Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant, Perth

I had swung by my friends house for a catch-up when his housemates told me they’d booked a table at Brotzeit. I was invited along, but told they weren’t sure if there would be additional space for me due to the restaurant’s popularity. I had already read some local foodie reviews and seen photos of the food, and having been brought up on my Mums Polish home cooking I couldn’t be more excited.

Located in the trendy new 140 William Street Perth, the first thing you notice when you walk towards the restaurant is its striking atmosphere. Brotzeit fits into its surroundings in it’s very own unique way. Striking an interesting balance between modern inner city outdoor dining with its large open dining area and the coloured glass hanging from the 140 ceiling, and traditional rustic German ambience established with the use of wood in the architecture and furniture, along with the gorgeous smell of rich German food wafting past.

Whilst I expected the restaurant to be fully booked on a Saturday night I arrived to find this was not the case. This actually made me quite happy, as I often find service quality and food to be just that little better when staff aren’t completely run off their feet. We were reseated to a larger table to accommodate the addition of guests, but this is where my initial fanaticism made room for an evening of swinging highs and lows.

I’m not sure whether this is due to the restaurant being new, or simply down to the staff, but I personally felt a lack of attentiveness in the customer service. After being seated and struggling to pass around 3 menus -between several guests- until we requested more, we found we had to struggle to flag down a waitress when we wanted to order or ask any questions from then on. It was clear their menu knowledge was lacking when one of the boys at the table ordered the Bier Tasting Paddle. We asked 3 separate waitresses to name and explain the beers, and all scrambled to find their notes and/or struggled to find an answer. There also appeared to be a few struggles behind the scene, as we were made aware half our drink order was not processed. At the end of the evening, I was left confused when after a long time a waitress asked if the table had finished, removed two plates and never came back for the rest. We then had to approach another waitress at the end of the night for the bill.

The food itself was manly man’s dream. Generous portions of hearty food and wafting smells that would make anyone drool. Traditional combinations of meats, carbs and fats held up the menu, which was more than enough to satisfy a majority of the crowd. When the food arrived, the boys eyes lite up, jaws dropped and food started being shovelled in. You just knew the menu had been created by a real German executive chef.

Our table ordered a range of dishes including appetizers, salads, sausages, mains courses, side dishes and desserts.

The Brotzeitplatte mit Ripperl / Brotzeit® Platter with Ribs was a show stopping event as it was placed on the table, and even the look of the Kalbsrahmgulasch / Veal Goulash with Spätzle -which if you’ve cooked before you’ll know is hard to make pretty- made the boys want to dive straight in. In addition to this, some of the other dishes sprawled across the table included a Würstelplatte / Sausage Platter, Gartensalat / Garden Salad, Rotkraut / Orange-Cranberry Red Cabbage, Sauerkraut / Braised white German cabbage, and even an Apfelstrudel / Apple Strudel, just for good measure. The only thing that could have added to this German spectacular was a traditional stein of beer, and it’s a real shame the Executive Chef’s, Eyke Czirr, application to sell the traditional one-litre stein was knocked back.

But for all pleasure at the table, we quickly learnt a few of our guests were about to have quite the opposite experience. With a couple guests having dietary requirements, we were shocked when we were told we would not be able to make any changes to any of the menu items, including not being able to add chicken or meat -which was already on the menu in other items- to any of the salads, or change any of the main sides. I personally find the old saying ‘what you see is what you get’ to be completely unacceptable in most modern dining scenarios – with the exception of set menus and degustation’s. This ridged inflexibility left one of our guests having to settle with an appetizer, the Schupfnudeln / Warm Spinach Salad with Bavarian Potato Dumpling. Upon tucking into his extremely small and dissatisfying meal, whilst watching the rest of the table dive into theirs, this less than appealing situation lead our guest needing to excuse himself so he could leave the restaurant and go on the hunt for something more suitable elsewhere.

