Swedish sushi art at Sushi Sho

Onsen egg with hamachi, okra and spring onions

I really love sushi. Since the selection in Vienna is quite limited, I am looking for good sushi shops basically everywhere I travel. Which leads to the quite odd result of going to a japanese restaurant in…Sweden. I simply could not resist when i read that there is a one Michelin-starred sushi bar in Stockholm: Sushi Sho.

The reservation through the website was smooth – and necessary since the sushi bar is quite small, having only 16 very tight seats.

Outside Sushi Sho
Outside Sushi Sho
The inside with 16 seats
The inside with 16 seats

It’s only 3 or 4 guys inside, preparing the food and serving. They offer an omakase menu for 685 SEK (65 euros) with an optional upgrade of Otoro (20 euros). There is a nice selection of wines and sake to go with – for the usual insane scandinavian prices 🙂

They use freshly grated wasabi and serve their evidently home made, really tasty gari.

Soy cured hamachi
Soy cured hamachi

Decent quality, though the soy curing gave the hamachi a heavy touch and took away the light softness of this fatty fish. The overall feeling was more baconish, but good.

Swedish octopus and abalone
Swedish octopus and abalone

This was absolutely great: Top-notch octopus, very soft and tasty. It was nicely paired with an excellent abalone, that was perfectly prepared and therefore had a gread balance between chewyness and softness.

Daikon with miso and dashi
Daikon with miso and dashi

A good palate cleanser.

Onsen egg with hamachi, okra and spring onions
Onsen egg with hamachi, okra and spring onions

Their signature dish. Everything is mixed, giving you a glibbery experience of umaminess, nicely accentuated by the onions and the puffed rice.

Then some nigiri of excellent quality followed: Their rice was rather soft and only lightly pressed, with a good rice-fish ratio. For my taste it could have been a bit more sour, but it was overall very good.

Red sea bream (Madai)
Red sea bream (Madai)
Sea bass
Sea bass
Artic char
Artic char
Lump fish roe
Lump fish roe

Lump fish roe is not my favorite: It is far too sandy and tasteless. This one was cured (in dashi, if i remember), which gave it more richness. After that the rice was changed into a more seasoned variation.

Mackerel
Mackerel

Then it came to tuna. They use ranched bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean. It was interesting to see the quality difference to the wild one I’ve eaten in Japan. Although the consistency was good (not watery, firm) it was silky and less tasty than wild one.

Maguro
Maguro
Chu-Toro
Chu-Toro

Before the final courses of the omakase menu they offer an upgrade with their selection of O-Toro as sashimi, nigiri or tartar at the end. As you can see the color and marbling is not perfect but still I wanted to try it and ordered some sashimi.

Selection of O-Toro
Selection of O-Toro
Flamed turbot belly
Flamed turbot belly

The fatty part of the turbot was nicely seared and set an intense and tasty ending to the menu.

Tamago
Tamago

Traditionally tamago is served at the end. This one was sweet and fluffy, quite good.

O-Toro
O-Toro

The final serving of O-Toro was good, although not excellent. The fat melted pleasantly, without being watery but in terms of taste it was not very intense. I guess good sushi in Japan spoils you forever 🙂

We spent two nice hours at Sushi Sho – having a good time, enjoying the busy bar, watching the chefs, having a chat with our neighbors and – of course – eating great sushi.

Visit: April 2018
Budget: 100€/person (including 2 drinks)
Location: 5/10
Service: 5/10
Food: 6.5/10

Aend(joy)

Potato & Pumpkin

In the begining (almost in the ides…so to say) of march a new restaurant opened in a rather uncool corner of Vienna’s sixth district: aend. It was said that chef Fabian Günzel cooks a reduced, product centered kitchen – reason enough for  me to go there and try it out.

The restaurant itself is a former corner pizzeria…

Outside aend

…so approaching we wouldn’t have guessed the modern interior. We entered and were welcomed by the infamous sommelier Simon Schubert (former Mraz&Sohn), not only a great host but also a passionate wine expert with a good hand for aged wines and unknown wineries. Shaking his hand I knew that this would be a great evening.

Inside aend
Inside aend

The restaurant’s conept is easy: There is only one menu, you can choose between big (120 euros) and small (99 euros) with an optional wine pairing (79/59 euros). All dishes are listed as the connection between two main ingredients – bringing together what belongs together, as is also the restaurant’s claim.

We started off with some amouches:

Chicken skin & Madras Curry | Radish & Seaweed | Celeriac & Curcuma
Chicken skin & Madras Curry | Radish & Seaweed | Celeriac & Curcuma

I liked the celeriac soup best, which had a very dense and exotic aroma. It was round and full of taste with just the perfect balance between buttery greatness and light acidity. The radish was fun and got a nice kick from the dried seaweed. The chicken skin was nice and crunchy, although it lacked of a certain kick – I couldn’t really make out the „madras curry“ in it.

