Wolfgang’s Beer Haus

90-92 Balham High Road, SW12 9AG

Price for two: £46.80

South of the river

We’ve been to Wolfgang’s Beer Haus before, a couple of years ago, when it was located in the City. At the time I described it as a “strange fish” – a stretch too far from the bars around Monument to attract the braying traders seeking power-lubrication before hitting the Waterloo & City Line towards home, while simultaneously not open at weekends for the seven-day tourist trade. It was good – 8/10 – but “they’d do well to tie down a bit more clearly what they want to do with it”.

And perhaps so it proved – the City branch closed last year and it has now upped sticks to Balham, the sort of part of South London where pubs show rugby even when there’s live football on at the same time, and where Wolfgang’s literally shares a street with a sewing machine museum. It’s a little more spacious than its original home, and a lot more footfall-friendly – facing the high road, whereas the City branch was hidden in a warren of side-streets – but it’s essentially been transferred wholesale, from its distinctive aquamarine colour scheme to much of its menu. It’s no bad thing.

The only thing in London to get cheaper

We visit on a Saturday afternoon, when it’s relatively quiet. An Ireland v Wales Rugby World Cup warm-up – I told you – plays out on a projector to one interested spectator. A couple of couples are eating; a man who’s obviously got his son for the weekend tried desperately to interest him in a colouring book. Later a gaggle of millennials gather in a corner. There’s a live oompah band every Saturday night and Google’s ‘popular times’ shows it gets busy between 8-10pm, and you can see how the lay-out would cater to that: there’s plenty of space between tables for vertical drinking and swaying to brass.

Service is swift and friendly. I have a Krombacher Weizen, a nice cloudy golden amber with a dry finish (and a reduction in price since the move south of the river – £5.80, compared to £7 in its City incarnation), while Mrs Turnforthewurst has a “nice and crisp” pinot grigio. And then order the mixed sausage board for two. After then wonder just how much natural taste it will have, given that the waitress brings over industrial quantities of every condiment under the sun to accompany it. Seriously: the bottles of spicy tomato sauce pretty much needed both hands to handle.

Lord of the fries

Not that we needed to worry. The board, when it comes, looks magnificent. It comes with Bratwurst, sensationally flavoursome, tasty cheese frankfurters and Vienna beef sausages, strictly a Chicago rather than German delicacy, and one whose pinkness had Mrs Turnforthewurst questioning what they were. They had a delightful ‘snappiness’, though. In addition, there was sauerkraut and red cabbage (“at least you’re getting some vegetables,” says Mrs Turnforthewurst, somewhat hopefully), lovely crispy onions, a pretzel (“a nice touch”), an unexpected but welcome potato salad with bacon and fries. Oh, the fries. So moreish and the picture doesn’t do justice to quite how many there were, to the extent we had to ask the waitress to take them away for our own good. The whole thing required a second Weizen.

It would require a second, nocturnal visit to fully gauge Wolfgang’s 2.0 to actually see, rather than conjecture, how it shapes up at night but everything points to this one sticking around. It’s in a location much friendlier to casual trade, it’s geared for weekends – 10am-2am on a Saturday – and if, like us, you just want a meat feast blow-out of an afternoon, it’s a pretty good choice. Not overwhelmingly authentic – it styles itself as a “ski resort themed bar” and has quinoa salad on its menu – but fun and friendly. This time it seems to have played it just right.

Food 8/10

Drinks 8/10

Authenticity 6/10

Staff 8/10

Overall 7.5/10




9 Crutched Friars, EC3N 2AU

Price for two: £52.76


It’s regenerated

We’ve been here before. Way back in November 2015 we arrived at the very same venue in Crutched Friars in the City to review the “surprisingly authentic and likeable” Bavarian Beerhouse. But it closed late last year, along with its branch in Old Street, amid vague murmurings about the effects of Brexit. The official line, as reported by Camra, is that the Tower Hill branch closed due to an increase in rent, and Old Street thanks to redevelopment; its other branch, in Bristol, shut suddenly in 2017 following an “unforeseen dispute” with the building’s landlord. But paperwork lodged with Companies House show the firm filed for insolvency last December. So make of all that what you will.

