Let me introduce you to my "local".
I'm sure everyone has a place they frequent on a regular or semi regular basis.
The funny thing is, every time I come to Essen I order the same thing! Veal schnitzel with a Jaeger sauce and (usually) washed down with a cleansing Bavarian ale.
This time I'm here for Mushroom Mania so I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and explore a few of the other items on the menu.
Essen is located in the "student heavy" area on the fringe of the Sydney cbd. This is a mad, bustling, busy part of town.
The menu is best described as a hybrid of Germanic and Austrian delights with a little bit of the Netherlands thrown in for good measure.
It's unpretentious and definitely what I would call comfort food.
The serves are generous and they have a wonderful selection of specialty beers.
My dining companion and I waste no time with our orders. We're straight into it and before you can say "weiss beer", there's a serve of deep fried, crumbed mushrooms with saffron aioli and warm, fresh pretzels delivered to our table.
The mushrooms are cooked to perfection-there's no "biting and feeling the roof of your mouth burn" type of feeling. The crumbed exterior is pleasantly crisp and the brightly coloured saffron aioli brings it all together nicely.
Before you can say "giant sandwiches of the world" out comes a tower high, Rueben sandwich. It's a tad scary with a knife stabbing the gargantuan sandwich but I like the drama! (remember my Greek heritage!).
It's filled with all the good stuff-sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese and brisket. I don't really pay much attention to the side of wedges and lonely pickle. There's a lot to get through here!
My gorgeous dining companion has ordered the Veal Schnitzel with a creamy Jaeger sauce.
The Jaeger sauce is a mushroom sauce/gravy and is best described as liquid gold. If you come here and order the schnitzel you must order it with this sauce. There are no arguments about it.
And what about the side of potato roesti?
Now is not the time to be afraid of carbs!
I have been known, in times of depression, to order an extra serve of this glorious potato dish. Why? Because the crust is "just right" and the addictive, soft centre manages to hypnotise my taste buds every time!
We finish off our spread with a hazelnut and chocolate strudel. I was sort of expecting something "Nutella-esque" with this sweet send off but it just didn't happen. It was ok but nothing to rave about really.
If you're ever in the area and have schnitzel cravings pop on by to Essen. You might just see me there.
This restaurant was reviewed as part of Mushroom Mania month which is happening all across Australia during July 2012. Souvlaki For The Soul dined at Essen Restaurant with compliments of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association.