Munchen Bier Hall
For those fond of a cheeky schnitzel, sausage or strudel (or a thing for leiderhosen).
The newly-opened spot on the waterfront, themed quirkily in the style of Bavarian bier hall meets contemporary eatery, with its hearty portions and expansive specialty beer list will leave you well and truly full after your visit.
The menu is straightforward, centred on German classics. Flavours you'd expect are all there- the sauerkraut, the sausage, the pickles, the strongly flavoured breads - but have often been interpreted for a more New Zealand-centric audience. Opening with the promising line "why not start with a schnaps?" (promising), the menu spans traditional Bretzel ($8-$10) to more complex dishes of salmon graved lachs (gravlax), served the day we were there with a refreshing mint salad and a dark pumpernickel crumb ($16). The bretzle was warmed and chewy, accompanied by a simple salted butter- a good contrast to the salmon, which was light and delicately cured.
In the mains department, the focus is decidedly placed on sausage and schnitzel, as well as some five or so further Munchen Specials. Whichever main you opt for, neither portion size nor accompaniments is going to be an issue. Each plate comes with an array of pickles, spaetzle (a curious fried German macaroni pasta) or sauerkraut variations. The cordon bleu schnitzel ($26) lives up to this, a huge portion of cheese-and-ham-wrapped chicken, delicately crumbed and served with the infamous spaetzle. On the recommendation of our attentive waitress, I ordered one of their signature pork knuckles ($37) from the Munchen Specials segment of the menu. What a decision. The rotisserie-cooked beast comes swimming in gravy and coated in a crackling that my dining companion still sends me texts about. The apple sauerkraut side offered a fresh respite from all that pig. I didn't even know pigs had knuckles.
Finishing off our drinks - a Hofbrau original ale for my friend ($10 glass, $25 stein) and a Beach House Chardonnay ($10.5 glass, $48 bottle) for myself - we pressed on to dessert. Admittedly, that pork knuckle had taken some stamina to finish (meat sweats, anyone?) so we opted to share an apfelstrudel (apple strudel, the helpful menu glossary explained). The portion ($12) was absolutely classic - cooked apple encased in cinnamon-tinted pastry and accompanied by vanilla créme and cinnamon custard.
Whether you're looking for a munch or something heartier, Munchen's worth a visit. Follow the scent of beer and meat and find it next to the TSB Arena entrance on the waterfront.