On a cold, drizzly Melbourne night, I had intended to catch up with a group of friends over dinner at J-Cafe on Bourke St. Unfortunately, it was closed for no apparent reason, so dinner was relocated just around the corner to Market Lane. In this little alleyway lies the famed Chinese restaurants Flower Drum and Hutong Dumpling Bar. We decided to dine at a (very inviting) German pub instead. Hofbräuhaus Melbourne was filled with light, warmth, music and laughter and was a welcome relief from the freezing cold air outside.
By the time I’d gotten there, my friends had already ordered some very tempting appetizers. The Langosh (Hungarian fried bread with garlic, served with sour cream) was soft and fragrant, and the Gebackener Camembert (crumbed Camembert cheese) was smooth and creamy, as all good Camembert should be. Having had a gnawing hunger for Camembert cheese for the last few days, it’s nice to know that my friends aren’t completely oblivious to random food cravings.
Gebackener Camembert (Crumbed Camembert Cheese, served with Lingonberry Compote)
The extensive menu provided by Hofbräuhaus means that choosing a main is somewhat difficult. In the end though, a vegetarian dish, a meatball dish, and two sausage platters were ordered. The
Pilz Pfanne (mixed forest mushroom ragout in creamy herb sauce with bread dumpling, served in an iron pan) was overall quite delicious. The variety of mushrooms livens up the dish, and the creamy sauce was rich and well flavoured. The only issue I could find was that the bread was perhaps a bit too dense, but it did soak up the sauce wonderfully.
I didn’t try an of the Frikadellen (pork and beef rissoles on mushroom sauce, served with mash potatoes, market vegetables and crispy onion rings), but it was certainly devoured very quickly, even considering the generous portion sizes.
My order of the HB Wurstplatte (selection of sausages (Nurnberger, Cheese Kransky, Swiss Bratwurst) on a bed of sauerkraut, served with German mustard) was almost perfect in my eyes. The sausages were juicy and not greasy at all. There was enough variety so that I kept on devouring the meat, perhaps against my better judgement. The sauerkraut had just the right amount of sourness to offset the oil in the sausages and to balance out the meal. We ordered potato dumplings as a side dish, and while these were soft, they only had flavour when drowned in the mustard, or the mushroom cream from the ragout.
I was slightly jealous of the massive plate of pork belly that the diners at the other table were eating, but consoled myself with the fact that it ‘probably’ wasn’t as good as some of the pork belly that I’ve had at other restaurants. I still would have liked to have tasted some. And of course, being a German pub, they also had an extensive range of beers (in 500 mL and 1 L glasses) and schnapps. I didn’t drink any, seeing as I had work early the next morning, but a beer would have been the perfect accompaniment to the meal. Schnapps on the other hand, would have made a very suitable dessert. Overall, a very satisfying, heart-warming meal. I can’t believe it took me this long to even realise this was here!
18-24 Market Lane, Melbourne
Tue-Fri Lunch, Tue-Sun Dinner