18-24 Market Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 3361
If you’ve made a resolution to lose weight, get fitter, lead a healthier lifestyle or any of the above combinations this year, here’s how to NOT spend the last few hours of 2011:
- Share five plates of dumplings at Hu Tong between two people (yes, we managed to eat every single dumpling!).
- Have beers, cocktails, schnapps and apple strudels at the German restaurant next door.
- Down several glasses of vodka and lemonade/cranberry at a NYE clubbing event.
- Eat a curry pie from Pie Face immediately after the compulsory viewing of Melbourne city’s fireworks show.
- Go back to aforementioned NYE clubbing event to use up the remaining free drinks card to score more vodka, instead of resting like the old people we are.
Trust me, you’ll spend most of January 1st 2012 curled up in bed in a foetal position a la Morrissey, feeling sorry for yourself.
That said, I don’t believe in regrets. Although our stomachs and probably our brains were paying for it this morning, Marty and I certainly didn’t regret walking into said German restaurant, Hofbräuhaus, after dinner last night for ‘just one drink.’ Having been frequent diners of various Market Lane institutions over the past couple of years, the fact that we’ve never stepped into Hofbräuhaus is astounding. Almost as astounding as our heroic dumpling-eating efforts at Hu Tong only a few moments ago. We were full after three servings of chilli oil dumplings and two steamers of xiaolongbao (as you would) so why we thought that having a drink immediately afterwards instead of going back to our hotel to rest our tummies was a good idea, I don’t know.
An offshoot of the original Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, the world’s most famous beer hall, in Munich, Melbourne’s Hofbräuhaus has been pouring many, many litres of Hofbräuhaus beer since 1968. Hofbräuhaus beer is manufactured by Munich’s state-owned brewery with the same name, and is served in Hofbräuhausers all around the world. Melbourne’s Hofbräuhaus has also churned out hearty German fare and provided live music for dinner patrons in addition to the beers. Looking at all the diners tucking into steroid-like portions of pork knuckles, schnitzels and bratwursts kind of made me wish that we had come here for dinner instead of having dumplings (not that our dumplings weren’t fantastic but, you know, food envy) but hey, there’s always next time. Instead, we just headed to the bar to order some drinks.
I started off with a cocktail, an apple, mint, lime, lemonade and vodka one ($11.50), perfect on a balmy summer evening. I apologise for the fact that only a fraction of the cocktail glass appears in the frame – the only other photo of the cocktail (i.e. a FULL glass) happened to have Marty’s face in the background and he’d get sooky if I posted that pic up so unfortunately, this would have to do. Although they were a little tight on the alcohol content, my cocktail made up for it in taste. So fresh, so light and so zesty – it was the perfect drink for a balmy summer evening. I’m definitely going to be making this at home all summer long. Meanwhile, Marty ordered a one litre glass mug of Hofbräu Dunkel ($22), a dark beer which existed in Munich long before the arrival of light-coloured beers. Marty and I were just as wowed by the impressive, thick, creamy head that was formed during the pouring process as we were by the beer’s beautiful balance of spiciness, maltiness and sweetness. It was also surprisingly very light to drink, though drinking a litre of it is certainly no easy task!
We also decided to share an apple strudel ($12.50), just because. A generous slab of strudel arrived, surrounded by a custard-y vanilla cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and berries. Meanwhile, pistachio crumbs and chocolate flakes made it pretty. Although the strudel filling was delicious, the pastry lacked the required crispiness that I’m accustomed to (trust me, you have NOT tasted a good strudel if you’ve never tried a Corica apple strudel from Perth) so it wasn’t fantastic. That said, I’ve yet to come across a better-tasting strudel in Melbourne so I’ll give fair props to this one.
Just when we were about to keel over thanks to what seemed like a zillion grams of carb intake, we decided that having a shot of schnapps each would be THE most fantastic idea ever. No photos here, but I had a sour apple schnapps while Marty opted for his personal favourite, butterscotch ($6.50). I can’t vouch for Marty’s one, but drinking mine was like being punched in the mouth by a sour apple warhead on ‘roids – yep, that good. Had we been less sensible, we probably would have gone down the rest of the schnapps list, starting from non-sour apple finishing with chocolate. Next time.
We loved our time at Hofbräuhaus – the drinks were fantastic, and the staff so charming and friendly, with the presence of busty dirndl-clad waitresses being an obvious plus for many of the male patrons! The rich, homely dishes are probably a bit too much for me while the weather is this hot but they’re sure to be amazeballs when the temperature cools down.