It’s a Friday lunchtime and it’s threatening to chuck it down. Somehow, the interior and overall atmosphere of The Bierkeller works if you want to spend your lunch hiding from the rain and enjoying a quality, hearty, filling meal.
I get assigned with two table servers, one shadowing the other, but both with their fancy tablets ready to take down your order in a more effective and less scrawly way. Already, this is feeling like a proper premium lunch rather than a quick coffee and meal deal.
The menu has plenty of variety on it, with starters and sharers, mains, pizzas and puddings. But I opt for the currywurst hotdog and fries (£7.95) with a side order of oven-fired cheesy garlic bread (£3.50). I order the vegan version of the hotdog, so it comes with everything outlined on the menu apart from the coleslaw. The vegan option isn’t highlighted on the menu, but if you’re vegan just ask. To accompany this, I have a cold orange and passionfruit J2O.
In less than 5 minutes after ordering the dish, my food arrives and the table is suddenly adorned with a variety of flavours and different things to try…all from a couple of dishes. Note that the currywurst hotdog usually comes with the curry sauce poured all over it, but I asked for it to be separate just in case I didn’t like it. So this comes in a separate pot alongside: American mustard, tomato ketchup, and crispy onions. The garlic bread comes with a pot of balsamic vinegar.
At this point, as I’m sat to the left of the place near the windows (and opposite the fabulous disco ball), I notice that outside the heavens have opened, but not to worry because I’m safe and dry with all this food to devour. Ha.
I start by trying the various sauces by dipping my chips in them. The curry sauce is nice and not too hot or spicy, it has a nice tang to it that hits you but doesn’t overpower everything else or leave a lingering taste. It’s in the moment, and great for dipping. The American mustard is mild, and much like the curry sauce, just right in its flavour and the immediate taste. The ketchup is classic ketchup, it’s exactly what you want and I pause my tasting sesh to spread a load of it on the bratwurst.
I then take my first bite of the sausage, which sits quite comfortably in their classic brioche roll. You wouldn’t know that it’s the vegan version, and you can take my word for it because I’m not actually vegan. Anyone with a hankering for hot dogs would be quite happy to put themselves outside of it.
At this point, my lovely servers come back to ask me if everything is fine, and of course I agree, but I have to ask what the pot of crispy looking stuff is (because I haven’t been paying attention to the menu enough, obvs) and she tells me it’s caramelised onion. However, this is crunchy and crispy onion and my first taste is a tentative one…but I’m soon converted, and thus makes the leap from pot to hotdog in a matter of seconds.
It’s worth mentioning that I’m the fussiest eater in Notts. I’m the one who orders the same thing everywhere, and goes without if they ain’t got what she wants. So this meal was out of my comfort zone, but so far so good. I’d tried at least three things I thought I wouldn’t like.
It’s now time for the cheesy garlic bread. You’re given four, long triangle slices (sort of like garlic bread crossed with pizza slices but still thick, bready and crunchy) and a pot of balsamic vinegar to dip them in. Now, I must admit, I didn’t try the vinegar, because these garlic bread slices are gorgeous on their own. But most places just give you the bread, so extra points to Beirkeller for providing that extra option anyway.
The garlic bread, as you’ve probs worked out from the word ‘cheesy’ is covered in cheese. If you’re a fan of super garlic-y bread that would make your dentist faint, then this may not be your favourite. However, if you’re mad about cheese with a hint of garlic goodness, then you can’t really go far wrong.
So, having sampled (almost) everything these two dishes have to offer, I got well and truly stuck in, amazing myself with every bite that I could eat something with so many new flavours and actually enjoy it.
This was also my first visit to Bierkeller, and although sports bars aren’t my usual scene (ever) this one does a good job of creating the perfect lunchtime atmosphere. It gets that pub feel just right, with a wide open space, plenty of visually appealing TV screens, and the right amount of other people. It’s not overcrowded, and you get excellent service that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a pub-like space. It’s laid back, but you feel treated and that’s a rare combination for a place like this. It surprised me, anyway.
The star of the show is the crispy onion. I have quite a small stomach and am by no means a big eater, so after 2 garlic bread pieces and three-quarters of the bratwurst I was full. However, despite this, I grabbed the pot of crispy onion and ate what was left of it straight out the pot. I savoured every moment, and wondered where it had been my whole life. I could quite honestly eat it all day. It’s not too onion-y either, if you’re a fan of onion flavoured crisps, or onion rings, then you’ll love it.
Condiment-wise, the usual suspects are on offer as standard table attire (bottled ketchup, vinegar, English mustard, brown sauce and mayo) so you’ve got plenty to adorn your vegan sausage with, on top of the goodies that come with it.
Oh, and one of my servers was a former college friend, so we had a good catch-up, and it’s very likely that I’ll be taking my family there in the not too distant future.
15/17 Friar Lane, Nottingham, NG1 6DA 0845 302 2665