But one German restaurant’s loss is another’s gain, and now, as of June, it’s the second venue for Bavarian beerhall concept Bierschenke, firmly established near Liverpool Street since 2014. It’s all part of some serious expansion plans – this new branch follows an £800,000 investment and owner Gerry Hanratty has said the firm is already in negotiations for two more sites.

If the London Wall Bierschenke, which claims to be London’s largest German pub, is a cavernous beerhall, the decidedly more bijou Tower Hill offering, limited by its 6,000sq ft, 400-capacity size, stays closer to the small-town Bavarian eatery style of its previous tenant. Upstairs is more foody, downstairs is described as a Bierkieller, rather than hall, and is a more spacious, boozy affair with plenty of room for roaming Oompah bands to blast out those ironic brassy covers of Despacito which are pretty much de rigueur. The interior is all wood panelling and northern European minimalism (all furniture was apparently imported from Bavaria and installed by German carpenters).


Having sneaked into the press opening back in June as Mrs Turnforthewurst’s +1, we return on an August Saturday, a day our server assures us with some relief is more laid-back (it’s close to the financial institutions of the City and Fenchurch Street Station, from where much of the former’s workers are ferried back to their Essex villas at the end of the day, so is perfectly sited for post-derivatives Thursday night blow-outs). But even at 2pm there’s a fair few couples in there having hearty lunches.

Like its Liverpool Street branch, it wears its German-ness relatively lightly, save the staff outfits and a couple of period tourism posters for Bavaria. Unlike its sister outlet, it has unnecessary TV screens pumping out a revolving set of Instagram pics and slogans reminding us (with spelling mistakes) just how awesome Bierschenke is and how we should visit. We’re here now. You’ve got us. Musically it’s much less overt than its predecessor, which genuinely pumped out DJ Ötzi and David Hassellhoff. Here it’s all AOR and the type of Hall & Oates fare now retrospectively dubbed Yacht Rock (seriously, look at Google Trends – it barely existed before last year). Anyway, it is at least a fairly decent representation of what you’ll here on most German radio.

I get a Weissbier, the same brewed-in-Bavaria, signature beer served at London Wall – lovely, light and with its signature banana tones. Mrs Turnforthewurst gets a glass of house white wine – “very nice for a house white”.

We’ll have all the meat, please

The food, then. After some epic um-ing and ah-ing from Mrs Turnforthewurst (“I might just see what comes out of my mouth”) we go for the Bierschenke Platter for two, at £26.50. “You’ll need to clear some room,” says our server, referring to our table and not our stomachs, although it turned out to be equally applicable to the latter. Described as “the best of Bierschenke”, it consists of two schnitzel, Bratwurst, Nürnberger, Frankfurter, Debreziner, hunter sauce, chips and Sauerkraut.

And what a thing of meaty beauty it is (this was, admittedly, days before the UN released a report urging the world to less meat and focus on plant-based food). The schnitzel is perfect and better than any on a platter has any right to be – although Mrs Turnforthewurst thought one would have sufficed –  the Bratwurst soft and deliciously citric. The Nürnberger have that distinctive sweet pine flavour of marjoram, while the Debreziner is heavily spiced and luscious for it. The hunter sauce is wonderful, the chips perfectly crispy, the Sauerkraut delightfully tangy. Only the salad, in a separate bowl, looks on largely neglected, a plant-based side days ahead of its time (although it does contain pickled cucumber – why don’t we do this more often?).

Oh, the food is wonderful alright. The service is very good. And the setting’s not bad too. It just needs to lose the TV sets – except when the Bundesliga is on, natürlich – and the Bierschenke team have another hit on their hands. Oh, and maybe the Yacht Rock. Lose the Yacht Rock too. And then – perfekt.

Food 9/10

Drinks 8/10

Authenticity 8/10

Staff 8/10

Overall 8.25/10




20 Camden Passage, N1 8ED

Price for two: £54.23


As I say, unassuming

Yes, it’s back to Austrian cuisine. Turn For The Wurst is running out of German fare in London and, with the influx of Liechtenstein eateries yet to arrive, it’s to Germany’s smaller southern neighbour we turn for Germanic food – although Kipferl is pretty much a continent away from Tiroler Hut, our previous Austrian review.

