9 Crutched Friars, EC3N 2AU
Price for two: £39.71
Situated 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, Bavarian Beerhouse could have been designed exclusively for Thursday night blow-outs. And there’s evidence of a bit of that – the menu showcases something called a Jägertrain, a tequila slammer-like horrorshow with Jägermeister for stag do enforced fun. But come on a Sunday afternoon, when the City boys are polishing their Audis and the area is a haven of tranquillity, and Bavarian Beerhouse is a surprisingly authentic and likeable little place.
One of two branches five miles apart, it’s styled like a small-town Bavarian eatery, all chequered tableware (albeit red and white, rather than the Bayern blue) and pictures of Neuchwanstein Castle. On a Sunday two large screens show the Bundesliga, on this occasion Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim attempting to play through a snowstorm. Until they switch it off for the commentary, atmosphere is provided by the music – raucous Schlager interspersed with DJ Ötzi and, hopefully with a dollop of irony, David Hasselhoff’s Looking For Freedom. We muse on what DJ Ötzi is up to now and conclude it’s probably “still having huge hits on the continent”.
The fulsome menu is all you’d expect, and I opt for the traditional Wurstplatte, Frankfurters, Nürnberger and Bratwurst served on mashed potato and sauerkraut. The relatively small size of the plate can be misleading in just how much is there – the mash and sauerkraut goes deep and the bratwurst leans over both sides. The wurst is largely delicious – the bratwurst rich in flavour and depth, the nürnberger delicious with its distinctive, slightly citric taste. Only the Frankfurters taste a little shop-bought, but it’s no deal-breaker. The mash is delightfully soft, the sauerkraut very slightly watery for my taste but again, very edible.
Mrs Turnforthewurst goes rogue and turns not for the wurst but the Käsespätzle, noodles with cheese, onion, cream and a mixed salad, the latter of which arrives like a sheepish gatecrasher. It is, again, disarmingly hearty – rich and flavoursome, although it leaves her a little bloated afterwards. It’s one of only two vegetarian options on the menu, and less is more might be an idea. Drinks were an Erdinger, from the tap and excellent, and a decent white wine. The service is good – we had to wait a while to get the bill, but then this is supposed to be Munich, not Manhattan, so savour the authenticity.
The trade is sprightly for a Sunday afternoon in the City, a mix of a handful of families, a few couples, a pair of Essex boys presumably still out from Friday and at least two groups of German guys, perhaps London residents pining for fare from home. They didn’t look disappointed, and nor should they be – for all its location, and the threat of the Jägertrain, Bavarian Beerhouse is a really pleasant weekend find.