Monday, January 19, 2009

Sydney night out with a bit of Germany

It has only just occurred to me that I've had an unknowingly German night out recently. We headed for a meal at the Bavarian Bier Cafe on York St before seeing the Sydney Festival outdoor screening of Run Lola Run to a live score in Darling Harbour - it being a fantastic and surprising German film made all the better by the atmosphere and soundtrack we experienced. In hindsight the meal was a perfect precursor to the movie, which was so popular that people watched it from the highway bridge above Darling Harbour.

But I digress. I hadn't been to a Bavarian Bier Cafe for a meal for quite some time, and had forgotten how pricey it can be. For some reason, price doesn't enter the equation when it's just beers and drinks. Anyway, we haven't got huge appetites tonight anyway so we're happy to steer away from the heavy mains. I start with my favourite beer from the cafe, the Austrian Stiegl in the small 300ml size as I'm aware that I'm going to an outdoor movie just later.

Stiegl from the Bavarian Bier Cafe, York St

We select two dishes from the starters menu and while service is a bit on the slow side this night, we happily kill time by drinking and chatting into the loud open space. The atmosphere is decidedly post-work, with large dinner groups at tables and duos and trios at the bar with steins. After a bit of grumbling about work, family, boys, life in general and the wait for our meals, food arrives looking resplendently scrummy.

Bavarian antipasto plate

Fusion at its best? Having never thought to seeing the words 'Bavarian' and 'antipasto' together in the same title, my choice of starter arrives on a long rectangular plate with a basket of 'European bread' and butter. It's a plate of cold meats and vegetables, and as close to healthy I'm going to get eating Bavarian, I think. On the bottom of the meat side sits a thinly sliced salami-style meat and a pastrami-style one - I've no clue of the Bavarian terms for these. Folded on top are devon-style meats and the two on the edge are ham-like and bresaola-like, respectively. I guess if it's a antipasto plate I'm entitled to use some Italian terms.

Some pickled vegetables sit on top of the leafy greens: cauliflouwer, onion, baby corn and capsicum and there's a little dish of potatoes in a sweet dressing. Hidden somewhere underneath the greens is also a lump of rich, creamy pate, although we run out of bread to make the most of it. Our other dish is not quite so Bavarian but probably more ubiquitously Sydney.

Chilli salted squid with passionfruit sauce

While the squid dish looks pretty, I'm skeptical about the pairing of the cephalopod with the seedy fruit. As it turns out, it's not half bad. The squid is perfectly, if not unbelievably, tender beneath the thin and crispy golden fried batter. The batter itself is a revelation, seasoned with plenty of chilli flavour that doesn't so much hit the tastebuds as caresses them.

With food and beer in our bellies we're ready to brave the crowds and whatever weather conditions the skies decides to throw out tonight as we rush down to Darling Harbour for a quintessential Sydney night out.

Bavarian Bier Cafe York on Urbanspoon

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