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.