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.
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 $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.
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
Figs & Brie dined as a guest of Essen.