I sat on this review for an entire week before publishing it, hoping the time would clarify my opinion of this restaurant and help me decipher between all the highs and lows. In the end the conclusion I’ve come to is that the location and cuisine type means Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant definitely has a place within the Perth market, however their service and inflexible dining leaves a lot to be desired. With more and more Perth diners becoming self-confessed foodies, and more and more restaurants for those foodies to pick from I’ll be interested to see the future of Brotzeit, because as it stands, I can see the novelty and appeal, but I personally don’t see myself going back anytime soon.

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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The Naked Fig, Swanbourne

Every time I talk food with my friends there seems to be this major divide between those with somewhat more alternative diets such as vegetarians, vegans, gluten free fans and paleo lovers versus those with more traditional tastes such as carnivores and meat-carb only devouties. But no matter your eating style the one thing we all share in common is that we all deserve and enjoy being spoiled when we go out. So why can’t we all just get along? And why can’t restaurants appeal to all of us equally? Well I’ve found a place everyone can get equally spoiled no matter what their foodie preference.

This year I’ve been to the Naked Fig on three separate occasions – a degustation, a cooking class and a blogger dinner – and I can honestly say I’ve felt beyond spoiled on every occasion… and so have the people I’ve brought along to these events.

potato gnocchi, roast beets, swiss chard, candied walnuts

potato gnocchi, roast beets, swiss chard, candied walnuts

Located on the stunning Swanbourne beach, The Naked Fig makes the most of it’s surroundings. A large outdoor dining area and open indoor dining area looking out of the wall of glass windows/doors means you are always in for a spectacular view no matter where you choose to sit. Gorgeous sparkling sunlit water and glowing beaches give way to romantic sunsets and a lovely interior design that truly comes alive in the evening. And the staff continue to bring out the best of The Naked Figs wonderful atmosphere with their consistently polite, friendly and attentive service.

baked leek nicoise, black olives, rosemary, poached egg, confit tomatoes

baked leek nicoise, black olives, rosemary, poached egg, confit tomatoes

The Naked Figs menu is seasonal, and provides plenty of vegetarian items and vegan options. You won’t need to beg, plead, miss out or be judged here, because the dishes you’ll be choosing from are guaranteed to make even the most devout carnivore question their meaty loyalty. But don’t worry meat eaters, I guarantee you have not been overlooked. From tender lamb to melt in the mouth beef, pork and juicy poultry and seafood, there is going to be something on the menu that makes your heart skip a beat or two, and makes any of your veggie guests question their moral compass. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or a carnivore, a health freak or the indulgent type, there is going to be something spectacular for you… so much so you’re likely to find yourself wondering whether the dish was somehow created just for you and your taste-buds.

lamb cutlets, cumin pumpkin, roast chickpeas

lamb cutlets, cumin pumpkin, roast chickpeas

And for all those veggie, vegan and gluten free lovers out there surrounded by die-hard steak fans, or all of you carnivores who have found themselves partnered with a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free eater, I’ve found a great way to satisfy and impress both parties. On Tuesdays the Naked Fig does “Vego Tuesday”, where half the menu is devoted to vegetarians, vegans and gluten free-ers, whilst the other half is dedicated to carnivores, so much so it actually says ‘herbivores’ and ‘carnivores’ on the menu.

cheese board

cheese board

The dessert portion of the menu never fails to deliver either with a selection of sweet treats and savoury cheeses to satisfy anyone, and give you the perfect excuse to stay a while longer. And don’t worry beverage buffs, you’re covered too, with the drinks menu offering everything from perfectly matching wines to beers, cocktails and creamy (grass fed) butter coffee which really packs a rich punch. On a side note, after giving the butter coffee a try, I can really see it becoming a bit of a next big thing around town, so keep an eye out for it.

creamy (grass fed) butter coffee

creamy (grass fed) butter coffee

Simply put, as far as restaurants go in Perth the Naked Fig is definitely in my select top handful. Whether you’re trying to treat your partner, spoil your mum, or give your bride a wedding to remember, I recommend giving the Naked Fig a try. Just be aware the chances are you’ll end up being devotedly hooked like me and smiling widely every time the place is mentioned… but there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Naked Fig Cafe on Urbanspoon