A tale of the Peter Street institution’s latest weekly sandwich symphony, cloudy wheat beer and a completely unnecessary – but nevertheless ordered – duo of desserts.
Albert’s Schloss rates highly on the conspicuous scale – it’s unmissable – from its seasonal floral arrangements to it’s 360° bar, Bavarian cook haus and bakery. Add to that nightly entertainment of the highest order, be it DJ’s, cabaret or choirs, and you have a winning combination.
However, my experience of ‘Schloss is limited to the night-time: the disco-ball, the roaring bar, reels of bier taps and the cacophony of cocktail shakers. Therefore, I decided to visit in the day, for lunch.
The late-night partiers became business lunchers, one hand tapping away at a laptop, the other holding the menu askew. Weighty steins spilling with bier of golden amber are foregone for dinky flat whites. Sunlight lay fragmented on the ground while a slowed down playlist – of a far lower volume – hummed.
My reasons for a daytime trip extended – thankfully – beyond just watching people pretend to do work. The sandwich of the week had been announced, a pulse-quickening event for the likes of I, and to say this one piqued my interest would be an understatement.
The laugenecken’s (or as it has been simplified, ‘laminated pretzel bread’) corners appeared scorched and curled upward, sprinkled with wafer thin crystals of sea salt and balanced atop two fleshy lumps of fried lobster. Pops of colour emanated from the air dried tomato’s wrinkled skin and the verdancy of the fresh crisp lettuce, under which lay the charred bacon, glistening with fat.
This, albeit liberally doused with Instagram filters, brought my anticipation to a febrile boil. A legion of commenters descended. “Bit of you this” hollered one follower, as they tagged their friend of whom this sandwich was most certainly a bit of, “NEED RIGHT NOW” digitally ululated another, actually sounding quite panicked, possibly malnourished? Kidnapped? Regardless, we liked en masse.
My experience was somewhat different.
The bread – gilded with a buttery sheen that sparkled in the light – hadn’t the crunchy outer as expected but was satisfyingly chewy, slightly sweet and gave way to soft, airy dough.
This doughiness was juxtaposed by the crispness of the battered lobster tail. Well, at least until that crispness became sogginess, which in turn became sponginess, before the lobster introduced itself. Much unlike the hulking, buttery chunks my mind’s eye dreamt of, the lobster wasn’t much more than a pair of prawn-sized nubs, encased in a thick, cumbersome shell of wet, subpar chip shop batter.
Then came the bacon, so incredibly smoky it was almost overpowering, before the lettuce provided a refreshing, crisp reprieve and the tomatoes burst with a wonderfully tangy sweetness. This trifecta worked in perfect tandem, one can only wonder why.
The lobster didn’t leave the sandwich completely devoid of hope; the black truffle hollandaise was undeniably truffle-y and injected the sandwich with the richness the lobster lacked. However, the lemon dressing was a myth, a whisper of flavour who’s presence the sandwich could have done without, and not really have lost anything.
The fries were thin, perfectly crisp and browned at the edges. They lacked salt and vinegar but then, what fries don’t?
And so my tastebuds, addled by disappointment, and my mind, addled by Paulaner, called for redemption. I decided to remedy this with what I attempt to solve all my problems with – dessert.
First came a cruffin, a croissant-muffin hybrid, or just a grossly misshapen croissant, if you think about it. This one was daubed with a thick layer of milky-sweet white chocolate and stuffed with a lip-smackingly addictive cherry jam. However, the outer layers of pastry were aged and stale, resulting in intermittently dry, jam-less mouthfuls.
But fear not – on the recommendation of the server – a cheesecake also arrived: short and rotund on a bed of tongue-coating melted chocolate, drowned in caramel and flecked with crunchy-salty-sweet pretzels and pecan brittle.
This cheesecake should come equipped with a caveat: share it. The mascarpone cream is delectably rich, however heavy on the cream, so while those first few bites are hunky-dory, it gets a lil’ tougher further down the line. Then there’s the caramel, thick and of a molar-zapping sweetness that is compounded by the glossy, melted chocolate that sits beneath.
This onslaught of dairy and sugar is blissfully curtailed by the saltiness of the pretzel. The pecan brittle also offers textural diversity, seeing as the base lacks crunch, rendering itself almost unnoticeable amongst the mascarpone cream.
With that, I stumbled back out into cruel daylight, my stomach lined with a questionable cocktail of wheat beer, groggy batter and mascarpone – perhaps it’s best for me to leave ‘Schloss for the night time.