Paulaner Brauhaus – Singapore’s Longest Standing Microbrewery and 2 Affordable Ways to Get Smashed

11 10 2012

The concept of microbreweries was first conceived in Singapore in the early 1990s, by a small brewery called Orang Utan Brewery, located where Zouk now resides. The market just wasn’t matured enough then and it winded down shortly after. Next came Paulaner Brauhaus in 1996, currently Singapore’s longest standing microbrewery. Brewerkz was another early player which opened in 1997. Over the years, names such as Pump Room, Archipelago Brewery, Level33, Reddot Brewhouse and Tawandang have also jumped on the microbrewery bandwagon and added vibrancy to our domestic beer market.

I first visited Paulaner slightly over 2 years back for a friend’s birthday. We had the Sunday Brunch Buffet, which is still ongoing and comes with either free flow soft drinks or free flow beer at $48++/$58++ respectively. This time however, I was back  for an Oktoberfest dinner event organized by the SMU Gourmet Club.

In light of the Oktoberfest festivities, a German band was playing what I guess were German drinking songs and going around dancing with selected audience members. The party was still pretty mild at this time, especially since the night was young and few had had their fill of food and drink.

I started off the meal with the Caesar Salad with Air-dried Pancetta Ham and Garlic Croutons ($14++). I would say its not worth the money as there’s better alternatives on the menu. Come on, you are in a German Restaurant! Act like it and order some MEAT!

It’s weird that there’s Sauteed Escargots with Herb Garlic Butter ($16.50++) on the menu, since snails are more of a French dish. Still, it’s prepared rather legitimately here and the snails are plump and juicy, with a savoury garlic butter sauce that I didn’t hesitate to soak my garlic bread in.

Someone took our preordered meatloaf by mistake, so being the magnanimous individuals we like to think we are, we swapped for their Munich’s Famous White Sausages with Freshly Baked Pretzel ($13.50++) instead. The pretzel is not worth mention but the sausages and dipping sauce are. The sausages are on the salty side but is toned down by the tangy mild BBQ-like sauce.

I’m still on the fence about the Potato Rosti with dry Smoked Ham Gratin with Gruyere Cheese ($13.50++). It’s nothing to shout about really, and the fried potato strips weren’t even crispy when the dish was served but there’s something about rosti that one finds it hard to complain about. You know that feeling too, it’s akin to complaining about hash browns and you just don’t!

Never leave Paulaner without having their Paulaner’s Famous Grilled Pork Knuckle on Sauerkraut with Gravy and Bread Dumpling ($29.50++). It’s one of the better grilled pork knuckles I have tried so far and for some reason, it came conveniently deboned. The meat is suitably moist with a nice layer of crackling and the portion was indeed generous enough for 2 to 3 people to share comfortably while allowing for stomach room for other dishes. The only thing I didn’t like in this dish was the Bread Dumpling, which tasted like a dry savoury muffin with random bits of vegetables inside.

The biggest surprise today came from the Sirloin Steak 250g with Sauteed Mushrooms, Roasted Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables. It was done as per request of medium rare, well marinated and tender. I had no qualms eating it without any condiments. The Roasted Potatoes are great too, lightly charred on the edges for that crisp texture and light smoky flavour.

Paulaner offers 2 types of fresh brews on a regular basis, the Munich Lager and Munich Dark. Seasonal beers are offered at special times of the year so instead of the regular brews, only Oktoberfest Beer was available today. Beer girls were also going around with German Pear Schnapps. I tried a shot and it’s rather potent, the beer girl said it’s stronger than tequila but it definitely tastes better with a refreshing fruity aftertaste.

At the end of the meal, the band came out for a second set and fuelled with food, Oktoberfest Beer and Pear Schnapps, the crowd was really participative, standing on chairs while following the lead of the lead singer with his hand gestures, truly uncharacteristic of typical Singaporeans. I loved the spontaneity of it all and would return just to soak in the atmosphere again.

PS: Don’t tell mommy you heard it from me but for the love of booze, I have 2 suggestions on how to get smashed whilst on a budget. While it’s not cool anymore to buy booze off the shelf, especially when there’s fresh beer from all the microbreweries around, canned beer is definitely the cheapest way to get smashed. Specifically, Baron’s Strong Brew. At 8.8% alcohol, it’s one of the stronger brews around and three 500ml cans will translate to roughly 11 shot of vodka, all for the price of $19.50 (assuming $6.50 per 500ml can).