While Tiroler Hut seeks to capture the booze-fuelled après-ski antics of the country’s west, Islington’s Kipferl is influenced by the coffee shops of Vienna, or at least a romanticised version of it where Hans Hahn and Philipp Frank might nurse a thick black coffee while inventing functional analysis. The café’s own website says it’s “where the kitchen is open all day and you can sit on your own with a ‘kleiner Brauner’ reading newspapers for hours”. Alas, a newspaper is not to be seen on our visit.

Kipferl sits on Islington’s Camden Passage, the sort of street which looks like the media stereotype of Islington – all boutiques and independent coffee shops, bunting and plotting Labour types. While the image of the borough is misleading – 33.7% of the population live in poverty, compared to 27% across London – Camden Passage ticks every middle-class cliché box. Kipferl itself, though, is so unassuming, charcoal-grey with its unobtrusive signage, that we’re still looking for it while stood directly outside (it describes itself as a Geheimtip – a ‘little secret’).

It originally opened as a small delicatessen shop near Smithfield in the City, the brainchild of Christian Malnig, and opened to the public on Camden Passage in 2011. When we visit on a Sunday it’s busy outside and at the front, but a little quieter at the back, where the waiter finds us a table next to the ladies’ loos (it’s fine). Tellingly, German seems to be the predominant language amongst our fellow customers. A table next to us sound Austrian, a couple to our left perhaps Bavarian. The décor is pictures of presumably Austrian luminaries, a map of the Vienna public transport network and a confusing sign to the ladies’ which sends several people off in the wrong direction during our visit.

I order a Hirter Pils, a delicate, semi-dry Austrian lager which is very pleasant, albeit £6.50. Mrs Turnforthewurst has opts for a white wine, a Grüner Veltliner, which only comes in 125ml glasses and is “fine”.


The food, then. Unimaginatively, I order the Wiener Schnitzel. It comes in two large pieces and is very tender, accompanied with soft, delicious parsley potatoes and salad, a mix of salad leaves and mixed salad tomatoes. It also comes with cranberry sauce – I have no truck with fruit-based sauces on meat and could not tell you if this was the finest cranberry sauce the world has seen or gloop. In general, though, the schnitzel is luscious, even at the slightly eye-watering £18.50.


Mrs Turnforthewurst has the Steirischer Backhendelsalat, a Styrian-style salad made up of strips of breaded chicken, roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed dressing oil. While it was tasty, pleasant and light, she says she would have preferred more variety and suggests sun-dried tomatoes or olives would have made a difference – listen up, Kipferl.

In an unusual turn for Turn For The Wurst – well, it is Viennese, so it would almost be rude not to – we order a dessert, sharing an Apfel Strudel. Coming cold, as is the traditional Austrian way, I find it surprisingly tasty, particularly the ice cream which sits alongside it. Mrs Turnforthewurst, though, expected a more sugary pastry.

The atmosphere in Kipferl is very pleasant and relaxed, almost to a fault (while the service was initially attentive, getting the bill at the end becomes a bit of a mission). And while the food was good, it might be more of a weekday catch-up-with-a-coffee place, or maybe an informal business meeting or first date. While the Viennese vibe is definitely authentic, we don’t make any breakthroughs in mathematical analysis while there. But on the way out I did notice the little shop at the front sells cans of Mezzo Mix – the Germanic soft drink I’ve never seen in the UK before – which, for me, is a eureka moment in itself. We’ll be back.

IMG_2126Food 8/10

Drinks 7/10

Authenticity 9/10

Staff 8/10

Overall 8/10


German Kraft Beer

42 Newington Causeway, SE1 6DR

Price for one: £10.50


Some poor phone-at-the-table etiquette here

Mercato Metropolitano claims to be in SoBo. You won’t find that on a map, though, as it’s not a thing – it means ‘South of Borough’ and is the creation of edgy creative types keen to rebrand Elephant and Castle, a corner of South London synonymous with the capital’s least salubrious shopping centre and a 1980s sitcom starring Jim Davidson. It’s London’s most futile reinvention since an estate agent tried to dub Hackney Central ‘Mareditch’.

