Sunday, July 6, 2014

German Beer Cafe Brisbane

Alright. Dinner at the bavarian beer cafe in Brisbane. Not much is open on a Sunday night there in the CBD.  (But the weather is nice for a winter day, … )

Overall I can’t give the place the thumbs up, but it isn't terrible. And if u just wanna drink German beer and have a good time, you may as well enjoy and skip the rest of this review. (Assuming that’s most customers motivation)

If you after decent german food you may wanna keep reading! 

“German beer cafe”… I wonder who came up with that name, but I doubt it was a bavarian. Cafes in Germany do serve beer, but mainly are hangouts for folks, with same minor or major weight problems, that also have 2/3 of their life behind them, stuffing themselves with torte and cakes. Cafes are not pub style restaurants and putting “beer” or “bavarian” in front of the name doesn't make it any better but rather more presumptuous.

So - except for marketing purposes - I really wonder if this chain has any real german (or bavarian) heritage at all. 

But nevertheless, that would not be any problem at all if their food is any good.  Looking at their menu I can see some bavarian items. Again only very commonly known ones, but there are also some modern Australian dishes on the menu. (oysters, salt&pepper squid,.. what every child eats for Christmas in bavaria ;)  )

I went with goulash and Rösti for the main, listed as one of their specialities. What the menu didn’t say - and the waiter, being french, couldn't be bothered to mention that when I ordered - the Rösti are basically are a garnish, not a side. It’s like if you order a schnitzel with fries, you’d be pissed if you got a big schnitzel with 4 fries, … . So what I got was big bowl of goulash with 2 miniature Rösti, which are basically something like pan fried hash brownies in this case. In Germany a range of potato dishes can fit that description, depending on the area you are from. In any case this would not be a typical side for a goulash. 

However, to compensate, I ordered two sides, which came out promptly: Blaukraut/Red cabbage and creamy potato mash, which was recommended by the waiter. 

So what’s the ruling on the food: The mash was ok, not as smooth as it could be (particular for as per the menu “creamy” mash), but it was enjoyable. The red cabbage had a good flavour and was spiced quite right, but they managed to overcook it quite badly. It was more mashy than the potato mash and that’s a big mess up. A red cabbage cooked well can be such a beautiful thing. It’s also quite hard to screw up, as it takes a long time to cook. (I.e. it doesn’t overcook within a few minutes, … )

The main dish - the goulash - was again flavoured well, but wasn’t really a goulash. It was listed as one of their specialities - a veal goulash. Goulash is first of all a hungarian dish (commonly done in Germany though), but then it’s sort of slow cooked, melt in you mouth, dicy chunky pieces of meat in a dense tomato/gravy source (and I do apologies if I don’t do the real goulash justice with this description). It is also somewhat hot. (normally includes hot paprika flavours)
What I had here was tiny (for a goulash) pieces of veal, that were a bit dry, in an massive amount of source, with a bit to much cream for a goulash and not hot and any bite at all. 
They do have a goulash soup on the menu, but what I had there as the actual “goulash” was quite like what I expect a goulash soup would be.

Desert: Black forest cake, the only desert with a “home made” remark on the menu: That was actually enjoyable, but wasn't the most typical black forest cake I’d say. Also for reference the back forest is not in bavaria, but this dish would be at least suitable for cafe style place in Germany,… so half way there ;). 

So overall I’d say as “food” it was ok-ish, definitely not terrible. The red cabbage was sadly not eatable, the rest was a solid ok.

To be fair, they inquired how everything was and after I said “ok” they wanted to know details. I kindly explained what I thought the shortcomings were (me being German couldn't wave that off ;) ) and after that waitress spoke with the cook, they deducted the red cabbage. 

I still can’t really excuse them much, cause red cabbage you cook in big bunches: Did any cook tried it at all? That was so obviously mash and not right. Who decided to serve that anyway, …. ?

Bottom line: I may come back once to see if their red cabbage is any better at other days and I may try their custom butchered german sausages and see if those are any decent. I might update this review then.

I remember trying a German beer cafe in Sydney a few years back. Me or my partner had sausages there, I think. As little as I can recall I (and that basically tells the story) it wasn’t much to remember - not terrible, but not impressive either. 

So basically the place is worth it for the German beer, everything else is not that German, but you may enjoy it, but be cautious!