If you have slightly deeper pockets, I would suggest Bar on 5 @ Mandarin Orchard. I know you must be thinking I’m mad for suggesting a hotel bar as a cheap way to get smashed but with their current promotion for non-premium hard liquor (ie.Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker Black Label, Smirnoff) at $250++ for 3 bottles, which comes with mixers and some generic bar snacks, you can get smashed on approximately 9 vodka shots with just $35 bucks. Did I mention you can store your bottles there up to 2 months if you can’t finish? Awesome Possum 😀

Paulaner Brauhaus

9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-01 Millenia Walk

Tel: +65 6883 2572

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Magma German Wine Bistro – My Favourite Watering Hole

27 05 2012

I first came to know about Magma 2 years ago when I participated in one of Time Out’s Dine Out Tasting Events, in which it was one of the 10 odd participating restaurants. Each of the participating restaurants featured some of their signatures and Magma left the deepest impression, with their freshly baked German Pizza and free-flow of German wines. My friend D and myself were so intrigued by the wine we tried that soon after the event, we paid a visit to Magma. That was the start of my Magma adventures and whenever any friends needed a suggestion for a watering hole, it would always be the first on my list.

As a regular here, I have to say I’m a little apprehensive blogging about this as one of the main reasons why I love the place is because the crowd is thin on weekday nights and is a perfect place to catch up with friends over affordable wines that ranges as low as $25 per bottle. In my mind, having too many people know of Magma will simply spoil the exclusivity and charm of the place. But I guess good food and drink is meant to be shared and Magma should be rewarded for hosting the good times I have had over the past 2 years.

As Magma operates a wine shop within the restaurant premises as well, the wine menu here is really extensive. I estimate that the restaurant carries around 250-300 different wine labels from Germany, a number you are unlikely to find in many other restaurants locally. I have only tried about 5 or 6 though, sticking to the ones that are generally sweeter and not too dry, suitable for unsophisticated drinkers. My favourite one here is the GEWUERZTRAMINER & SCHOENBURGER & RIESLING (Blend) ($37++), a still White wine which has been recommended by “The Local Nose” and attained a “SILVER” in Wine & Spirits Asia 2012. Although Gewuerztraminer (pronounced goose-ter-min-er) is a red grape, the wines gained from it are white, though the colour tone is slightly more golden compared to most white wines. Texture wise, it’s very smooth and easy to drink with floral undertones as it shares similar aromatic compounds to lychees, pairing well with cheese, roasted poultry, roasted fish as well as Flammkuchen (German pizza which will be covered below).

Another wine that provides great value is the ROTKAEPPCHEN Rubin red ($29++), a sparkling red wine which has attained a “Bronze” in “WineStyleAsiaAward 2011”. ROTKAEPPCHEN literally means Little Red Riding Hood in German, named as such because the top of the wine bottle is sealed in a ruby red foil. Again, its on the semi-sweet side and personally, I think it pairs well the Roasted Pork Knuckle here.

For food, I’d highly recommend trying out the Flammkuchen (sometimes referred to as a Tarte Flambee). It is a thin Crispy German Pizza with Sour Cream, Bacon & Onions ($16/$24 for Small/Regular) and is a great accompaniment for a bottle of white wine. Apart from Bacon & Onions, diners can also choose to have other topping mixes such as “Spinach & Cheese”, “Smoked Salmon & Leek”, “Chicken Breast with Tomato, Onions, Apple & Cheese”.

Something you can give a miss is the Beef Goulash with Capsicum, Onion & Spaetzle ($26++). In essence, it is simply an unexciting beef stew with egg noodle or pasta. The beef is the chunky type, not the fatty marbled ones that I like.

The Wildschweinbraten or Pan Fried Female Wild Boar with Forest Mushrooms & Potato Croquettes ($38++) is good too. The meat is utterly tender with a good fat-meat ratio but I wasn’t too excited about the cream sauce though as it didn’t add much value to the dish.

A must-try at Magma is their signature Pork Knuckle with Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes, German Mustard & Beer Gravy ($29++ for Roasted Bavarian-style as per picture below). However, the lack of consistency can be an issue as the Pork Knuckle is freaking awesome only two-thirds of the time. On off-days the meat can be a tad too sinewy, and the crackling soggy but I believe it’s still worth taking my chances whenever I’m here. Another good point is that the portions are huge so I usually find trouble finishing it all by myself when I order this for dinner. Apart from the Roasted Bavarian-style, there are other styles available as well for how you want your Pork Knuckle to be done. This includes Boiled Berlin-style ($28++), Roasted Honey Glazed ($34++), Roasted Garlic Flavour ($34++), Roasted Chili Flavoured ($34++).

For amateur drinkers, I think Magma is definitely a great place to start out. The staff are friendly and the owners (a German couple) run the restaurant themselves, so any queries on wine selection or appreciation can be directed straight at them or the staff. And from my interactions with them, I believe it is fair to say they are always happy to educate new drinkers.

Magma German Wine Bistro

2 Bukit Pasoh Rd

Tel: +65 6221 0634








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