What Mercato Metropolitano is, though, is an ambitious venture by an Italian businessman to transform 45,000sq ft of a disused paper factory into a space packed with food stalls, shops and bars with a vague pretension to a greater social good. It’s a veritable Tardis of a place, unassuming-looking from the street but a rabbit warren inside, stall upon stall selling cuisine from across the globe to an equally international crowd.

And for the last few months it’s where German Kraft Beer has called home. It’s a relatively new brewery, partnered with one in the Bavarian town of Erlangen, which at present produces three different beers. Their big thing is the water. They’re very proud of their water. Unlike most craft brewers, who make do with plain old tap, German Kraft Beer boasts what they call an “exclusive water distillation and mineralization technology” which, they say, allows them to consistently create the perfect brewing water for very different types of beer.


I’ll be honest – I couldn’t tell. But I did very much enjoy a pint of their Edel Weiss, a fruity, creamy wheat beer pleasingly poured into a proper glass. Mrs Turnforthewurst’s friend, joining us for the afternoon, is not a beer drinker so asks the barman for advice, and he offers a taster of each. She opts for the Heidi Blonde, their biggest seller and a crisp Bavarian lager I professionally have a taste of (she gets a wrap from a nearby Lebanese stall, whereas Mrs Turnforthewurst goes completely rogue and gets both food and drink from elsewhere). They now supply beer to both branches of Stein’s.


I order two Bratwurst in a bun from the bar and although the staff member says he will alert me it’s ready by shouting ‘number five’, somebody else locates me and brings it to the table. Which is good, as onlookers might have thought he was a Short Circuit obsessive. And when it arrives – well, it doesn’t look like Bratwurst. The sausages are long and thin, more like a Nürnberger than a Bratwurst, but they’re tasty, well-seasoned and with a barbecue-like smokiness. The sauerkraut compliments it well and at a fiver, less than the beer, probably one of the best-value snacks within all 45,000sq ft of the place.

But it’s all about the beer (or the water). That’s what German Kraft Beer does and the food doesn’t really have any pretensions above being a snack. That beer is terrific, though, and any new addition to London’s craft brewing scene has to be welcomed. A pint or two comes well recommended next time you find yourself in SoBo. Or, as I like to call it, NoPe (North of Peckham).

Food 7/10

Drinks 9/10

Authenticity 7/10

Staff 9/10

Overall 8/10



Wolfgang’s Beer Haus

2-3 Creed Lane, EC4V 5BR

Price for two: £57.85


I think my parents’ first house cost about the same as this pint

What a strange fish Wolfgang’s Beer Haus is. Like its hotchpotch German/English name, it’s not entirely sure what it wants to be. Situated in the former Duke and Duchess gastropub close to St Paul’s, it launched without any fanfare – take a look at the slapdash job on redirecting traffic from its former website – and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s because it’s not really nailed down exactly what demographic it’s chasing.

It’s in the City, of course, but perhaps a stretch too far from the bars around Monument to attract the braying traders seeking power-lubrication before hitting the Waterloo & City Line towards home. And besides, it’s not really set up for post-derivatives shenanigans – there’s no room for an Oompah band, and the tables aren’t suited for dancing on. They’re too small and the condiments would go everywhere. There aren’t even any TVs for football. But on the other hand, it’s not open at weekends, which suggests they’re not targeting the seven-day tourist trade either. Which seems odd, given it’s a stone’s throw from St Paul’s and a refuge from the generic chain restaurants which make up much of Ludgate Hill. As I say, strange.

Still, we’re here to rate its food and drink, not its business model. And when we arrive on a horribly sodden Wednesday evening, it seems to be doing nicely enough in terms of trade – a few couples, a couple of larger groups, a table or two of older business types. In proper German style, drinks are table service, and gratifyingly quick. I have a pint of Krombacher weizen, and this is the only moment it feels like a City boy pub: it’s £7. Not a slightly psychologically easier £6.80 or similar, but seven quid on the nose. It’s good – it has that lovely banana bread taste like the best weizens – but £7 for a beer is enough to make one move to Stockton-on-Tees. It’s 30p more expensive than Mrs Turnforthewurst’s pinot grigio.