Bread & Butter
Bread & Butter

After that a two in one sour dough bread (two darker and two lighter quarters) they get from one of Vienna’s best bakeries (Joseph), paired with fluffy butter with burned whey on top.

Duck liver & Beetroot
Duck liver & Beetroot

Generous slices of excellent duck liver were paired with beetroot in three consistencies: a sweeter gel, pieces of very long grilled beet and powder. Together with the pieces of brioche it was a very classic aroma profile, well executed.

Char & Rocket
Char & Rocket

Maybe my favorite dish this evening: A nice piece of perfectly prepared, juicy and top-fresh char, topped with chopped rocket, fried and salted scales and some (decent) caviar. All that was put on a very light sauce of rocket, extremely well balanced and with a lot of green aroma in it. Perfect.

Turbot & Spinach
Turbot & Spinach

This piece of turbot was cut from a big fish (7 kg), together with fresh spinach and beurre rouge. Very traditional, very straight. While my tail-piece was a bit too dry, my wife’s from a thicker part was juicy. I missed a bit some roast aromas on the fish, although the quality itself was good. The spinach and the beurre rouge were nice, playing with acidity and bitterness.
Simon Schubert served it with a 1988 Riesling Smaragd Achleiten by Freie Weingärtner Wachau, a really stunning Riesling with still a lot of vivid fruit and pleasent petrol notes.

Potato & Pumpkin

This one was great in it’s simpleness and my second favorite: A handwarm, buttery potato espuma was topped with a rich, immensely creamy pumpkin ice cream and some vanilla salt. The play of temperature and taste was a great pleasure.

Deer & Turnips
Deer & Turnips

Too late with the photo on this 🙂 A rare piece deer fillet of excellent quality was served with navettes (whole, purree), together with a sauce gibier (which we could not eat, since it contains blood) and fermented pepper corns.

Coffee & Vanilla
Coffee & Vanilla

Ice cream the second: Instead of a sorbet an iced moccachino was served. It was good, though I don’t like iced coffee that much.

Avocado & Nutella
Avocado & Nutella

Ice cream the third and the weirdest dish of the evening: pieces of (not really ripe) avocado with – you guess it – nutella ice cream and almonds. It tasted like…nutella ice cream. A guilty pleasure 🙂
It was paired with a Justino’s Madeira Malvasia 10yo, that gave the dish a lot of deepness.

Condensed milk & Basil
Condensed milk & Basil

Ice cream the fourth (it was quite cold back then and serving four ice creams almost in a row was maybe a bit too much): A sorbet of basil was put on top of creamy, rich and sweet condensed milk and finished with some drops of basil oil. At the bottom were browned pieces of milk from the condensation process and some brioche. A very nice and well balanced dessert.
With this a real gem was presented: A 2003 TBA Nouvelle Vague by Kracher. In this (actually bad) vintage, Kracher cut together all his sweet tip-wines and produced only one kind of TBA that turns out to be really nice after 15 years: Maybe lacking some acidity but a pleasure to drink.

Petit Fours
Petit Fours

The petit fours were nice and not too sweet: a ganache of milk chocolate, some iced kumquat with lavender and dark chocolate with amaranth.

We spent a very nice evening with good food and a wonderful wine pairing at aend. The focus on two central products for each dish with only a few other ingredients that support the protagonists was very appealing to me. The dishes were mostly very good with only a few flaws. The pricing is very self-conscious though and the only point that makes me think twice.

Visit: March 2018
Budget: 200€/person (including wine pairing)
Location: 7/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10

Französische Kinder ersticken nicht

Französische Kinder ersticken nicht

Ein Hinweis, der mich beim Auspacken jeder Playmobil-Packung auf’s Neue erheitert: Französische Kinder wissen offenbar, was sie essen können und was nicht. Denn der Hinweis, dass in Playmobil verschluckbare Kleinteile enthalten sind „ne concerne que les USA“ – er betrifft nur die USA 🙂

Paradiesische Ruhe

Paradiso Graberde
Paradiso Graberde

Wem wohl dieser morbide Produktname eingefallen ist? Besonders locker, nährstoffreich und ideal für Würmer und anderes Getier…

Sushi heaven: Hakobune in Tokyo

Maguro

During my stay in Japan in 2015, I was eager to enjoy high-end sushi. Of course I watched „Jiro – dreams of sushi“ and my crave for these wonderful bits and bites was fired by pics of high-end sushi-yas like Jiro, Saito or Yoshitake.

