In The Rocks for the evening, dinner is had at the Lowenbrau Keller - a place where many a drink has been consumed by yours truly, but never a meal, until tonight. It's hard to pass up this 2-for-1 deal from the kind people down at The Rocks, but especially so when I'm heading next door just a bit later.
The mini beer hall is fairly busy for a Monday evening with tourists and locals alike being served by traditional costume-clad girls and guys. Sharing one end of a long table, we're presented with epic-sized laminated menus detailing a drool-worthy range of Bavarian eats. I'd somehow forgotten to have lunch - which is just as well as I had my eye on the pork knuckle.
Schweinshaxn - oven roasted pork knuckle with sauerkraut, Lowenbrau Bier and mashed potato from Lowenbrau Keller,
Argyle Street, The Rocks
Argyle Street, The Rocks
I can't help but laugh out aloud when it does arrive because this Midas-touched knuckle is absolutely beastly in size. It dominates the plate and the table really, as all of a sudden I feel eyes shooting in my direction. Substantially larger than my last German sample, I'm more hungry than I am trepidatious so I pick up the appropriately dangerous-looking knife, laugh unremorsefully, then drive the knife through a particularly crunchy, meaty section.
Coincidentally the oompah band has started up its loud antics and any auditory evidence of my attacking a helpless portion of pig is hidden. There are witnesses to knife wielding, multiple stabbing madness later on in the meal, but that is some really crunchy skin. The entire knuckle is wrapped in this salty, crunchy guilty pleasure and not a bit of this impossibly perfect crackling goes to waste.
The meat, on the other hand, is even more bounteous but ranges from dry and hard on the outer bits, to moist and tender on the inside. I manage to skip over a lot of the fatty bits inside, even then only managing a bit more than half of the meat. It's definitely one for the hearty eaters, or two, but great comfort food for the cooler weather as well.
The mashed potato is moreishly smooth and creamy; simply delectable with the gravy whereas the sauerkraut is the perfect partner to the salty crackling skin.
After some significant menu deducing, my companion opted for the lighter kassler - which also comes in a, not quite as funny, huge serving with mash and sauerkraut. It's a superbly thick slice of smoked pink meat that's strongly reminiscent of ham but juicier and perhaps not quite as savoury. It's enjoyed along with the entertainment of me across the table patiently fighting (or is it boxing?) it out with the knuckle.
When I eventually give up it's a dozen or so cobblestoned steps next door to The Argyle for the Time Out Sydney Comedy Awards in what promised to be a funny kind of booze-fest. Celebrating the best of the recent Sydney Comedy Festival, it was also a fun night picking out the comedians in the packed venue.
With beer and absinthe brands sponsoring and (responsibly) plentifully distributed upon arrival, I spotted Julian Morrow from The Chaser (who was MC-ing the ceremony), Julia Morris, Lawrence Leung, DeAnne Smith, Al Pitcher and the literally unmissable, Reggie Watts.
The bouncy Afro-ed Reggie Watts doesn't take out an award but he's the winner of the night's performances with a fun, funny and strangely awe-inspiring act that the crowd loves.
Not too long after the ceremony people disperse; perhaps for the fact of a Monday night event, or perhaps the not-so-funny drying up of the free bar. Either way the clearing out makes for better comedian hunting, which makes a chuckling, giggling, laughing and funny addition to my photo albums.