The feel is, as ever, quite Bavarian (nobody opens up a German bar to resemble, say, Bremen). The décor is Alpine, all wood panelling, with some tables under a little alcove to the left of the front door. A number of cuckoo clocks adorn one wall. It’s relatively spacious and there’s a separate room downstairs which can be rented out to groups.


After one drink we order another round and then the food. I have ‘Wolfgang’s Special’ schnitzel, with black forest ham and cheese, along with a potato and bacon salad, sauerkraut and salad garnish. First thing to say: it’s big. The picture doesn’t do justice to what a plate-filler this schnitzel is. And it’s good: the bread crumbs are sourdough, which makes it more dense, and the cheese oozes pleasingly from the edges. The potato and bacon salad is rich and delicious. The sauerkraut is so hidden by the enormity of the schnitzel that I was halfway through when I remembered that it was there. It has carrots in it – actually more of an East European sauerkraut – but is pleasant enough. Before I’ve even finished the schnitzel I’m stuffed although I bravely insist in eating at least the bacon from the salad, along with any bits of potato they touch.


Mrs Turnforthewurst, who is embracing flexitarianism, opts for the vegan Frankfurter, which comes with sauerkraut, crispy onion, pomme frites and a pretzel. Her view of the frankfurter is that it initially tastes like any other, but it’s the aftertaste which gives away it’s not meat. Trying it, I see what she means, without really being able to articulate why – but it’s good, and credit to Wolfgang’s for offering it. The fries, she says, are “just like McDonald’s” – and this is meant in praise – while the pretzel is warm, soft and delightful. Her only quibble is an excess of crispy onion, but it’s a relatively minor one.

The price of the beer aside, there’s little to fault about Wolfgang’s Beer Haus. The food is high-quality, the service swift and the atmosphere and look quite cool. It deserves every success. But they’d do well to tie down a bit more clearly what they want to do with it. It would be a great place to, say, meet with friends on a late Saturday afternoon. But it’s shut then. By eschewing the City boys, they’ve got a real opportunity to offer something a bit different in the Square Mile.

IMG_1611Food 8/10

Drinks 8/10

Authenticity 8/10

Staff 8/10

Overall 8/10


Tiroler Hut

27 Westbourne Grove, W2 4UA

Price for two: £63.20


The night is but young

Yes, Tiroler Hut is not a German restaurant. Tirol (or Tyrol in English) is a state in western Austria, and its Hut in Westbourne Grove is very much Austrian. But we’re 18 months into this esoteric quest now, and if it’s not to meet an untimely end its remit needs to extend, so Turn For The Wurst is now exploring German(ic) food in London. Expect some Austrian eateries, some Swiss saloons, even some Liechtenstein luncheonettes should one ever open. Actually, scratch that – it’s only a matter of time before the Standard magazine declares that “Liechtenstein food is really having a moment”.

Tiroler Hut is a bit of institution. It opened in 1967, so it celebrates its 50th birthday this year, although one suspects it hasn’t aged much in those five decades. With live music, yodelling and traditional Tirolean outfits, Joseph Friedman’s family-run restaurant is pitched firmly at the ‘fun experience’ end of the Germanic eating scale – stags and hens abound, as so often at these places – but, as we shall see, happily not too much at the expense of quality.

As said, it’s in Westbourne Grove, close to Bayswater station, one of those fringy bits of West London where high street brands and shopping centres such as Whiteleys stand cheek by jowl with mobile phone unlockers. In between are some of the more outlying tourist shops selling traditional London souvenirs including finger spinners, cushions which look like emoji poos and, in one case, scarves celebrating Portugal’s triumph at Euro 2016.

Tiroler Hut’s entrance is one small door lodged between Persian and Turkish restaurants, notable only for its fittingly red and white canopy. Once inside, you walk past the bar downstairs into a relatively small restaurant area – booking definitely advised, especially at weekends – all walls decorated in trinkets and mementos, tables clad in checked cloths and, the centre of attention, the music man. A comedic player of Austrian Schläger, a kind of Teutonic John Shuttleworth, he keeps it just the right side of the kitsch-naff divide. It’s difficult not to be taken in, if not all a bit Bring Me Edelweiss.

