Bierschenke
46 Essex Street
Westminster WC2R 3JF
03/06/2012
Our plan for the Jubilee bank holiday was a long weekend in Berlin. It’s a great city, there’s so much to do, so much to see, such a lively night life…they say. I’m not into clubbing, not into rave parties, and I’m definitely not dying to see the Brandenburg Gate. Edo didn’t seem to be particularly keen either, so we called the trip off. I would have loved to call off the “German bit” of this mission too, but that wasn’t allowed. I also wanted to cheat and go to Stein’s in Richmond; food is very good, Weiss bier is superb and I like the location very much. I simply LOVE the place, but we’ve eaten there hundreds of times therefore it doesn’t qualify for the challenge. Now… I still gag when I think about Tiroler Hut to the point where I’m almost in need of hypnotherapy to control my Lederhosen fear. Therefore I really had to dig down a lot to find a reason to drag myself to the German restaurant. I kept chanting “I like Pretzels and Kartoffeln. I love Spätzle. I can appreciate a good Weiss Wurst. I will be fine”. And I was, in fact, fine. We chose Bierschenke, near Temple, simply because it looked reassuring and rather unharmful from the website. It’s a frugal, semi-empty basement, with two giant screens on the soccer match, wooden benches and tables, and a very basic bar counter. The waiter – couldn’t be more German – was very blonde, very nice, smiley and of course very efficient in her traditional costume. The menu couldn’t be more basic or boring, but they had what I wanted: Pretzels and Käsespätzle. Edo had Bratwurst, Frankfurter and Chicken sausages with mash and sauerkraut and half pint of…can’t remember…

Pretzels were, well, Pretzels! Spätzle looked like broken spaghetti in a pool of melted, bright-yellow cheese and cream. It is definitely not the way they are supposed to be and it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I ate them and didn’t die. Edo actually liked them very much. More than his Wurstplatte. Bland experience I’d say…nothing to really complain about, but wouldn’t try it again. Oh…one thing made me smile though: electric hand drier in the loo with a giant note saying “Please, switch off after using”. Efficiency and economization… very well in tune with the night and with the Country!!!

Before I score the place: total around £35.00

  • Food: 2
  • Ambience: 2
  • Service: 2.5
  • Value: 2
  • Overall: 2.12
Monica
This is was midrange, actually. By the Strand, in a little side street with other pubs and restaurants; looks good from the outside. Inside is actually a downstairs: a large room, simple and modern, with big screens showing football. Whilst it did not really look German but rather more like a sports bar, it was actually full of Germans, therefore felt pretty genuine.

Food was, on the whole, good. I mean, it’s basic, stereotypical German food: essentially bratwurst, sauerkraut, a bunch of other things. There were quite a few Austrian dishes which we deliberately avoided. I loved Monica’s spatzle, which were basically a bowl of melted cheese and carbs. My platter of sausages was alright but got quickly boring. We accompanied all this with a customary pretzel. Drank a weissbier which was of course lovely.

Service was alright: speedy and courteous.

The bill was peanuts. Actually very good value for money for that part of London, considering how infested with tourists it is.

  • Food: 2.5
  • Ambience: 2
  • Service: 2.5
  • Value: 3
  • Overall: 2.5
Edo
GERMANY