Hubby and I were baby-free and ready for a feast – and boy, did we get one at Essen!
First up, beer for him (Radeberger pilsener on tap, 500ml $8.50) and a glass of wine for me (Scarborough Chardonnay, $8) accompanied by some warm salty pretzels with fresh butter ($3.70).
I have been to Essen’s sister restaurant Una’s many times, but never tried the pretzels due to the knowledge of how large the portions are. I’d rather save room for the gigantic schnitzels. However, since I was reviewing this time, I thought it best to taste them for you – yes, I’m very diligent at my job! :)
Sadly, I’m going to have to find room every time now, as they are absolutely delicious! Warm, crispy, chewy and beautifully salty with a generous amount of good unsalted butter on the side. We made light work of them while chatting about our day and perusing the menu.
The main reason we were there was to check out Essen’s new European-style Rueben sandwich ($22.50, served with beer, pickles and chips) at lunchtime on Thursdays and Fridays, but they have kindly made for us on a chilly Thursday evening.
You can’t really see how tall the tower is from the angle of my photo, but you can probably use your imagination as it is held together with a large steak knife – the sword in the stone style!
It is actually two sandwiches on top of each other and based on the original sandwich made famous by Katz deli in NYC, but with a Northern European twist! The rye bread sandwich is filled with beef brisket that has been marinated for weeks in a concoction of Jamaican pepper, coriander and cardamom which makes the meat moist and very flavoursome.
Also stuffed in there is a tangy Hungarian-style sauerkraut, gruyere cheese and a generous dollop of russian dressing. Drooling much?
On the side are house-marinated pickles and beautiful crunchy hand-cut wedges, plus it’s served with a tray of horseradish and mustard condiments (guaranteed nose-tingling!).
This would have been enough for dinner alone! But no, we soldiered on. (Shhh, we took home one and a half sandwiches to have for lunch the next day so we could get through the rest…)
The restaurant has a warm and cosy atmosphere with lots of wooden architecture and furniture. We were seated at the back where this massive structure is displayed behind glass.
There wasn’t much time to admire it though, as more mains were promptly delivered.
Behold, the sausage platter ($26.50) with Weisswurst, Cervelat, Csabai and blood sausages. Really interesting home made pickles made this rich dish easier to get through – super vinegary carrots (marinated in beetroot juice?), brussel sprouts (surprisingly, my favourite), radish, cucumber and onion.
The sausages were all delish smothered with sweet german mustard and mouthfuls of the fried bred dumplings. The standout though was definitely the white one as it was steamed so the pork flesh was silky and almost sweet.
The obligatory Jager Schnitzel (veal with mushroom sauce $22.50) was delicious as expected, but we were really forcing it in by this point.
I suggest ordering less and really enjoying this as the schnitzel is cooked to perfection; crunchy, not oily and the veal beautiful and moist. There is a mountain of buttery, potato roesti under that monster piece of schnitzel, you just can’t see it.
Speaking of monsters, if you are a schnitzel fan, then get ready for a new promotion titled SCHNTIZILLA: a massive 3.5kg schnitzel with cabbage salad and roesti on the side ($49). If you finish it in 45 minutes then it’s FREE! Plus, you’ll get a 1L stein of beer to wash it down. Schnitzilla starts this Saturday 26th May.
I don’t think I dare. Do you?
There was just enough room for the black forest trifle ($10) in our dessert belly. That’s a real thing, right? Anyway, I’m glad I could fit this in as it was the perfect ratio of ingredients for me – more whipped cream than sponge cake and lots of little tart sour cherry bursts.
Have you been to Essen? Are you a schnitzel fan? Would you take on the schnitzilla? Tell me everything, I’m an unashamed sticky beak!
Fig & Cherry dined as guests as of Essen Restaurant & Bar with compliments of Wasamedia (thanks Krissie!).
133-135 Broadway Ultimo NSW
Phone: 02 9211 3805
7 days dinner from 5pm.
Thursday and Friday lunch from 12pm.
Delivery from 5pm till 9pm daily.