In reality it turned out REALLY difficult to get a reservation, since these restaurants usually do not accept reservations from abroad. And the hotel I’ve booked finally did not offer concierge service… After 10 calls directly to Japan I had to see that I would not get a reservation this way.

So I was pretty desperate and asked a fellow professor in Tokyo if he could help me. He was so nice to recommend me a sushi-ya with a good reputation. So I visited Sushi Hakobune in Ginza. For a foreigner without any knowledge of Japanese it was almost impossible to find, thanks to the internet I knew what entrance I had to look for…so I descended into the cellar.

Sushi Nihonshu Hakobune Ginza
Sushi Nihonshu Hakobune Ginza

The place has only 8 seats per night, one seating – so it is very intimate. Inside I did not take any photos out of respect to the other guests. You can see the interior here. I was welcomed by the chef, Mr. Sakamoto, himself, who spoke some english and was very friendly. Being the only foreigner in this intimate atmosphere felt kind of weird though. I went for the omakase (chef’s choice, approx. 120 euros) option and asked for sake.

Sushi chef Sakamoto
Sushi chef Sakamoto

It was incredibly fascinating watching the chef preparing each course carefully and skillfully. He handled huge and sharp blades and cut the fish like a surgeon. By his handling of the product you could see the level of attention. Every piece was stored in wooden boxes, completely dry and wrapped in some special cloth. His cutting boards as well as his clothes were flawlessly clean and dry. I have never seen a kitchen als clean and organised like this.

Every course was prepared and finished seperately – no fish or rice lying around and waiting to be used. After preparing and often finishing it with different sauces and glaces the chef put the course in front of me, often with a remark on what it was and how to eat it. This was highly enjoyable.

This wonderful experience consisted of a series of small dishes – from raw over marinated and grilled to rice-based, finishing with soup and egg.

Oyster
Oyster
Hirame - Flatfish
Hirame – Flatfish
Shrimps
Shrimps
Marinated baby fish
Marinated baby fish
Grilled fish
Grilled fish
Funny seaweed
Funny seaweed
Filled calamari
Filled calamari
Snapper (?)
Snapper (?)
Seabass (?)
Seabass (?)
Maguro
Maguro
O-toro
O-toro
Sardine
Sardine
White fish
White fish
Clam
Clam
Uni
Uni
Mini claws
Mini claws
Miso soup
Miso soup
Tamago
Tamago
Something I ate very quickly
Something I ate very quickly
Tuna maki
Tuna maki

The whole meal was wonderful. The fish topped any quality I’ve experienced here in europe. Though I’ve learned that the main difference to european sushi is the quality of the rice: Here it was shere perfection – temperature, color, transparency, texture and taste. Everything was right. Sakamoto-san uses quite a bit of wasabi for his sushi, so they are pretty spicy. I liked that twist, though sometimes it was on the edge of being too much.

I will never forget this sushi-experience, that set my personal benchmark for sushi – which is quite hard, since you don’t get that kind of quality around here.

The art of soba: Muto in Nihonbashi (Tokyo)

Soba

Sitting in my room in Tokyo last year, suddenly a desire striked me: I love soba and what could be a better place to taste those lovely noodles than Japan itself ?! So I was looking for a restaurant that served classic soba menus.

So I started to google around a bit and found a wonderful article about Muto Soba in Nihonbashi. Finding the small restaurant in „real life“ was trickier than I thought though. After walking around the block 3 times and not finding it, I googled the Kanji for the restaurant’s name and looked for that…which was more successful.

Muto soba-ya: Outside
Muto soba-ya: Outside
Muto soba-ya: Kanji
Muto soba-ya: Kanji

Muto is a very small place. I was received by a middle aged lady (I think it was the chef’s wife) who told me – a little bit scared that a stranger found his way here – that there is only a 5-course fixed menu. After accepting that she guided me to my table in a small room. Soon she thawed and was very friendly and tried hard to talk to me in english which was really sweet. I started with a beer.

Turnip soup
Turnip soup

The first greeting was a turnip soup, very dense though elegant and full of taste. It was simple, yet beautiful. After some time Mr. Muto came to my table and we talked for a while. He is not only a wonderful cook but a very kind and polite person.

Dumpling of soba dough filled with fatty pig in a clear broth
Dumpling of soba dough filled with fatty pig in a clear broth

The next course was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten: A bit of Mr. Muto’s raw soba dough which literally melted on the tongue and built a mellow ground for the intense, meaty filling. This taste bomb was balanced by some horseraddish and greens, that added complexity to the dish. Just wonderful.

