Two blocks from Broadway Shopping Centre in Ultimo. PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Translated as the German word for “to eat”, this Ultimo restaurant states its purpose as simply and authentically as the food that it presents on the menu. As you might have guessed from the nationality of its moniker, Essen concentrates on German and Austrian cuisine. Think hearty veal and chicken schnitzels served with all manner of sauces; robust pork knuckles marinated in a honey, thyme and rosemary brine, slow roasted for three hours and served with potato dumplings, gravy and sauerkraut and sausages presented on a “wurst teller
”. The cuisine moves with the seasons presenting heartier dishes like goulash (and beverages like gluhwein) when the months cool and lighter meals and drinks when they warm up.
Essen also presents diners with a list of daily specials, as well as a well-rounded wine list and a comprehensive beer and schnapps selection (it is a German place after all). Also reflecting the restaurant’s provenance is the decor. Essen resides within the sandstone walls of a historical Ultimo abode, which has a distinctly European feel. This is accentuated with wooden chairs, German and Austrian knick-knacks (like coo coo clocks) hanging on the walls and mismatched European crockery. On many nights you may also spy German and Austrian expats here (and brush up on your Deutsch
). The local cultural clubs especially favour the upstairs quarters. Available to groups of 20 guests or more (but with facilities to seat up to 70), these have the same charming, authentic European feel with the bonus of an alfresco courtyard and seclusion from the downstairs crowds. The service is cheery, attentive, knowledgeable and helpful with requests, so at the end of your meal you’ll feel happy, full and (chances are) not quite sober.