For years now it has been a nice tradition for me and my wife to celebrate private anniversaries in Austria’s most renowned restaurant, the Steirereck im Stadtpark. The restaurant has received a lot of praise and was elected the world 11th best restaurant by some water company in 2012. Whatever – we went there again.
The restaurant is situated in the Viennese Stadtpark (our small version of the central park), surrounded by trees and meadows. On entering we were friendly welcomed (often by the patron Mrs. Reitbauer) and taken to our table. The interior is source of a big dispute between visitors…I personally like the lighting, the weird ceiling with ceramic flowers and plates and the baroque chairs. Moreover, I find the chairs REALLY comfy 🙂
The service there is extraordinarily professional and friendly. They have a rather young team (with a lot of Germans…) that is unobtrusive, unpretentious and humorous. It is very cool to see during the evening how high the service level generally is. I also like the small cards that come with every course very much, explaining what you eat and how it was prepared. They help you to concentrate your taste on the different aspects of the dish and it’s preparation. But what I like most about the place is, that they got a small wagon for everything. There is a bread wagon, a tea wagon (with fresh herbs), an aperitive wagon, a booze wagon and last time they even brought a beautiful small gas cooker made of copper to prepare greek coffee at the table. And of course the feirce cheese wagon! But later about that.
Before ordering, we received three amuse bouches:
The „blossoms“ were different vegetables, thinly sliced and filled with creams or pickled – a beautifully crafted and fresh start in the evening. The cured ham with the dried melon was nice, especially the melon slice had an intense and unusual taste. The courgette was not my taste (and I kind of wiped it from my memory). Then Mrs. Reitbauer came and took our orders. I went for a 7 course menue with wine pairing. The couvert was amazing butter (sweet cream and basil!) with a choice of bread from the wagon (they have approx. 20 different breads):
Both, we love to eat butter and bread and the service is really cool, they bring you as much butter and bread as you wish without hesitation. Then we finally started with the menue: The first course was „Mountain Trout“.
The raw trout was incredibly tender and soft. The fresh cucumber and the sweet melon brought out different aspects of the fillet’s taste and were a beautiful antagonist in texture. The Borage added a refreshing and vegetal note. A perfect start!
This highly crafted slices of turnip really were something. Very taste with a beautiful consistency (soft, yet crunchy) were supported by the strong taste of the smoked goose liver. The sea-buckthorn juice gave the dish a nutty, sweet aspect that harmonized very well with the liver. A vegetarian masterpiece!
The Danube Salmon (Huchen in german) was prepared to the point. This was actually a very nice dish, but had some problem with the salt – mine had too few, my wife’s broccoli was oversalted. The black rice tasted great, mellow and full – countered by the fresh and green flavours. It was also nice to have different textures of broccoli in one dish.
Wow! Not only that this one was real eye-candy, it tasted amazing. The veal’s tongue was tender like a cloud. Shere perfection – there was the fruitiness of the plums and the sourness of the rhubarb and the fresh herbal taste of the nasturtium – just amazing.
Oh my god – I love their meat courses! The venison (Bambi!) was perfect, juicy and intense. The sweet corn was surprising – I actually don’t like corn, but the small „cake“ was super fluffy and tasty. The chanterelles and the apricots added…ah forget it. The meat was amazing (and a big chunk)!
By now we were quite full. As a refreshment a warm and moist towel in a horn bowl was brought (you remember the good old times when you got those in an airplane ?)…
Refreshed we went for the finish:
You can select a variety of approx 50 cheeses from the wagon. I always let the sommelier decide and just tell him what I like. In my case, I like very intense and strong cheese – as if you would bite right into an animal. And that’s what I’ve got. Pure poetry!
The dessert…well…was not my taste. I expected it to be sweet, but it was rather vegetal – not even fruity. The melasse added a slightly bitter taste to the crunchyness of the beets and the thinly sliced cherries.
Finally, we got some pralinés (beautifully arranged as jewellery, well there was some advertisment of a local jeweller involved) and a surprise mousse (anniversary, remember ?!) in the shape of a giant cocoa bean. We took those home – because by that time NOTHING fitted in any more:
As always – it was a great evening with amazing food in an amazing restaurant (go to the toilet, go to the toilet – it’s soooo cool). When we left it rained and a remarkably friendly young man working there accompanied us to the taxi, holding our umbrella and then giving it to us. Oh, I love this place so much 🙂 For 2 menues, 1 wine pairing and some extras (coffee, couvert, non-alcoholic aperitiv) we paid 350 Euros – which is TOTALLY worth it, since you get 4 hours of food experience in a beautiful place. You have to bring only the right company 🙂