Two and a half weeks of revelry accompanied by overflowing beer and German food that’s what Oktoberfest promises. The annual German spectacle, which began in 1810 to celebrate a royal marriage, is now a global phenomenon. In Hyderabad, Chef Yogender Pal and his team has assembled a special menu that celebrates beer and German food. I was invited by the hotel to experience their Oktoberfest.
The Oktoberfest promotion at Marriott Hyderabad is being hosted at Altitude – Marriot’s lounge bar. As the name suggests the bar is located at the top floor. With its high ceilings, leather sofas, wooden tables, Altitude evokes a memory of the exquisite and luxurious vintage bars. Altitude offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The lounge overlooks Hussain Sagar and the view is fantastic. However, the unfortunate stench of Hussain Sagar is an unavoidable downside of taking an outdoor seat.
The beer scene at Hyderabad has only just started growing up, and the variety of beers available at retail is still quite limited. So, Marriott doesn’t have any German Beer on offer. For this festival they are stocking Draught, in addition to Leffe, Stella, and Hoegaarden. There are a range of beer cocktails on the menu including Beer Pot, Mexican Shandy, and Flaming Orange Shot.
The first dish to arrive was Pickled Egg – hard boiled egg topped with sausage and dressed in a house mustard sauce, sweet chilly sauce, vinegar, and chilli sauce. Each tiny, bite-sized portion of Pickled Egg presents an amazing orchestra of flavours that’ll get your palate singing. Next up, was Suppen or Soups. There was a mild Bavarian styled Onion soup with thyme, and a Beer and Cheddar Soup with bacon bits. No prizes for guessing which one I preferred. The richness of the cheddar accentuated by the morsels of bacon. However, the flavour of the beer didn’t quite shine through.
Brotzeiten or Appetisers on offer were Beer Battered Onion Rings, Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos, and Fried Potatoes with Poached Egg. The Jalapenos packed quite a punch, while the fried potatoes and poached eggs were enriched by the wonderful flavour of the bacon oil. We were also offered a bread basket featuring traditional German breads like Pumpernickel and Pretzels.
No Oktoberfest menu would be complete without sausages, and Altitude has quite a few specialty sausages on offer. My favourite were the Pork Curlies served with grain mustard, and Pork Wurst served with sweet and sour red cabbage and mashed potatoes. All the sausages are sourced locally, but the quality was quite good. It’s not often that you get to gorge on so many kinds of delicious pork sausages in Hyderabad.
Some of the other specialties on offer include Onion and Beef braised with lager beer, Beef Schnitzel, Mushroom Pot in Herb Cream Sauce, and Potato Casserole in a Paprika sauce. The Schnitzel was scrumptious. It is one of the most famous exports out of Germany – pounded and tenderized meat that’s coated in a batter and deep-fried. I didn’t try the vegetarian options, but was quite pleased with the moist and supple beer braised beef.
Wrapping up this fastinating voyage into German cuisine was the trio of Beer Caramel Ice Cream, Apple Strudel, and Black Forest Cheese Cake. Apple strudel is a pastry stuffed with apple that is popular in Germany and its neighbouring regions. The dish was served with its traditional accompaniment of custard sauce.
The Oktoberfest will be on until 1st October – it will be wrapping up a day earlier than usual owing to Oct 2 being a dry day. All the dishes are available on a la carte, and a meal for two (including a couple of Hoegaarden) will cost around Rs. 4000. The specially curated Oktoberfest menu features German treats that are rarely available in Hyderabad, and Altitude offers a brilliant venue to relax, unwind, and have a jolly good time with your friends or bae.