Restaurants with great beer in Sydney are unfortunately few and far between. You can always rely on the Germans though.
It’s hard to decide whether the food menu or beer menu is best. That’s probably a good thing, it means they’re both of a very high standard
Obviously, there are some cracking German beers on the menu, such as Franziskaner Hefe and Erdinger Dunkel both of which would go nicely with a veal schnitzel or a pork knuckle.
It’s a great place for people just starting out on their beer journey to experience a few different styles. Many would have tried traditional German pale lager styles but here you’ll find wheat beers, lambics, schwarzbiers and more.
It’s just a shame you can’t get tasting paddles with your meals – the majority of beers are bottled. With a decent group of friends though, a few bottles could be shared out to get a sample of each.
But it’s not just imported beer and thankfully Essen is also a supporter of Australian craft breweries.
Essen must be one of the only restaurants in Sydney where you can pick up the fantastic wild sour beers from Tasmania’s Two Metre Tall.
There’s a hell of a story to Two Metre Tall and their constantly evolving beers are something that any discerning Aussie craft beer fan needs to try.
I’d recommend their sour Derwent Spelt Ale with the sausage platter. It cuts perfectly through the fat of the sausages and tingles tantalisingly with the pickled vegetables.
Their Cleansing Ale (somewhat of a signature beer now) is incredibly versatile, slightly tart and the perfect palate cleanser. It’s a great pick if you’re looking to segue from pork knuckle to apple strudel.
The restaurant is kitted out in traditional German style. Exposed brick walls give it the feel of a cool European cellar, while the communal tables give the place a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Around the restaurant, near the bathrooms and in stairwells there are signs of the German beer culture.
Big signs and advertisements for beers like Spaten adorn the walls. You have to love the Germans and their commitment to beer.
You’ll see people drinking steins of beer, some tables ordering whole rounds of them. Others will be having pre-dinner or post-dinner schnapps. If you’re all in for the German experience, I’d recommend this too.
As well as traditional European schnapps, the menu also showcases some Aussie craft spirits so there’s even more reason to love Essen.
The food features typical favourites such as schnitzel, spätzle, pork knuckle and sausage platters. It helps if you’re a fan of meat but there are some vegetarian options too.
The schnitzels are crispy and golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside while the spätzle leaves you satisfyingly full but still craving more of the delicious pasta.
It’s fantastic that there’s a place so close to central Sydney that has such great beer and food combinations.The only drawback of Essen is remembering you’re on Broadway, not in Bavaria.
Whether you’re a craft beer newbie or a seasoned expert, Essen offers a comfortable and atmospheric place to pair good food with classic German and modern Australian beer.
Hours: Mon-Sun: 5pm-9pm, Wed-Fri: 12pm-2:30pm and 5pm-9pm
Have you been to Essen? Leave a comment and let me know what you ate and drank.