I have been excitedly anticipating the opening of Bierkeller on Friar Lane for weeks, so when a friend suggested a catch up dinner yesterday I was looking forward to heading down to check out the new venue. The multi-million pound entertainment complex looked amazing when the photos were released to the public a few weeks ago (check out my post here) and I was excited to see it with my own eyes.
There is no denying that the venue looks fantastic, there has been a lot of money spent on it and it really does live up to the photos, all wooden, clean and angular.
We headed to the cellar bar, Bierkeller, first to sample their wursts. I really wanted the Oktoberfest, Bratwurst, german mustard and ketchup. However, we sat down and there was a game show happening. The problem was, the sound was so loud that we couldn’t actually hear what the guy on stage was trying to say. It was like white noise, no distinctive sounds coming though. My friend and I had zero chance of hearing each speak, even though we were about a foot away from each other.
We decided to leave and check out the Around the World Bar upstairs on the ground floor instead. Gutted!
Upstairs the music was a much more pleasant level and we could hear each other, a good start really.
The bar is HUGE and we ordered drinks, a lovely pint of Timmermans strawberry beer for me (£3 at happy hour) and a can of fruity cider for my friend (£2 at happy hour). With those prices I will be back to drink more!
The menu is really varied and I went for the BBQ Pork ribs, fired in the pizza oven. It apparently also came with bacon mayo, Korean and smokehouse BBQ sauce on the side. Although I asked for these, they never appeared. The ribs were tiny, certainly not worth the £10 I paid. The sweet potato fries were lovely and hot and crisp though.
My friend ordered the cheese and bacon burger with BBQ sauce and onion rings. He also went for sweet potato fries. To be honest, the burger was really disappointing, bland with no flavour. The cheese slice was boring too. Again the sweet potato fries were great, and the onion rings were lovely too.
We also ordered the buttermilk chicken starter to share, however I think they gave us the one from the kids menu by accident. It came with chips and a little salad. This was the best thing we had. The chicken was really moist and the batter was lovely. However, the chips were lukewarm at best and became cold in no more than a minute. The Louisiana hot sauce had a lovely kick and the lemon mayo was delicious. However, again I had to ask for these to be brought out to us.
The most irksome thing though, was waiting for the waitress to do a check back to see if everything was OK. I kept trying to catch the eye of someone, however even though it wasn’t busy, there wasn’t a waitress in sight. We waited over 15 minutes for someone to clear our plates, and in the end I just went to speak to the manager. The service wasn’t great. I understand that they are all new and will have teething problems in the first couple of weeks, however a check back is the number one rule of waitressing. Even a simple ‘sorry’ when I had to ask for the advertised dips would have sufficed, however none was forthcoming.
If I am honest, I probably won’t be back for food. The bar is great and the atmosphere is lovely, but for £30 for 2 people I could think of a lot of places I would rather eat at. The bar staff were lovely, and the manager extremely apologetic when I made her aware of the service issues, but for a place that has been open only a couple of weeks you would expect the standard to be high to keep people coming back.
I will visit Bierkeller again as I really want to try the food. However it will need to be on a night where I can actually hear what is going on!