When we decided to visit West on the Corner on a Wednesday, I wasn’t sure whether we would need to book or not. Usually when I book for a midweek night we walk into an empty restaurant feeling a bit foolish, but I decided to play it safe and book a table for 7 o’clock. This turned out to be a very good idea indeed – when we were shown through to the back dining area there were tables set out for a couple of big parties, and we soon realised that we probably wouldn’t have gotten in had we not booked.
The staff were a little eager and overbearing at first – we were asked for our drinks order 3 times in just a couple of minutes, despite the fact that we wanted a minute to look at the drinks menu. They seemed to calm down a bit later on – probably due to the ever-growing party at our back – although the general service was all on the quick side. We had finished our meals in less than an hour and a half, and would have been happy with slightly longer gaps between courses.
Enough about the service, though – what about the food? Dad was the only one of us to have a starter (mum and I wanted to leave room for dessert!) choosing the Beef Goulash. The thick sauce was filled with tender beef, and the accompanying Tapa rye bread was perfect for mopping up the last scraps. The butter caused the usual complaint – straight from the fridge and too hard to spread on the soft bread – but it was a lovely starter other than that.
For his main, dad opted for the Jäger Schnitzel – a pork escalope in a wild mushroom sauce, served with salad and fries. The pork itself was beautifully tender and melt-in-the-mouth, while dad loved the creamy sauce which soaked through the skinny fries (although he was finding it a little sweet by the time he finished). Also nice was the accompanying salad – a simple mix of salad leaf, tomatoes and sauerkraut was lifted by a rather nice dressing.
Across the table, mum and I had decided to share the German Sausage Selection for 2. The selection was billed as including Bockwurst, Bratwurst, Nurnberger and Bavarian smokie – we couldn’t identify what was what, and if you pressed me I would have said there were only three types of sausage on the platter, but they were all very nice anyway. Our definite favourite was the smoky tasting one (perhaps the Bavarian smokie, if the name is anything to go by) but they all tasted lovely and were surprisingly light. The accompaniments on the menu are mayo, curry sauce and sauerkraut and again this seemed to be slightly different from what we got, with a dish of mustard replacing the mayo. However, the curry sauce was really nice – there were definite hints of BBQ and a distinct sweetness to the sauce, which went well with both the sausages and our side order of fries. Mum was also pleasantly surprised by the gherkins on the board – not usually her cup of tea, she actually rather liked the mild flavoured pickles (I could have taken them stronger, but they were by no means bad).
I had expected to be full after the pretty sizeable portion of meat I had eaten, but the sausages weren’t as heavy as one might have thought and so I moved to the dessert menu eagerly. It’s a small menu – three desserts and a cheese selection – but I really struggled to choose between each of the desserts. Mum got there a bit quicker than I did, choosing the Viennese Apple Strudel – sweet, cinnamon spiced apple encased in flaky filo pastry with a scoop of proper vanilla ice cream. While it looked, and tasted, lovely, I definitely didn’t regret my (eventual) choice of Bitter Chocolate Tart. The thick, decadent chocolate was just bitter enough to ensure that the tart wasn’t too sweet, and the chocolate crumble over the top was the perfect accompaniment to the silky smooth salted caramel ice cream. The best part of the dish, however, were the delicate little burnt meringues that adorned the plate. Golden brown on top, the meringues were crunchy on the outside yet smooth and chewy in the middle. The taste was unlike any other meringue I’ve had – marshmallow-y and not synthetic or overly sweet and sickly, I savoured every single one of the tiny morsels.
A couple of little service hiccups at the beginning were made up for by the food and drink (dad really enjoyed the Munich Red, and my red wine was the perfect temperature). The price for the meal was also pretty reasonable given the quality, and I would pretty happily return to either incarnation of WEST.