Sunday, June 10, 2012

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe, Ultimo

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe is a northern European restaurant which I first visited working with Secret Foodies, where it was the venue for our Dutch Spring dinner. We had a fantastic time that night being introduced to Dutch food by Netherlands-native chef and owner Geert, and I was kindly invited back to the restaurant to try their German speciality, the reuben sandwich.

Deep-fried Camembert, Essen
Deep-fried Camembert $10

Our lunch started with the deep-fried camembert, indulgent wedges of creamy cheese coated with a layer of breadcrumbs and deep-fried to a crisp. The golden exterior held gooey innards of melted cheese, which disappeared much too quickly into my mouth.  The cranberry compote was a sweet jam-like accompaniment that cut through the richness of the camembert, but I preferred the cheese au naturel.

Deep-fried Camembert, Essen

Condiments, Essen

A selection of condiments were brought our to accompany our mains, two types of horseradish for my reuben sandwich and a sweet mustard for my dining companion/gay husband Mikey's sausages.

Reuben Sandwich, Essen
Reuben Sandwich $22.50

The reuben sandwich is a monster. Available as a special only on Thursdays and Fridays during lunch, the price includes chips on the side and a glass of German tap beer, which I unfortunately had to forgo to due to an after-lunch presentation that day. Four slices of dark rye bread sandwiched mounds of roast beef brisket, sauerkraut, Gruyere cheese and mayonnaise, all skewered ruthlessly by a knife in a wooden board. Fragrant and flavoursome, with tender pink beef brisket and creamy, almost nutty, melted cheese the sandwich was a knockout. I only ate one of the two sandwiches, doggy-bagging the rest, and barely made it back to uni before my friends sniffed it out and consumed the reuben within mere minutes.

Reuben Sandwich, Essen

Sausage Platter, Essen
Sausage Platter $26.50

Mikey's sausage platter was an impressive spread. On the wooden board, there was (from top to bottom) Bavarian weisswurst, Swiss cervelat and Hungarian csabai, served with a selection of homemade pickles and two bread dumplings. The white weisswurst was our favourite, made from fresh veal and bacon and eaten with the sweet mustard. I also love the deep-fried bread dumplings and the unusual but very tasty pickled watermelon rinds.

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe
135 Broadway, Ultimo 2007
(02) 9211 3805

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe on Urbanspoon

Figs & Brie dined as a guest of Essen.


  1. I've meaning to try out this restaurant. It looks so cute and cosy so I'm glad you did a write up on it :)


  2. Love deep fried camembert with cranberry sauce, so 70s but, but so good!

  3. They do the Reuben here now? Mmmm ....

  4. Being German I have to say that the food is not really very German (apart from the Weißwurst, which is a Bavarian specialty [people in other parts of Germany don't eat it though] and is always [ALWAYS!] served in hot water) but it looks delicious!!

    I really like your blog (: