Tiroler Hut, 27 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, W2 4UA
Visited Friday 4 November 2011
Hilarious. Complete contrast to Australia, which let us down by being tastefully international. There can be no doubting which country Tiroler Hut is representing.
The Tiroler Hut delivered Austria as soon as you stepped through the single, red and white canopied doorway on Westbourne Grove and just kept on delivering all night long. You descend down a narrow stairway and emerge in what appears to be an Austrian alpine hut, complete with a bar selling huge steins of Austrian beer, waiters in lederhosen, wooden beams overhead and mock-up windows which look onto alpine snowscapes full of happy skiers.
The menu is unflinchingly Austrian with sausages and sauerkraut featuring largely. I started off with Ungarische Krautroulade, cabbage rolls stuffed with meat of some variety and followed this with Schweinsbraten mit Semmelknödel und Sauerkraut dazu viel Bratensaft, translation: roast pork with bread dumplings and sauerkraut (that’s pickled cabbage for those who don’t know). Joe was brave and went for pickled herring to start, he claimed it was delicious but I wasn’t tempted to test this statement, followed by Kassler with potatoes and more sauerkraut. Kassler holds a special place in my heart as a food of my childhood. It is a smoked pork joint, a bit like gammon but oh so much better, in fact to compare it to gammon is like comparing a frankfurter with a Cumberland sausage. I lived in Germany as a child and fell in love with it then. It is impossible to come by in the UK although M&S do a smoked pork loin which is as close as you can get this side of the Channel. It was as always mouth-wateringly divine and I regretted deciding to try something new and letting Joe have it in my place.
Steve’s main course was undoubtedly the highlight of the culinary experience – Bauernschmaus, described as a Tyrolean peasant favourite, was a collection of other dishes including my roast pork, kassler, dumplings, sauerkraut and topping it off in true trophy style triumph – a sausage carefully crafted into the shape of a flower and splayed in all it’s glory on a cocktail stick above the plate. Never have I seen so fallic a display atop a dish intended for someone’s consumption.
Dessert was an absolute treat with Apfelstrudel, Kaiserschmarrn – an Austrian pancake with raisins and cream, and the Tiroler Hut special sundae which combined ice cream, chocolate and cherries with lashings of Kirsch and whipped cream.
As if the red and white table clothes, pints of beer and touristy memorabilia around the walls weren’t Austrian enough, the entire evening was raucous and filled with live music. We had yodelling from an elderly gent early on in the evening and from that point on the night became increasingly surreal. Along with the entire soundtrack of the Sound of Music, came a series of well-known pop songs in German, a stuffed toy goat which sang and yodelled, a sing-along version of Eidelweiss and a grand finale played with cow bells. Audience interaction was rife and the noise level several decibels above what was comfortable. The whole thing was cheesy and ridiculously gimmick-packed but it was one of the most enjoyable nights I’ve had in a long while and I came away feeling like I’d disappeared from the streets of London for a few hours on a visit to an Austrian mountain-side.
The food was good and the entertainment hilarious. It is incredibly busy though so if you’re planning on going make sure you book ahead.