Where? - Southbank Promenade, Southbank
Website? - http://hophaus.com.au/
It was too good of a weekend in Melbourne to waste cooped up in the house, so on Saturday morning Reviewer Nikki and myself headed in to the city for some general wandering around in the sun. We were in the vicinity of Southbank when my stomach started to rumble, so we ventured to a spot in Melbourne I've been to quite a few times for beers - but rarely for a feed - Hophaus.
If you haven't been before Hophaus is a pub on the second floor of Southbank Promenade that specialises in Bavarian beer and food, and with over 30 taps you're sure to find something to wet your whistle.
Hophaus opens at 11:30 on Saturday, and we rocked up at about 11:25, meaning the doors had just opened and we had the pub to ourselves, allowing us to score primo seats out on the balcony on this glorious Melbourne day...
Which afforded us this glorious view over the Yarra (if you squint, and have really good eyesight, you can make out Arbory across the way, the subject of one of our other Other Daze outings)
With so many beers to choose from its hard to narrow it down to just one (its before noon, can't hit it too hard yet), a flick through the menu and we settled on the Weihenstephan Hefeweizen - a smooth, full bodied and easy to drink with strong notes of citrus - Perfect for a warm spring day
I was very tempted to get the $16 stein of Bitburger Pils, which is what I'd normally get on my visits to Hophaus, but again, it was only 11:30 and didn't want to feel like a complete drunk while ducking out for a quiet brunch.
We checked the menu, and I spied my target -
While reviewer Nikki kept things a little on track for a website called "ParmaDaze", and opted for the schnitzel
We kicked back in the sun and awaited the arrival of our meals...
Hophaus is a spot you can easily lose yourself for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, as before I knew it I was halfway through my beer with a delicious looking bratwurst sitting in front of me...
This thing was so good I could've easily downed another. the sausage was flavourful, the sauerkraut was fresh and crisp and the smokiness of the cheese paired fantastically with the curry ketchup (which was a revelation on its own ... Why can't Rosella sell bottles of this?!)
Now I get to talk about one of my favourite things that they sell at Hophaus, the Fried Potato Salad, which comes as a side to most of the dishes on the menu.
If you haven't had it before, the best way I can describe it is "freshly cooked, hot salt and vinegar chips", and if you've had them before you'll agree with me. the potates are sliced wafer then, deep fried, seasoned, topped with vinegar and served piping hot. It's probably the unhealthiest "Salad" I've seen in my life, but damn its tasty.
Now, on to Nikki's schnitzel -
While it looks damn tasty, our naive parma-addled Australian brains assumed "Schnitzel" meant "chicken schnitzel". The menu doesn't actually specify what kind of meat is used in the jäegerschnitzel, and additional research shows there is even debate amongst the German cuisine folks as to whether it should use pork or veal.
It was enjoyable, and tasty - the mushrooms and other toppings were piled sky-high and delicious - However we were expecting chicken (our mistake, I know), and not knowing exactly what meat the jäegerschnitzel was (in the end we decided it was pork... I think), took away from our enjoyment of it a little.
EDIT 1/10/15 - WE'VE JUST BEEN INFORMED THAT, DUE TO THIS REVIEW, THE FOLKS AT HOPHAUS HAVE AMMENDED THEIR MENU TO SHOW THAT THE jäegerschnitzel IS, IN FACT, A PORK SCHNITZ, THUS DOING AWAY WITH ANY AMBIGUITY. GOOD STUFF LADS!
In the end we downed our meals with gusto, I debated ordering another brat but decided another beer would probably go down just as well - which it did, then continued our day with full bellies.
Hophaus feels like a modernised version of Hofbräuhaus, good food and beers without the pageantry you find there. The bratwurst was fantastic and the fried potato salad is to die for, if it weren't for the "mystery meat" component of the jäegerschnitzel I'm sure we would have enjoyed that immensely as well. I'll definitely be back at Hophaus as it is fast becoming my go-to spot for any occasion that I find myself at Southbank. Worth a look.