There were so many reasons to skip over Germany. One – the war. The British still don’t seem to have gotten over that. Two – my waistline – with menu items including “rich camembert cheese mixed with cream cheese, butter and beer and served with a pretzel,” “sausage salad” (since when is sausage a salad?) and a 340 gram meatball, I wasn’t entirely sure this was going to be a good idea. And those were just the snacks/appetisers – as a main, the meatball comes with a fried egg, fried potatoes and a side “salad.”
Instead of listening to my head though, I listened to my heart, and signed up for Monday night “Schnitzel Madness” at the Bavarian Beer House in Tower Hill. With five brave friends in tow, I expected mediochre yet hearty food, giant beer and waitresses wearing lederhosen. Maybe a food fight or two – I was not to be let down.
In fact, our ample-bosomed, lederhosen-clad server even had the German accent to go with her attire. Slightly brusquely, she seated us at a round table in the corner on the first floor, a safe distance from the two separate groups of young men drinking what I could only assume was the Jagertrain: “Jagermeister and Redbull for 10 guests – the Journey of your life.” Of course they also could have been drinking the Porno Metre – that’s 16 shots of pornobrause on one board. What pornobrause is, I’m not sure I want to know.
Our party stuck to beer, most of us opting for a litre of Erdinger, a premium German wheat beer, to accompany our meals. It took me three hours to finish mine – beer just doesn’t belong in a glass that big. By the time I reached the bottom it was warm and disgusting and I was encouraged to just let it go – but that’s just not my style.
Andrea ordered sausage and mash to start, to be followed by her schnitzel. The rest of us didn’t feel this was necessary.
Jon and I also ordered from the BBH’s extensive schnitzel menu, largely because a) schnitzel is just the greatest word and b) because on Mondays, the “schnitzel madness” offer entitles diners to one of TEN different types of schnitzel and a pint of beer for only 15 big ones. As already indicated, we upgraded from pint to litre because, well, the number one reason I wanted to come here was for the novelty stein glass.
Charles opted for the sausage platter, which, if I’m not mistaken, comprised six different types of sausage accompanied by mash and sauerkraut. Let’s say it was nine. It sounds more disgusting if I say nine. I was hoping for a more disgusting night, if I’m honest – the whole evening was fairly civil, with not even one giant flying weiner to be found. A bit disappointing, really – apparently, food fights are only permitted in the basement.
Emma had a goulash, while Harriet went for the giant meatball, which in itself made the trek East worth my while. It was basically a giant fried meatball in a bun – simples.
I’m inclined to suggest that the BBH would be a more enjoyable culinary experience for those of a more carnivorous orientation than myself – my vegetarian schnitzel was a bit mushy, and a bit too covered in cheese, but everyone else seemed into their grub and although not a spot for the high flying foodie, it is really the type of place where it’s difficult not to have a good time, especially if you are sandwiched between two tables of grown men engaged in a drunken sing-off.
If schnitzel doesn’t appeal, the Old Street branch offers made to order hog roasts at 12.90 a head. Available Mondays through Thursdays, “diners can tuck into a whole suckling pig.” Book two weeks in advance.
Need to know:
Bavarian Beer House (Tower Hill)
The Arches, 9 Crutched Friars
0844 330 20 05
Nearest Tube: Tower Hill
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 12pm to 11pm, Friday/Saturday 12pm to 1 am, Sunday 12-10.