I’ll admit that I do go to Hallertau quite a bit. If you live out on the West Coast of Auckland pleasant bars are limited. There are a few establishments selling cheap tap beer with the decor consisting of cheap sticky carpet, and the ambience derived from the flashing lights from pokey machines… not really the sort of place to go and relax or take a date too.
That’s why when Hallertau appeared a while back it was a god send for the refugees from Aucklanders who have settled the north west, fleeing the clutter and noise of the city.
It’s interesting how a comfortable ambience is created, and it’s obviously more difficult than it looks because so many places fail miserably. Hallertau seems to have struck a happy medium between being a bar and a restaurant. The actual building itself is sparse – concrete floors and high ceilings, but through colour and lighting they have created something that manages to be cosy and intimate during the winter – cool and breezy during the summer
Hallertau’s main draw is the beer, they have four permanent attractions – brewed in house and available on tap, plus seasonal beers (currently a Manuka Saison – a Belgium Ale with a distinctive honey flavour) and guest beers. There’s a good wine list and an array of fruit wines which are also made in house.
There’s a great selection of small plates, a bit like tapas, that are perfect when you are just going in for a drink and need to line the stomach.
The main menu of the restaurant is small but has an interesting depth and changes constantly. I had braised pork belly with kumara mash and spinach, juicy and melting in the mouth, there was also duck on a huge ravioli of truffle and mushroom. The food is beautifully presented, and has always been good. Beer matches are suggested in the menu.
Hallertau is consistently good, it isn’t too flashy or pretentious (well it is compared to what is available out west, but not by Auckland standards), the service is polite and attentive, the menu interesting.
Hallertau is a great place to go to for a beer and light lunch if you’ve been out to the beach (but if you don’t need an excuse it’s worth the drive if you enjoy real beer). Check out the lounge next to the restaurant where you can settle down with a group of friends in the huge sofa’s in front of the fire and pick over one of the huge plate of tapas and a tasting paddle with all four beers.