It’s busy when we go, on a Saturday night. To our top-left are a slightly older group on a hen do, telling the waiter they have to be back in Oxford that night. He responds via the medium of dance, hopping around the table slapping his thighs. Slightly later, a stag do – all Barbour, waistcoats and flat caps – walk in, flashing the cash. In our time there, they work their way through two of the house ‘boots’ – a nine-pint glass, clocking in at £45 (plus £20 deposit) – while all nursing another pint by their side while the prize isn’t in their possession. They only order starters as we’re leaving. To our right, two men visiting from Munich chat to their waiter in German. Turns out he’s originally from Hungary.

We order a bottle of the house white, a “blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay” at £25.50, which sounds criminal but which is quaffable, although it probably helps we’d had three drinks beforehand while watching the FA Cup Final at a pub around the corner.


Another atmospherically dark picture

I have the Bauernschmaus – a new one on me, described as the “Tyrolean Peasant’s Favourite” and made up of a whole host of meats served with dumpling and sauerkraut. There are two sausages, one long, one thick; beef; what seems like a gammon steak; and what can only be described as a kind of black pudding tartare. At least that’s what I can remember – it’s all delightfully rich and there wasn’t a bit left by the end. The sauerkraut, in particular, is deliciously piquant and the sausages wonderfully tasty.


Mrs Turnforthewurst opts for the Hühnerbrust, a chicken fillet fried in breadcrumbs, served with red cabbage and, ordinarily, potato salad, although she asks for French fries in lieu of the latter and the staff are obliging. The fillet was tasty and moist, and Mrs Turnforthewurst is “pleasantly surprised” by the care lavished on the food in a place where, in lesser hands, it would be second place to fuelling the hens and stags into the long West London night.

As we leave, at just 9.30pm, many are getting started, and Herr Shuttleworth is close to breaking out the cowbells. At £63.20 it’s not the cheapest, but it’s an awful lot of fun, and the food is not at all bad. The stag and hen dos are eyeing each other as we go. It’s not IMG_1588clear who’s making it back to Oxford.

Food 8/10

Drinks 7/10

Authenticity 7/10

Staff 7/10

Overall 7.25/10





German Deli

8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL

Price for one: £4.90


These lads don’t look keen

Borough Market, while never traditionally on the traveller’s must-see list of London, seems to now exert a gravitational pull on a certain sort of European millennial tourist to the capital. On any given visit, parties of teenage and 20-something Germans, Spaniards, French and Italians pack the tight spaces between its stalls selling every sort of food and drink imaginable to eat there or take away. Crowds shuffle haltingly – it gets very packed at weekends – but spirits are high, drinking is early, Europe’s young mix and everyone’s happy until you think about it a bit more and feel sad about Brexit.

Absurdly popular on our Saturday lunchtime visit seems to be the stall selling sea urchins, which looks intriguing until you realise that the image of cosmopolitan Londoners eating sea urchins is precisely the reason vast swathes of the country voted to leave the EU. So we head to German Deli, which backs on to Southwark Cathedral in one of the four corners of the market.

It’s the stall arm of an operation which also has a warehouse shop in Hackney Wick and a store around the corner from Borough Market on Park Street, which is well worth a look. On our visit there’s a queue at the stall and it’s doing a decent trade amid vast competition. It speeds along though, thanks to having gratifyingly few options – Bratwurst or Frankfurter, with a choice of any or all of mustard, ketchup and Sauerkraut (oddly, the staff and signs say ‘cabbage’, as if these urbane gastronomes may wonder what this alien ‘Sauerkraut’ is).


As modelled by Mrs Turnforthewurst

I opt for the Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and mustard at £4.90, and the first impression is it’s more than a handful, a decent size and with the cabbage not scrimped on. In fact, there’s pretty much half a jar on there. Second impression is that it’s the real deal, hearty and citric, the bread fresh and soft and the Sauerkraut deliciously zippy, even if much of it lingers between my teeth for the rest of the day. In fact, it’s so good it’s wolfed down by the time Mrs Turnforthewurst gets back from getting her lunch – she went totally rogue and got a chicken pie from the Pieminster stall next door.

