18 April 2008

Rembrandt Restaurant

The Beaufort Street Bloggers once spent a weekend Krakow, Poland. We loved the beer, we loved the architecture, we loved the main square, we loved the 4.50am kebab and if this was a travel blog we would share a few stories about a kidnapping, a potential divorce and stumbling upon The Best Nightclub in the World. However, this is a food blog, and we’re talking about Polish food which I must admit, we were not especially wowed by while in Poland. We expected sausages the size of lampposts, roasting pork hocks available on every corner, dumplings with every meal (including breakfast) and enough sauerkraut to turn us off cabbage for life. Instead, we got sensibly proportioned, reasonably healthy, fresh food wherever we went. Sure, we did get to try dumplings and goulash, but we were kind of hoping to drown in the stuff.

Our trip to Rembrandt was therefore one we were most excited about, particularly as The Sponge had circulated the following quote from an internet review of the restaurant only hours before kick off:

“Be warned, the meals are rather large, so turn up with an empty stomach to make sure you find your way to the white of the plate. “


The Beaufort Street Bloggers were joined by the much loved next door neighbours of the Brains and the Sponge, we’ll call them BG and The Shack. BG and The Shack share the BSB’s BYO philosophy – bring more than one bottle of wine per person and drink it all on the premises so you are still there when the staff are stacking the chairs on the tables and sweeping around our feet. Our visit to Rembrandt was no different.

We would be lying if we thought the ambience of the restaurant brought back memories of Poland. Rather, it brought back memories of Year 12 Art, because we are pretty sure the paintings were sourced from the local high school. One of the artists seemed to be going through a difficult ‘monster breathing flame’ phase in their artistic career which we hope was short lived. Having said that, the atmosphere was cheerful and friendly, and we were all packed into a small corner of a giant room which made going to the toilet an impossibility, but was great for ambience.

We ordered a shedload of pierogi (dumplings) and golabki (cabbage rolls) to share as a starter. Of course, The Deliberator had to be a little wild and crazy, and ordered some foul looking rice soup full of weird items like boiled eggs and white sausage. He claims it was delicious. The pierogi were a massive hit, but it was the golabki that took centre stage. The rolls were a combination of a pork mince mixture, wrapped in cabbage leaves, steamed and served with a creamy mushroom sauce. We could have eaten them all day.

A good selection of meat was ordered for mains – pork schnitzel, pork hock, pork sausages and goulash on pancakes. The Brains and BG chose the pork schnitzel, which was perfectly crumbed and fried, and served with a massive selection of goodies including a bean and beetroot salad, sauerkraut and potatoes. The pork sausages were of a more suitable (ie, whopping) proportion than those we had enjoyed in Poland, and BITO bravely made her way through most of them before having to give up the leftovers to the ever-hungry Sponge. The Deliberator and The Shak had the roast pork hock, which we think was the highlight. They were enormous, we can’t imagine how big the pig they came from must be. The meat fell off the bone and there was plenty of potato to mop up the juices with. The Sponge had the pancakes with goulash, and once again, the proportions were apt. The meat was tender, the sauce a blend of …. Polish stuff, and there were many condiments and salads on the side. All in all good solid fare.

BITO and The Brains decided on ordering dessert, and both requested the apple cake and ice cream. Dessert was a bit of a mistake, the apple cake was served cold with a scoop of choc mint ice cream which was just weird. The cake was bland at best, and pretty soggy. We also (hilariously!) ordered a sponge cake for The Sponge (get it?? sponge cake for The Sponge… !!). It was dry and not even worth the $3.50 we spent on it. Never mind, none of us are really dessert fans anyway, we were only there for the meat feast.

The service was friendly, though not very efficient. Bottles of wine were left on the table to get warm and getting someone to take our order took some 30 minutes. However, the waitresses were so warm and so Polish that all sins were immediately forgiven.

In summary

Service: casual & sweet, but despite Poland’s proximity to Germany, that German efficiency has not rubbed off in the Polish service industry.

Food: big portions, simple food which was entirely satisfying and delicious.

Ambience: like a year 12 Art Class, complete with bad paintings, a lino floor and uncomfortable chairs.

Highlight: absolutely everything on the menu looked like something we wanted.

Lowlight: a very average dessert.

: 3.5 pierogi out of 5.

Will we be back? Yes. It would be perfect on a cold rainy night.

Details: Call them on (08) 9371 9157. There was a $3 corkage charge, but we couldn’t get to the bottom of whether that was per bottle, per person or per table. The cost was $35 per head with BYO wine, a reasonable tip and plenty of meat.

Next week: Inglewood Pizza is next up, please please please let there be more than cheese flavoured pizza on offer.

Rembrandt on Urbanspoon


Matt at Abstract Gourmet said...

Dear BSB's... I love this concept...
Working your way down the length of Beaufort St is a task indeed, and you have already highlighted how little I know about the greater eating region that is Beaufort St...

I was sad that you skipped Da Bruno as it's probably one of the best...

Look forward to keeping up with your adventures.


Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi Matt at Abstract Gourmet, thanks for your comment. About Da Bruno, we agree, it is one of the best, which was precisely why we skipped it. Rest assured that as soon as BITO is no longer in her current 'condition' and back on the gas, we'll be right there.

Thanks for linking to your site too. We enjoyed your review of the Flying Taco - as we live about 2 minutes away from it you've just helped us decide what we'll have for dinner tonight.

grrlfrommars said...

I think it was wise to bring along some additions to the BSB evening at Rembrandt, given there are so many delicious varieties of meat an potato on the menu that you would want to sample them all. Ring ins are obviously handy for leftover consumption, or specifically, reinforcements for The Sponge.

I have never had a bad meal at Rembrandt, and still to this day insist that the pierogi is better than any pierogi I consumed in Poland. The restaurant does in fact bring back fond memories of rolling out of Polish eating establishments full of sausage, as well as not so fond memories of TEE Art class (and if I'd known then what I know now I would have insisted upon the consumption of Absinthe before my teacher critiqued my wares).

I am distraught that you had bad desert experience, as the honey cake here is sensational. I urge everyone to try the honey cake! It is even available as takeaway! I have heard from reliable sources (round faced friends with surnames that end in ski) that even the humble Babcia cheats and purchases their honey cake from Rembrandt.

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi grrlfrommars, thanks again for your comment and our apologies for not responding sooner. The Brains has been on holidays and is the only one with the intellect (ok, the password) to operate this blog.

Although our dinki-di Polish pierogi experience was somewhat limited, we would have to agree that what we got at Rembrandts was much better than what we got in Poland. God bless the fine produce we have here in Aus.

We will definitely try some honey cake when we're next in the area, thanks for the tip. And we have since been told that what we experienced in terms of the sponge cake was totally legitimate and dry is just the way they like it in Polski.

Hoping to be a guest reviewer said...

Phew - after inadvertently revealing on Sunday that I was not up to date with the blog, I have just caught up on over two months of reviews. Quite time consuming but how exciting to find an indirect reference to myself and my beloved husband by way of the "potential divorce" in Poland! (although, technically, was a potential breaking off of engagement at that stage). Love the reviews - I want to come to Third Avenue next time you go.

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi hoping to be a guest reviewer. While your near bust-up with your now husband was not a highlight of the weekend in Poland, it certainly was unforgettable. We will would love you to come along as a guest reviewer sometime, you would write a much funnier review than we ever could.