Cured baby fish
Cured baby fish

In the meantime I changed to Sake. It went perfect with the small cured fish – they have the texture of toffee. Kind of chewy and a bit sweet, perfect with the clean taste of sake.

Tempura (fish and wild vegetables)
Tempura (fish and wild vegetables)

Then some tempura was served. There was some fish (I think it were sardines) and wild vegetables, I’ve never seen in my life. The fish was perfectly fresh and tasted clean, the vegetables were wonderfully green and had bitter notes. The highlight in this course was the perfect execution: Only an idea of dough surrounded the pieces, fried to wonderful crunchyness. Not a bit fatty or heavy – you wouldn’t believe that fried food can be this elegant. Together with the dip this was shere perfection.

Soba
Soba

Then the main course came: SOBA. Mister Muto serves soba seiro style, meaning that the cold noodles are presented on a bamboo tray next to the rest of the ingredients. And what should I say – the noodles were the shere idea of soba. Nutty, crunchy, earthy – the beauty of simplicity. Together with the incredibly intense sauce they were a wonderful meal. Again different raddishes gave additional complexity.

In the meantime two gentlemen had started eating opposite of me. I tried to eat the (rather long) noodles „european style“ as I’ve learned from my childhood on…making no noise. At some point the lady came to me, looked somehow pityful at me and said „no no no“. Looking back at her she said: „You have to make noise. Japanese style“ and showed me with gestures how to eat. This was maybe the most beautiful service experience ever 🙂 So I started so sip loudly. But compared to what the two gentlemen next to me did some minutes afterwards I was still…silent.

Dip sauce with soba cooking water
Dip sauce with soba cooking water

After finishing the soba themselves I was served a vessel with cooking water of soba noodles. The dip sauce together with the water were blended into a thick umami-bomb-soup. This soup, containing all the wonderful components of the main course, was everything toghether: A childhood meal, a warm soup on a cold day, the soup your mother gave you when you were sick, the meal you will have when being old. It was all together. Simple, pure beauty. This is the soup I will never ever forget.

Desert (red bean mousse with roasted nuts)
Desert (red bean mousse with roasted nuts)

The desert was very good too, nutty and light.

Visiting Muto soba was a wonderful experience. It was not only an unforgettable meal but also a very good experience of Japanese hospitality. When I left Mr. Muto greeted me, gave me his card (excusing that it is only in Japanese) and even shaked my hand – an act that I appreciated very much (normally Japanese people seem not to be comfortable with it). So thank you, Mr. Muto!

Vortrag auf der ICLA 2016: Grimm 2.0

Ich bin mittlerweile ziemlich süchtig nach Graphic Novels und Fernsehserien. Schön, wenn man das Angenehme mit dem Nützlichen verbinden kann 🙂

Im Rahme der dritten Tagung des Netzwerkes zu Hoher/Niederer Literatur darf ich im Rahmen der ICLA in Wien einen Vortrag beisteuern. Das Thema ist im Rahmen der Group Section 17252 – Hybridisierung literarischer Sprachen und Ausdrucksformen als Innovationsmodus (Chair: Franz Hintereder-Emde) eingebunden. Da ich leider nicht persönlich anwesend sein kann, danke ich Martina Zerovnik für das Vortragen meines Beitrages!

Unter dem Titel „Grimm 2.0 – Die Brüder Grimm in der Postmoderne“ spreche ich über die Transformation klassischer Märchenfiguren und -geschichten in Bill Willinghams Fables sowie Kitsis/Horowitz Once Upon a time.

Neue Veröffentlichung: Aufsatz zu Zentralbegriffen deutscher Identitätsbildung

Im November 2013 durfte ich an einer spannenden, interdisziplinären Konferenz zum Thema „Textuelle Historizität“ teilnehmen. So sah das damals aus:

Konferenz Bremen
Konferenz Bremen
Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten
Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten

Gut Ding braucht Weile und so wurden vor Kurzem die Beiträge der Konferenz in Buchform herausgebracht. Darin ist auch mein Beitrag zu „Volk“ und „Volkspoesie“ als Zentralbegriffe deutscher Identitätsbildung im 18. Jahrhundert enthalten.

Textuelle Historizität
Textuelle Historizität

Das Vollzitat des Beitrages lautet:
„Volkspoesie“ und „Volk“ als Zentralbegriffe deutscher Identitätsbildung im 18. Jahrhundert – Heidrun Kämper/Ingo H. Warnke/Daniel Schmidt-Brücken (Hg.): Textuelle Historizität. Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf das historische Apriori. DeGruyter Verlag: Berlin/Boston, 2016. S. 162-175.

Besten Dank an die Herausgeber für die tolle Unterstützung bei der Erstellung des Beitrages!