Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bratwurst, Berwick St.

Apologies for the lack of posts in recent months. Unfortunately the blog has dropped a little on my list of priorities but I haven't forgotten about it!

And what better way to revive Sausage and Bread than with a brand new review? When you see the exterior of this newly opened establishment in Soho, you can see why I felt the need to start posting again...

Yep, The Bratwurst does indeed appear to be an honest attempt to bring the classic German streetfood to the UK. This branch (the second in the UK chain, the other is in Broadgate Circle) only opened recently - early July, I believe - so is very much a new face on the Soho scene.

Will it finally crack the secret of being a sausage and bread food retailer in the UK or will it follow in the footsteps of Olly Olson and The Gourmet Hotdog Company, and fail?

The menu starts promisingly with a list of half a dozen authentic German sausages (made by award winning butchers, the signage tells us). Besides the classic pork Bratwurst you can also choose beef, turkey, cheesey, oniony and boiled variations.

I opted for a 'double meal deal' consisting of a Bratwurst, a Mettwurst (smoked pork and beef sausage served boiled), brötchen and sauerkraut.

Let's deal with the sides first: The sauerkraut was very pungent and sour which guess is how it's supposed to be. The vinegar sharpness made it perfect for cutting through the heavier meat. The brötchen was fresh and tasty; Crispy on the outside, cracking open to reveal a fluffy and non-industrial interior. Nice to see that they have paid attention to the bread here.

The sausages were both very good indeed. The Bratwurst (cut into pieces by a special sausage cutting machine) was nicely browned yet still drippingly moist on the inside. Lightly seasoned with a very thin casing that made for very good eating.

The Mettwurst was a surprise. Even though it is served boiled the sausage is actually very dense and dark. It reminded me a lot of an Italian salsicce. Slightly saltier than the Brat, it was still very moist and bursting with juices with every bite.

What completes the meal is of the course the essential German yellow mustard - wonderfully mild and moreish and the perfect accompaniment to the sausages.

All in all, The Bratwurst is a success and definitely worth a visit. The question is will the people of London frequent it enough? It sells fast food that is far and away better than what you get in more famous fast food chains. But the store resembles a coffee shop, or boutique eatery. So is it trying to to lure customers away from EAT and Pret when it should perhaps be targetting the KFC/Nandos/McDonalds crowd?

The other meal options on offer at The Bratwurst seem a little confused and odd (Bratwurst salad, anyone? Sausage and nachos?) They clearly want to cover some extra bases to appeal to customers aren't grabbed by the conventional style of serving. But in my opinion they should just stay true to the classic streefood style (and perhaps start offering chips and mayo).

5 out of 5
Let's hope it survives!

Website: The Bratwurst