinner? I can recommend a great Italian place around the corner. It’s not fancy or too expensive, but it’s not cheap either, it’s kind of mid-range. Just a neighborhood restaurant.” Considering how hungry I was by then, that was good enough for me! With Lisa’s directions, we headed off to Trattoria San Benno, named after the nearby church.

Interestingly, Italian seems to be the foreign food of choice in Germany – our Airbnb hosts in both Munich and Berlin suggested Italian restaurants to us. I wonder if it’s because Italian food is generally more universally palatable and is a ‘safe choice’ – most people will enjoy a pizza or a dish of pasta.

San Benno is very much a neighborhood restaurant – located on a quiet street in the suburb of Maxvorstadt in Munich, there are no other restaurants around. It’s literally the only choice for evening dining in an otherwise residential area, and is very very popular with the locals as a result. It seems genuine as well – the waiters are all Italian, and there’s a large stone pizza oven in the back of the restaurant manned by a pizza chef.

San Pellegrino, 4.90 Euro

San Pellegrino, 4.90 Euro

We start off as usual with a bottle of sparkling water to share. A touch of Italian pride here – where we’d been served the sparkling water brand Romerquelle in most other places in Austria and Germany, San Pellegrino was the brand of choice for San Benno.

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The House Salad to share – unfortunately extremely overdressed, with a pool of dressing at the bottom of the bowl. It was quite a generous serving for its price, but it was let down by the fact that you had to vigorously shake each forkful of salad before you put it in your mouth in order to get rid of the excess dressing.

Hausgemachte Tagliatelle mit Lammragout, 12.90 Euro

Hausgemachte Tagliatelle mit Lammragout, 12.90 Euro

One of the specials of the day was the House-Made Tagliatelle with Lamb Ragout. There were lots of pasta dishes on the regular menu, but a rich and hearty lamb ragout sauce was very appealing especially with the slightly cooler temperatures in Germany. The lamb was extremely tender and the sauce particularly rich with a slight tinge of caramelised onion. The pasta itself was beautifully cooked as well with just the slightest al dente bite to it. I thought it was freshly home-made, but K wasn’t quite as sure. Either way, it was still a beautiful dish – simple but rich, hearty, and utterly satisfying.

Pizza Capricciosa, 9.40 Euro

Pizza Capricciosa, 9.40 Euro

We finished off our meal with a Pizza Capricciosa, with me particularly enjoying my direct view of the pizza chef assembling and then cooking our pizza in the giant pizza oven. The pizza wasn’t cooked quite as well as K would prefer (he likes a lot of charring), but I personally liked the slightly doughier crust. The toppings were simple, and I did like that they didn’t overload the pizza – a mere scattering of olives is generally more than sufficient, you really don’t need four olives on each slice! I thought the ham was particularly tasty as well, and fresh mushrooms are always a treat.

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A little trifecta of sauces gets brought out to each table on the off chance that you want to add some extra chilli, garlic or basil seasoning to your pizza or pasta. I tried the chilli sauce on a slice of pizza, and was absolutely blown away by how hot it actually was – definitely not what I was expecting as we hadn’t experienced a truly hot chilli dish in Europe to that point.

Trattoria San Benno is a great little neighborhood Italian restaurant – a fantastic choice if you just happen to be staying in that part of Munich. It’s probably not worth the extra trip to get there if you’re staying elsewhere though, as I’m sure there are other similarly tasty neighborhood Italian restaurants almost anywhere else in Munich!

Trattoria San Benno is located at 14 Loristraße, Munich.


Review: Restaurant Brunnaeur and a Day in Salzburg, Austria

The hills are alive with the sound of music with songs they have sung for a thousand years. The hills fill my heart with the sound of music. My heart wants to sing every song it hears.

Salzburg, Austria. Situated in the west of the country close to the German border, it’s probably best known these days as the home of the Von Trapp family and the location of The Sound of Music (oh, and Mozart’s birthplace if you prefer your music to be a little more classical). Who can forget Julie Andrews on the hilltops singing her love of the landscape? K and I visited Salzburg on a day trip from Munich, primarily so I could explore some of the locations used in the filming of the movie.

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Having a fantastic lunch at Restaurant Brunnauer was really just the icing on the cake! Relying primarily on Tripadvisor reviews, I chose Restaurant Brunnauer as a restaurant that could offer us the best ‘bang for our buck’. With main courses regularly costing over 25 Euro at this restaurant, their daily lunch menu offering of two courses for 16 Euro was a real bargain. With the added bonus of a 5 Euro daily dessert (normally 14 Euro), it was an offer too good to pass up.

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Located a little bit out of the main area of Salzburg in a residential neighborhood, we were easily the only tourists in the restaurant (located in a cave under one of Salzburg’s many mountains in case you’re interested). All around us were local businesspeople having long business lunches – suits were a plenty, and K and I felt a bit underdressed in our T-shirts and jeans! The waitresses were very nice to us despite our casual wear, and easily switched to perfectly fluent English.

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We had a large bottle of sparkling water of course, and K ordered an additional drink – a House-made Lemonade with Mint. It was just as described – probably on the sourer side without the addition of too much sugar.

Geraucherter Heillbutt mit roten Ruben *& Oberskren

Geraucherter Heillbutt mit roten Ruben & Oberskren

The first course of the set lunch menu that day was Smoked Halibut with Beetroot and a Horseradish Cream. The beetroot was sliced paper-thin and was very very sweet – perfectly fresh and in-season. The horse-radish cream gave just the right kick to the sweet beetroot and the halibut. As it was quite a lean fish, it meant that the flesh wasn’t quite as creamy and smooth as other smoked fish. It was very interesting as a change of pace from the usual smoked salmon though!

Gebratene Lammkoteletts mit Ratatouille

Gebratene Lammkoteletts mit Ratatouille

The second course of the set lunch menu was Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Ratatouille. The lamb was amazingly tender, and cooked to medium so it was still quite pink inside. The bread basket came in extremely handy at this point to sop up some of the extremely rich (wine-enhanced?) sauce of the ratatouille – which to be honest, was almost too strong!

Orangenmousse mit Kumquats & Pistazien

Orangenmousse mit Kumquats & Pistazien

We finished by sharing a single dessert from the daily menu – the Orange Mousse with Cumquats and Pistachios. There was a more traditional chocolate mousse on the menu, but we thought the orange mousse would prove to be more of a palate-cleanser after the intense rich flavours of the previous lamb dish. This was definitely the case – the orange mousse was light and airy, and a perfect way to finish off a meal on a delicate and refreshing note.

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Restaurant Brunnaeur is a gorgeous little restaurant. No doubt a lot fancier at dinnertime, they are more relaxed at lunch and will welcome walk-ins on weekdays, even if you’re dressed casually as a tourist in a T-shirt, jeans, and hiking shoes! It’s an unusual space as well, being right inside the mountain in a cave-like room. It makes me wonder how long the space has been there, and what it was before it was turned into a restaurant…perhaps a hide-away for rebels like the Von Trapp family against the Nazis?

Restaurant Brunnaeur is located at 13A Augustinergasse, Salzburg.

Salzburg itself is a gorgeous city, and offers a bit of everything. If you like picturesque old towns, it’s got that in spades. If you like music, it is the birthplace of Mozart and there are regular performances in its theatres and concert halls. If you’re outdoorsy, there are mountains all around for you to hike up. If you like joining a tour, there’s plenty available – many Sound of Music themed, but some general tours as well. It’s a fantastic destination for a daytrip from Munich!