I usually go to the pub to escape my family, not embrace it. But when the friendly leder-hosen-laden folks at The Bavarian at Manly Wharf told me they were ramping up their family-friendly food game I thought, “why not” – plus they offered me free beer.
It might have been the dark, wheaty, rich and delicious Franziskaner Hefe beer talking but this turned out to be sensationally good idea, with our table of four adults and three children enjoying a tantrum-free chance at socialisation and serious eating.
Hurting badly from the recent lockdowns that have brought all of our local businesses (bar the mask makers) to their knees, the bright minds at the Bavarian have realised that working-from-home parents are able to eat a little earlier. Young families like to eat earlier anyway since things go pretty wild mood-wise from about 7pm (the “witching hour”). Money is also a bit of a sore point at the moment with job security hit by the pandemic. The solution? The best value family feed, and one with ocean views.
The Bavarian is dishing out a full “Feed the Family” feast for $49. That’s it. For everything. For that you get Haus-made Pretzels (large, hot and even more delicious with butter. I can’t believe I ever wasted my time with anything less), a large plate of juicy and all-round bang-on-the money chicken schnitzels with a mushroom sauce, plenty of fries (meh), and a fresh and delicious Roasted pumpkin and beetroot salad that’s up to the Manly standard. This is a great balancer to cut through the meal’s richness. I recommend asking for a side of sauerkraut for the same reason. There’s also an Apple Strudel and ice cream to finish. The ice cream is pretty run-of-the-mill but the Strudel easily makes the grade.
The only catch is that you have to get in before 6pm, which was once impossible for the full-time city office worker but is now fairly viable. There’s no listed start time so we presume you can also go for lunch instead, or it’s a mad dash from the ferry to make it for those back to the 9-5 CBD commute.
But the real genius – and we aren’t sure if they even did this on purpose – is that glorious time between 4pm and 6pm also happens to coincide with Happy Hour. That’s $5 beers, wine and spirits, $7.50 500ml steins and $14.50 if you’re opting out of bathing the kids that night and want to commit to a full litre.
You go to the Bavarian for two things – schnitty and beer. This means that you’ve got NEIN chance of actually leaving there having spent $49 bucks. But at $7.50 to have a really good quality Bavarian beverage or two alongside, you’re still leaving feeling like you’ve pulled off a heist.
While on most days the golden light coming through in the late afternoon is a treat, it was pretty hot on the day our group went and we kept gradually shuffling down the benches as no one thought to bring sunscreen to an indoor restaurant. But that’s about it on the critical front.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was the ability for the kids to shake out their sillies by stepping out of the restaurant and playing along the wharf and beach between courses. It does mean one nominated adult has to part with their beverage for about ten minutes but this also frees up the much-required intestinal space to eat more of the shared food when it arrives. If you get the timing right.
The ‘Feed the Family’ deal was intended as a school holiday thing but it’s hit all the right notes for Manly’s growing young family cohort, so they’ve decided to keep it on so long as we keep turning up for it.
You’ll be happily stuffed after and a little unwilling to walk home, nor able to drive it, but what’s the rush? There are worse ways to digest a meal than while sitting on the jetty watching the kids run giggling from the waves as the sun makes a final salute and the southerly starts sweeping in.
Bookings available online: https://www.thebavarians.com/venue/manly-wharf/
Transparency check ✓ This is a non-sponsored, genuine review, but the meal was provided free for review, and it was not anonymous.