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…
…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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)