Bavarian brews and bangers in suburbia

Paulaner Beer Garden opens a second gastropub in Hod Hasharon.

A dish at Paulaner Beer Garden in Hod Hasharon (photo credit: ANATOLY MICHAELO)
A dish at Paulaner Beer Garden in Hod Hasharon
(photo credit: ANATOLY MICHAELO)
After three successful years in Sarona, a branch of Beer Garden owned by the Paulaner Brewery of Munich opened in Hod Hasharon’s Sharonim Mall seven months ago. The décor certainly recalls what I remember observing of similar establishments in the Bavarian capital: long tables with wooden benches, only a few of them with backs.
In a cozier – and quieter – room housing the bar, there are a few high tables, mostly surrounded by plain stools, although there are some comfortable ones upholstered in suede, as well as several leather banquettes.
The Paulaner Brewery, which was founded by an order of friars nearly 200 years ago, is known for six beers, ranging in color from pale blonde to deep amber, and in alcoholic content from 4.9% to 7.9%. Fortunately, the Beer Garden makes it easy to taste all of them, with a sampler of six draft flights (NIS 56), attractively and cleverly presented, and explained in commendable detail in the English menu.
The food menu at Beer Garden is divided into three categories: Good Beginnings (appetizers that comprise sausages, cheeses, pâtés and salads); Things Best Eaten Between Bread (featuring six sandwiches); and Grilled, Sautéed, Stewed (the restaurant’s main courses). There are one or two dishes in each section suitable for vegetarians.
Our attentive waiter offered to have the chef send out his recommended dishes, and we readily agreed. Not surprisingly, the first appetizer was a classic of Bavarian cuisine, which translated into a variety of sausages. Indeed, the dish was even named Bavarian Snack (NIS 44) – two pairs of small sausages served with bonfire potatoes, vegetable root cream and what Beer Garden calls “choucroute with a twist.” One set of sausages contained cheese, adding an extra dimension of flavor, as did pairing them with the deliciously unusual sauerkraut, which had been seasoned with arak and chili.
The sausages also went well with the house bread – soft pretzels (NIS 16/29), served piping hot, accompanied by smoked tomato cream and aioli horseradish. The pretzels lacked only coarse salt baked into the crust to be excellent examples of the genre.
Our second starter was the stone bass on cauliflower (NIS 46) – raw fish on a fresh cauliflower salad studded with dried cranberries and dressed with sheep’s milk yogurt. The morsels of white fish with finely diced vegetable, sweet nuggets of fruit and mild dressing added up to a terrific interplay of flavors.
Our first main course was a reprise of sausages, this time made of lamb (NIS 76). The long, savory sausages were enhanced nicely by a complex cinnamon-scented cranberry cream and accompanied by al dente broccoli, green beans and kale.
The pièce de résistance of the evening was the Half-a-Chicken on the grill with roasted vegetables (NIS 79). The compact chicken was first cooked sous vide to seal in the juices, then marinated in herbs and grilled to a beautiful golden brown. The moist and flavorful poultry came with crisp potatoes, charred onion, soft tomato, tasty beets and a whole roasted garlic.
Beer Garden also offers four sides (NIS 18), three of which are variations on familiar potato side dishes, and one called the onion basket, which is battered and deep-fried white onion served in the fryer basket. This delectable version of onion rings is one of the best I have enjoyed in Israel.
It is not easy to save room for dessert after a heavy meal washed down by premium beer, but our waiter insisted we try two of the five desserts (NIS 41): the Kaiserschmarrn and the cheesecake. The former is a house specialty of Austrian origin: shredded, airy pancakes smothered in mounds of fluffy whipped cream and a few amarena cherries. It looks like a lot, but it is surprisingly light and goes down easy, even after a full meal.
The worthy cheesecake, with berry sauce and blueberry sorbet, is at the other end of the spectrum: dense and rich, with a petit beurre-and-butter crust that is remarkably similar to graham crackers.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Paulaner Beer Garden Not kosher Sharonim Mall 2 Harakun St., Hod Hasharon Tel: (09) 889-9479