It may be pretty pedestrian by comparison with sea urchins, but if all you want is the kind of Wurst you’d be happy with standing on the terraces at a 3. Bundesliga game, it hits the spot. And I shall go there next time I’m near Borough Market and get another to congratulate myself on getting 446 words on what is, after all, a review of a sausage.

Food 8/10

Drinks n/a

Authenticity 9/10

Staff 7/10

Overall 8/10



Find all our reviews on our new interactive map

Turn For The Wurst has now published no fewer than 14 reviews of German and German-themed eateries right across London. In order to help you discover them more easily, I’ve created this interactive map which you can click on and find those near you, with a link to its review on this blog. I’ll update it as and when I add more reviews to this site. And West/South London – you’re lagging behind.

The Eagle

250 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5LP

Price for two: £29 (not including drinks)


A sunny Saturday afternoon out west

First things first – The Eagle is not a German or German-themed restaurant. The relaunched and newly refurbished pub in Ladbroke Grove, now under the ownership of Hippo Inns, has no staff clad in dirndls. There is no oompah music or David Hasselhoff. So why is it here? Well, the press release announcing the venture referred to its “host of British and Bavarian-influenced dishes”, and that’s enough to pique this blog’s interest.

Second disclaimer: when we visited it was still in its soft launch period, with the formal launch to come. I’ve alluded before to the ethics of reviewing at this time, and the same still applies, up to and including the fact that – and if you want to avoid the results, look away now – The Eagle has absolutely nothing to worry about.

It’s already pretty busy when I arrive on a Saturday afternoon – in fact, there are no free tables and I have to perch at the bar to wait for Mrs Turnforthewurst. It’s light and spacious, the décor a mix of contemporary and classic and the stand-out fittings a large bronze eagle and the huge, black tanks above the circular bar containing something called Truman’s Raw. This, I learn from eavesdropping on a conversation between the bar man and a customer, is unpasteurised and unfiltered and delivered straight to the pub from Truman’s brewery in Hackney Wick. The Eagle, in fact, was originally a Truman’s pub and, intriguing though the Raw sounds, I go for a pint of Zephyr, their Australian pale ale.

(The customer, noting I was eavesdropping, asked if I was a restaurant reviewer. I said I wasn’t, which is technically true. He wasn’t having it, though, and later taps me on the shoulder to show me how good his and his friend’s selection of starters, including venison carpaccio and pickled herrings, are. Later still he tells Mrs Turnforthewurst she is beautiful, particularly noting her “white, square teeth”.)

A table is freed up as Mrs Turnforthewurst arrives and gets a pinot grigio. The menu, it is fair to say, wears its Bavarian influence lightly. They offer a crispy knuckle of pork, a chicken schnitzel and a Bavarian sausage served with brioche and sauerkraut, but the rest is standard fare for a Notting Hill gastropub – crab, sirloin steak, plaice.


I order the chicken schnitzel, which comes topped with a fried duck egg, accompanied by a green bean salad and on a wooden board complete with mock newspaper, which would irritate the sort of people who follow that plate-wanting, book-deal-baiting Twitter account but I quite like. The schnitzel is tender and flavoursome, the egg done to perfection and the salad, while looking lightweight, is delicious, the green beans accompanied by capers and an unidentified but moreish dressing.


Mrs Turnforthewurst, perhaps discombobulated by her attention from my new friend, goes for something far from Bavarian – approximately 632 miles, as the crow flies, from Bavaria – and orders the Dorset crab. It’s a mix of brown and white crab meat, the former packing a far greater flavour punch, although both are tasty. The dressing is saffron aioli and, with tastes of honey and vanilla, brings out the delicate, sweet taste of the crab even better. The fries which accompany it are thin and crispy and go well. The likes of Elbow, Snow Patrol and Hall & Oates are piped unobtrusively in the background.

