Ernst, a modern-day German wirtshaus, opened its doors at the 25hours Hotel Dubai One Central in March, and serves authentic Bavarian fare.
Where to sit and what to expect
Located opposite the main entrance of the 25Hours Hotel close to Dubai Trade Centre, Ernst is a lovely-looking space channelling a Bavarian inn vibe and uses the colour green to great effect. The indoor arena has verdant walls, which offset carved wooden furniture (a touch borrowed from Germany’s breweries) and a colourful maypole fixed to the ceiling, which is a nod to the Bavarian tradition of raising a "Maibaum", wooden pole, to celebrate spring on May 1.
The partially shaded patio area makes you feel like you’re sitting in a lush garden, complete with wooden tables, benches and a swing.
Pork is a prominent feature on most German menus — and Ernst is no exception. However, for diners who do not eat the meat, there is still plenty to enjoy. The food is undeniably hearty. We start with obatzda (Dh20), a salty Bavarian cheese delicacy that is two-thirds Camembert, one-third butter. This is no light affair, but is certainly a delicious one.
We also try the flandenbrot truffle, a crispy Bavarian flatbread piled high with crispy potato, truffle cream and rocket leaves. I told you this was going to be a carb-heavy meal. Unlike many truffle dishes in Dubai, the flavour isn't overwhelming and balances perfectly with the crisp bread and sharp rocket.
Come the mains, the whole grilled trout is a good choice for non-pork eaters. It comes with roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables. The succulent fish is cooked to perfection and pulls away from the bone with ease.
My dining companion opts for a dish synonymous with German cuisine, the wiener schnitzel, a veal escalope with a potato cucumber salad and cranberries. The light and fresh salad is an unexpected hit — think a classic picnic potato salad only without the unnecessary quantities of mayonnaise.
The German cheesy egg noodle dish does what it says on the tin, while the apple strudel more than makes up for the roasted chicken, which is a bit too dry for my taste.
Vegans have a dish of Impossible beef meatballs, served with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes to contend with.
The obatzda is the star of this show and is served with brezn, a tree of firm but buttery pretzels. While creamy, the cheese dip benefits from a bit of crunch courtesy of a sprinkling of onions. It’s a must-have at Ernst.
A chat with the chef
Timo Glockner, head chef at 25hours Hotel Dubai One Central, comes from Pirmasens, a small town in Rhineland-Palantine, Germany. He has worked in Switzerland, the Philippines and Dubai and has been with Ernst since the beginning “planning and creating delicious traditional German food that I know people will love”, he says.
“I don’t like wasting too much time when it comes to unnecessary garnishes and fancy visuals, which ultimately end up on the side of the plate," he adds. "German cooking is about going back to basics, so it’s important to create dishes that are simple and traditional. Authentic Bavarian cuisine is quite heavy and what we like to call comfort food.”
Meaty mains aside, the chef recommends trying the cheese spaetzli and apple strudel, describing the latter as “truly special".
He adds: "There’s something about mixing hot pastry with apples to cold ice cream that gets the taste buds tingling.”
Price point and contact details
The menu is divided into snacks, which range from Dh25 to Dh65; salads and soups from Dh35 to Dh45; traditional mains, which will set you back between Dh55 for the German cheesy egg noodles and Dh250 for the lamb rack; while desserts range from Dh35 to Dh40 a pop.
Open Sunday-Thursday noon-midnight, Friday noon-1am, Saturday noon-4pm and 6pm-1am. Reservations can be made by calling 04 210 2511.
This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant