Restaurant Review: Bar Varia

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Bavaria by way of Braehead — it’s not exactly an obvious route, especially in the supposed height of summer.

The other half and I headed out to pastures new this week in search of Bar Varia — and you’d think it wouldn’t be hard to find, with a snow ski slope attached.

The Snow Factor bar had been popping up on Facebook of late, offering up rare beers from around the world and promises of wurst, schnitzel and all things apres ski.

Still, it took us a while to locate it, tucked into a corner of Braehead’s activity centre already packed with chain eateries and glimpses of climbing walls or adventure zones.

On a muggy June evening, the ski-themed bar and view of the chilly slope was a welcome one — for the non-driver in particular.

The OH and I were welcomed in with a friendly smile and a chat about what’s what on the beer list before he tucked into a tasty Augustinerbrau. I opted for a fizzy drink, and cursed him from across the table.

For the discerning food reviewer, there was only one choice on a menu packed with the usual pizza and burger fare; the full Table Breaker experience.

A sharing platter of German treats, what arrived was a tray groaning under the weight of three types of sausage, weiner schnitzel, chicken, rib eye, sauerkraut, coleslaw, potato salad and paprika fries.

You can’t whack a German sausage — and, happily, we had three each. Rich and smokey, each brought back memories of currywurst stands in Berlin. They’re the star of the platter, and a must with those smooth German beers.

Tenderised pork schnitzel was another standout; crisp on the outside, succulent on the inside, and char-edged steak slices and chicken added a barbecue note to our sizeable plates.

If you ask me, fries mean the skinny variety; instead, these were meaty, man-sized chips with a liberal dusting of smoky paprika — ideal for dipping in one of Bar Varia’s decent sauces, the curry ketchup and peppercorn in particular.

A generous hunk of coleslaw was good, but the star of the sides was mustard-laced potato salad; creamy with a kick dressing giving way to butter-soft potatoes.

If there was room for criticism on this packed-to-the-rafters platter, it would be aimed squarely at the sauerkraut — and that’s from a kraut fan. Hidden under an inviting pile of sausage, large chunks of the stuff were less appetising than the usual shredded variety, and a mouthful was all vinegar, little nuance.

I know, I know...you’re judging a little bit. All that food for just two people? Well, I’ll admit that we couldn’t finish it between.

Perhaps if we’d bothered to do the ski before the apres — but with bellies full of wurst and (in some lucky cases) German beer, we rolled out past poor diners from establishments round about, safe in assumption that we had tried the best Braehead’s activity centre has to offer.

Perhaps next time — and I’d happily have a next time — a taxi will be in order.

Bar Varia

Snow Factor Braehead

Renfrew

PA4 8XQ

Tel: 0141 885 7078