The staff throughout are terrific – helpful, attentive and friendly and, best of all, they seem to be genuinely having fun. They’re a young and presumably new group and, if Hippo really want to succeed in making this a community pub, keeping this vibe will be key.

Initial impressions are extremely positive. Certainly it seems to be going well with the large and eclectic clientele in there on a Saturday. In fact, as we leave to head east, Mrs Turnforthewurst says, “I wish this was our neighbourhood pub.” I hope it was not because of the fangs-fancier at the bar.

Food 8/10

Drinks 8/10

Authenticity n/a

Staff 9/10

Overall 8.5/10



Bavarian Beerhouse

190 City Road, EC1V 2QH

Price for two: £45.68


Back in the very early days of Turn For The Wurst’s short life – November 2015, to be precise – we reviewed Bavarian Beerhouse’s City branch and were cheerfully surprised. “For all its location, and the threat of the Jägertrain, Bavarian Beerhouse is a really pleasant weekend find”, we said. (Aforementioned Jägertrain, less approvingly, was described as “a tequila slammer-like horrorshow with Jägermeister for stag do enforced fun”).

But that was in the City on a Sunday afternoon, when Europe’s foremost financial centre can represent the famous scene of 28 Days Later. So we decided to turn it up a notch – just one, mind – by trying out the Old Street branch on an early Saturday evening.

A Stein’s throw from the Silicon Roundabout, where Hackney meets Islington, this branch was its first and original (they also have one in Bristol). It’s a decent size, with seating for 330, and at 5pm on a Saturday the main area is relatively deserted, bar a few couples. It seems buzzier out at the back, where a group was watching Wales v England in the Six Nations – in fact, during the day a member of staff had taken the time to phone and ask whether we wanted a table near the screen. We’d declined – despite living in Wales for nine years, where you might assume one would take these things in by osmosis, I’m never quite sure how many points you get for a try – and took one of the large benches to ourselves on the proviso we were done before a large booking arrived at 7.30pm. Fair enough.

I order an Erdinger Hefe Weißbier and Mrs Turnforthewurst a glass of Macabeo, which is met with a “what?” from the waitress (“We just say first or second,” she says of the white wines – one to bear in mind). It’s then worth perusing its impressively packed magazine, which gives some insight into how the venue sees itself. With its monthly ‘Stammtisch’, an opportunity for everyone from absolute beginners to native speakers to practice their German, and the fact it’s the home of the London branch of the Bayern Munich official fan club, there’s almost a community-type underpinning to what might otherwise be a once-in-a-blue-moon funhouse.


Anyway, the food. I order the Special Bavarian Beerhouse “Wurstplatte”, which consists of a Bratwurstschnecke, a Merguez spicy sausage and a Käseknacker served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. As so often with these things, it’s deceptively big, the sausages peaking over the sides of the plate. And it’s hugely satisfying – the Bratwurst, spiralled in the centre of the plate, is thick and well-seasoned, the Merguez piquant and the Käseknacker quite smoky, with the cheese – Emmenthal presumably – understated. The sauerkraut is moist while the potatoes are velvety in their smoothness.


Mrs Turnforthewurst has the Nürnberger Bratwürst’l, three of the small, grilled sausages served with sauerkraut and a pretzel. They are, again, deliciously thick and citric, while the pretzel is soft, salty and fresh.

One little niggle: there was no soap in the bathrooms. The men’s did, however, have an intriguing-looking locked door and a key left tantalisingly by one of the sinks. I briefly thought of investigating before recoiling in fear of a Saw-style game.

That aside, Bavarian Beerhouse’s food is better than it really ought to be, or probably needs to be. It’s not exactly one of the increasing number of German restaurants in London experimenting with a new wave of Germanic cuisine, but then why would it? It shows rugby and serves Jägertrains. What it does do is afford its customers the respect of doing the classics well, and this is where it sort of triumphs. Its own website quotes an unnamed reviewer as saying: “This place is not something you would consider for a romantic or a posh dinner. But it is one of London’s best places for a group night out and having fun!”. Which is probably fair enough.

img_1475Food 8/10

Drinks 8/10

Authenticity 7/10

Staff 7/10

Overall 7.5/10