Still in love: Mraz & Sohn

Presentation of ingredients

Since my first visit at Mraz&Sohn many things have changed – but many have stayed the same. Inbetween it has become my favorite fine dining spot in Vienna and was awarded with a second Michelin star. Let me tell you a few words about it.

I came to love Markus Mraz‘ approach to cooking: Great products, sparkling creativity and a good portion of crazyness – always paired with relaxed service and a great wine pairing. Over the years the cooking evolved to more concentration, more simplification…and a bit less crazy ideas on the plate.

This has not only culminated in a second Michelin star, but also in a whole different concept: No more choices, just one menu and the promise of a delightful evening. This has been fostered by the fact that Markus Mraz now cooks together with his son Lukas. So no more water menu 🙂

In the beginning of the set menu (140 €, including water of choice) the ingredients are presented and explained:

Presentation of ingredients
Presentation of ingredients

The price information is hidden in an excellent fortune cookie – paper thin an crackling, flavored with soy sauce.

Fortune cookie
Fortune cookie

Then the journey begins:

Pea/Horseradish
Pea/Horseradish

An allusion to edamame. The peas are dusted with horseradish powder. You can taste their freshness and excellent quality, the radish gives a tickling kick.

Kombu/Avocado/Pumpkin seed oil
Kombu/Avocado/Pumpkin seed oil

A sandwich like combination, skillfully connecting Austria and Asia: A very comforting umami sensation hits the palate with this intense, tasteful, yet elegant snack.

Bread/Kombu butter/Leek
Bread/Kombu butter/Leek

The butter has been matured in kombu leaves, which gives it a more intense, cheeselike character. Together with the grilled leak and the rustic bread this is very pleasing.

Zucchini/Verbena/Sicilian almond
Zucchini/Verbena/Sicilian almond

One of the optic highlights of the evening: This very elegant, fragile dish connects perfectly fresh zucchini with an almost etheric verbena oil and a tatar razor clam with almond. The firm bite of the clam adds nice texture, while the almond milk connects the dots.

Tomato/Cherry
Tomato/Cherry

Again a very reduced dish with beautiful presentation: A perfect slice of tomate, filled with fermented cherries. The cherries add sweetness, chew and a smoky depth to the freshness of the tomato. Together with a well balanced vinaigrette another great vegetarian dish.

Eggs mushrooms/Kimchi/Thyme
Eggs mushrooms/Kimchi/Thyme

The small eggs mushrooms look like litte gems on the plate. They are firm to the bite and waxy on the inside, adding their warm, eggy, wooden notes to the dish. A kimchi based sauce puts it to a whole other level, setting it into an Asian context and adding some fermented spicy notes. The thyme oil brings it back into the wooden context. Simply great.

Crayfish/Sichuan/Fir tops
Crayfish/Sichuan/Fir tops

A very nice dish around crayfish. Unfortunately the product quality here is not perfect, the crayfish is soft and mealy. The sauce/soup is very light – with a wonderful combination of sichuan pepper and fir tops (!), evoking images of an Asian forest.

Deer/Umeboshi/Shiso
Deer/Umeboshi/Shiso

The meat course is a perfect example of the more simplistic, concentrated and Asian-inspired approach: A good piece of deer is topped with shiso leaves. The umeboshi jus puts it into another dimension though: The fruity, sour notes of the plum go perfectly well with the intense meaty flavor of the deer.

Brioche/Deer tongue/Elder/Truffle
Brioche/Deer tongue/Elder/Truffle

My absolute favorite of the evening and and a flashback to Frantzén’s french toast: A piece of buttery brioche, topped with smoked deer tongue and a lot of truffle. Pleasing, complex, comforting – just perfect and finger licking good.

Shaved elder ice cream with lovage
Shaved elder ice cream with lovage

As a refreshment some shaved elder ice cream with lovage oil is served. It is shaved with a Japanese Kakig?ri machine, a traditional way of preparing ice cream.

Cheese & bread
Cheese & bread

Some things stay the same: The excellent cheese and bread selection.

Ovomaltine
Ovomaltine

The first dessert is like the citation of a childhood memory. A creamy espuma is topped with a crunchy ovomaltine cake. Good, but not entirely my thing.

Mrazy's Eismarillenmochi & Chocolate
Mrazy’s Eismarillenmochi & Chocolate

At the end of the menu we had Eismarillenmochi – a fierce combination of mochi and the famous Viennese „Eismarillenknödel“ by Tichy (which translates ice cream apricot dumpling). A great fusion dessert – in the best sense of the word. We also got a very nice bar of chocolate as a compliment of the house for our wedding day.

Well, to sum it up…

Some things stay the same: The love for eclectic yet wonderful taste and texture combinations, the friendly and familial service, the interesting wine pairing. Some things are new: The inspiration by japanese taste worlds that now dominates the whole menu, the reduction to 2 or 3 components. I kind of miss the crazy eclecticism of the „old“ Mraz, while at the same time love the new more consequent approach. I hope they further focus on good products in order to avoid downers like the crayfish. In fall ’19 Lukas will bring in more ideas and I am thrilled to see where it goes. Besides that it is still my favorite adress in the hood.

Visit: July 2018
Michelin stars at time of visit: **
Budget: 200€/person (including water and one wine pairing)
Location: 7/10
Service: 7,5/10
Food: 8/10