(PS: I am German, grown up in Germany and lived there till my mid twenties. I migrated to Australia 10 years ago. So I do know German food, but also understand the Australia food landscape reasonably well, having lived 5 years in Syndey, 5 in Melbourne, spend lot of time in Perth and recently moved to Brisbane ) 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Prinzregententorte, ... the one and only


This used to be my favourite cake as a child. Because it is quite a bit of effort to make it's not really a cake that one makes every other week. On top of that it has a decent amount of butter and it may be a vigilant supporter of your coming heart attack.
But nevertheless it tastes awesome! You only live ones and if you haven't enjoyed a Prinzregententorte yet, you may not have lived at all , ...  yet ;) 

Since moving to Australia I have only baked the bastard a few times. The last time - just a few days ago - I made a bunch of three. That was mainly for the "biggest morning tea" initiative. 

Here is the recipe in english. (There are a few variations in Germany, the following is the most common one, I think)

Some about the cakes history on wikipedia:


Main things to prepare are the butter cream and the bases. The order doesn't matter. As I use instant pudding I normally start with the bases (read further on and it will make sense, .. I hope ;) )


  • 250g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • some vanilla flavour or the real deal ;)
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g wheat flour
  • 50g corn flour
  • backing power 
  1. Put butter and sugar in bowl. (I melt the butter a bit in the microwave) Beat the hell out of it, while adding egg by egg  - they reckon beat 30-60 sec between adding each egg. (they as in the my german recipe sources )
  2. Mix corn&wheat flour, backing powder, salt, (if u got vanilla in powder form add this here, if its fluid add in while beating eggs into butter)
  3. Mix this well before adding to egg/butter mixture. Then mix the whole thing. This will not be a very solid dough. Similar to spread consistency.

Bake the bases

Now it's time to bake the bases. If you wanna be mathematically correct then you weight the dough and divide it. I just eyeball it. You should get around 7-8 bases and around 24 cm in diameter.

I draw a circle on a piece of paper, then put baking paper on top. ( I pre-cut the baking paper in 30cm x 30cm - 30cm is a common width you can buy in the shop )

The backing paper is quite translucent, so one can see the drawn circle underneath well and that makes it easier to spread the dough to the correct size every time.

Use a normal bread&butter knife to spread roughly a soup ladle amount of dough for each layer.

bake each layer at 200 deg C for around 8-10. if they get colour, take em out. Often they get a bit crispy around the frame and that is ok, as you cut that later when you shape the cake.

Overall the bases should be soft, bit similar to a sponge but not as lofty. 

Let all bases/layers cool down, before assembly


Now to the filling:
  • Schoklade Pudding
  • 100g Sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 500 ml Milk
Make a pudding with the 500ml milk (here in Australia I use instant pudding, which you can find in Wollies or Coles) If you use a traditional pudding you need to heat the milk and then therefore you need cool it down and stir it while cooling so no skin builds on top!

The instant pudding is made cold, so easy ;).

To make the butter cream, I again melt the butter in the microwave and then let it cool a bit.
Before it goes solid I add the pudding ladle by ladle while heavily beating the butter. 
I add the sugar to the pudding when I make it, but you can also add that to the melted butter before you add the pudding ( just beat it a bit before starting to add the pudding).

Put the buttercream in the fridge, particular if you used warm pudding. (ok, let cool to room temperature first before putting in the fridge, else it may cause some bacteria growth,.. . )

You can also make the buttercream fist before you start on the bases.


ok. now the fun part starts : assembly.

Again you can be mathematically correct and divide the weight of the butter cream by 7 for 8 bases (or the number of bases you baked, minus one). I again eyeball it. 

Some recipes ask for a jam layer, .. you can do that, I normally don’t. But if so, then use a white jam ( not  sure "white" makes sense -> I mean apple, apricot, … not a red/berry kind of jam ) This can also be a good way out, if you misjudge and run out of butter cream on your last layer, … 

So basically start with a base and add some butter cream. Spread evenly then add another base, and so on, … 

Once completed you need to cut the edge nice and round (which I didn’t do that well in these photos, that’s why it looks a bit bogan-ish )

The cut offs make a nice snacks for now.


Recommended is dark chocalte, ( I used milk chocolate, but I think dark is actually better):
  • 200g chocolate 
  • 1 tbs of oil
Brake chocolate in smaller pieces. Fill a pot with water, heat on the stove. Add a bowl that is a bit to big for the pot. Add the oil and chocolate to that bowl, while cold. 
Constantly stir the chocolate while heating up and eventually melts.

Once all is melted spread on the cake. 
Use a knife to cover the sides. 

If you are ambitious you can melt the choloate in two (100g each) batches. Let it dry after the first coat. This will give a thicker more consistent coat.

Add further topping material as you like, ... nuts, berries, m&m's , cherries , ... 

Once done, let everything cool down to room temperature then put in the fridge overnight. 

Enjoy from the morning  onwards !