Thursday, 2 January 2014

Elmar's in the Valley

Happy new year! May your 2014 be filled with lots of amazing food, great company and endless laughter! Do you have a new year's resolution? If you do, good luck! My new year's resolution is obviously not to go on a diet because I already failed by going out for lunch with my family today. We didn't feel like going for dim sum so decided on Elmar's in the Valley in Henley Brook for some German cuisine.

I rang up at 12 noon to book a table for 12:30pm with no problems and no additional information. When we arrived we were shocked to find that they were charging a 20% surcharge but as we had made the effort to get there and it was too hard to go elsewhere (we didn't know what was open and the food at Elmar's was usually decent) so decided to just bite the bullet and stay. People that were behind us were just as shocked and exclaimed just as loud as we did when they saw the sign in front of the restaurant. Surprisingly the restaurant was actually half full this new year's day even with the 20% surcharge but I am guessing like us, it was just too hard to go elsewhere.

We were greeted by a not so friendly hostess who directed her staff to seat us fairly quickly and provided us with menus and a bottle of water. My family were not overly hungry as they already had breakfast and snacks so in true Asian style we decided to just get a few plates to share, as the serving sizes at Elmar's have traditionally been quite big. We had to wave to the wait staff a few times before they came to take our order.

Our order
Beef Salad (Herrensalat) (Briskly fried beef tenderloin strips tossed with cherry tomatoes, Spanish onion, capsicum, gherkins, spring onion and marinated in a tomato-mustard dressing. Served with Turkish bread) $34.70 (usually $28.90)
Elmar's Bratwurst Plate (A trio of Elmar's bratwurst - grillbratwurst, cheese kransky and coarse bratwurst, on a bed of royal blue mashed potato and sauerkraut, with crisp garden salad and a side of mustard) $44.30 (usually $36.90)
Elmar's Specialty - Pork Shank (Schweinehaxe) (Slow-cooked and roasted pickled pork shank encased in crunchy crackling, served with traditional German sauerkraut, onion and bacon tossed fried potatoes and a side of mustard) $51.50 (usually $42.90)

Food and presentation - 3.5/5
As expected, the food at Elmar's in the Valley was fairly tasty but it seems the portion size has shrunk. The tale of the shrinking pork shank and missing potatoes is a story about a beautifully seasoned pork shank with the crackling nice and crispy, however the pork shank has shrunk and there were only 7 cubes of potato - what happened Elmar's? The pork shank used to be much bigger and the dish was filled with so much potato you couldn't see the bottom of the plate...
Elamr's Specialty - Pork Shank $51.50 ($42.90)
We all really enjoyed the bratwurst plate, the sausages were great, however there were only just enough to share, I can't really decide which sausage I liked the most but I really liked the mash which was nice and creamy.
Elmar's Bratwurst Plate $44.30 ($36.90)
The beef salad was the least impressive dish, the salad dressing and the beef were a bit bland with the beef being slightly overcooked.
Beef Salad (Herrensalat) $34.70 ($28.90)
Service - 2.5/5
The service at Elmar's in the Valley has always been average and today was no different. We had to wave a few times to get the attention of a wait staff to take our order and our water bottle wasn't refilled/replaced automatically but the wait staff were generally friendly. What really annoyed me was that the staff member who took my reservation did not inform me of the surcharge and this was also not on their website. I also thought it was very cheeky of them to print special menus for the day with the 20% surcharge included in the prices because we thought the price was 20% on top of the listed price and if you didn't see the sign at the front of the restaurant, you wouldn't even know that you're paying extra, very sneaky!

Atmosphere and decor - 3.5/5
I really like the atmosphere at Elmar's in the Valley, it's nice and relaxed. We sat inside but they also have an outdoor sitting area. The decor is mainly wooden which fits in with the general style of the restaurant and they have a little gift shop inside which sells their famous sausages and cold meats, as well as knick knacks and some German and European foods such as pumpernickel, marzipan and Haribo gummy bears.
Value for money - 1.5/5
The prices at Elmar's in the Valley on a non-public holiday is still not what you would call cheap or even good value but the prices charged today was definitely ridiculous for what it is. 

I'm pretty sure that we will be back for more over priced German food some other time, just because.

Taste Test Total Score 11/20

Address: 8731 West Swan Road, Henley Brook WA 6055                                              
Telephone: (08) 9296 6354                                                                                                    
Reservations: Yes        

Opening times
Monday and Tuesday: CLOSED      
Wednesday and Thursday: 11am - 4pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am - 10pm
Sunday: 11am - 8:30pm
Open most Public Holidays

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