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.

Restaurant Vincent Mark II: Same restaurant, new cook

Among Vienna’s fine dining scene, the Restaurant Vincent is one of the silent stars. The place exists for decades now and reflects nicely the evolution from a student’s restaurant to a high-class etablissement. Now patron Frank Gruber has hired a new cook – reason enough to go there again!

I’ve been to Vincent many times now, while young chef Peter Zintner was cooking there (see also this post). Zintner always played with experimental kitchen, audacious combinations and molecular elements. This was really fun – it often worked great but sometimes also not so great. Zintner changed direction, starting to cook at „Motto am Schiff“ and so a new cook was needed. Patron Frank Gruber hired one of Vienna’s enfant terribles, Peter Mayer, a cook who has changed workplaces a lot during the last years. Mayer is known for his temper, but also for his devotion to quality and great products. A cook, who has served his apprenticeship and presents elaborate dishes.

Some things have not changed at Vincent though, namely the friendly and very Viennese service by Frank Gruber and maitre Mario Raaber. Also the slightly chilly blonde waitress is still there 🙂

Inside: Still the same charming/weird/strange/funny interior

Inside: Still the same charming/weird/strange/funny interior

The inside is the same too, though I liked the pictues a bit more this time. And of course, the best-of-musical CD again 🙂 As covert they had some bread (nothing special) and butter (ok).

Cured zander, wasabi mayonnaise, citron

Cured zander, wasabi mayonnaise, citron

The amuse bouche was amazing, very distinct from Zintner’s molecular playground. A clearly arranged plate, with focus on the main ingredient. I liked the cured zander very much, it had the texture of glibbery bacon and a fatty, intense taste. Very clean, slightly fishy with distinct smoke notes and a hint of pepper. Great product! It came with a piece of citron that added a nice freshness. The wasabi mayonnaise was not necessary. For drinks, Mr. Raaber got us come champagne by Gimmonet, dry as a bone and very aromatic.

Ceviche of scottish salmon, turnips, salmon soup

Ceviche of scottish salmon, turnips, salmon soup

First course: This was presented as wild salmon, but given my expertise in fish, this was rather farmed one (due to meat structure and fat). Still – the quality was outstanding. For a ceviche the slices were quite thick, but this was actually nice since the salmon was rather raw. It was at the perfect temperature and literally melted on my tongue, setting free a pure and beautiful salmon aroma supported by a hint of lemon and wasabi. The turnips added a nice vegetal component and with their crunchiness also a good texture contrast. A highlight was the soup though, perfectly thick, mellow and nicely balanced. With this we had a Grüner Veltliner Federspiel by winery Sigl, with nice tobacco and flower notes.

Chestnut soup with black-pudding-ravioli

Chestnut soup with black-pudding-ravioli

Soup again 🙂 A beautiful chestnut soup was presented, with some black-pudding ravioli. Since I don’t eat black pudding (a religious thing), those were taken out. The soup was amazing, I love to cook chestnut soup myself – but this was even better than my own, very soft and creamy texture with nice notes of nutmeg, maybe a little cinnamon or clove. It was paired with a great Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg by the young winery Harm, that was quite massive with a lot of tropical notes – amazing.

Fillet of veal (from Upper Austria), semolina, purple haze carrot, broccoli, salad burnet

Fillet of veal (from Upper Austria), semolina, purple haze carrot, broccoli, salad burnet

The main course was maybe the best piece of veal, I’ve ever eaten. Again, very reduced to some main ingredients, very clear setting on the plate – very convincing. Intense, juicy meat – perfectly medium (low temp/sous vide) but not at all boring. It came with a semolina soufflé (OK) and some vegetables. The meat was paired with a perfect sauce – not this endlessly reduced juicy stuff, but the real deal: light, savory with a lot of taste. It had just the right balance between bitter, salty and sweet notes. The salad burnet was a rather unusual vegetable, with it’s intense green and bitterish taste it gave a nice variation. This course came with a 2008 Commodor red cuvee by Nittnaus, a very elegant and perfectly matured wine.

Curd and kumquat

Curd and kumquat

For pre-dessert, they had a light and fruity creation. Not really complicated, not really astonishing – but a nice intermezzo. The curd was solid, topped with a fruity and sweet gelée. The kumquat with it’s fruity bitterness was excellent though.

Tarte of Valrhona chocolate

Tarte of Valrhona chocolate

The actual dessert was a nice piece of Patisserie. A tarte with a semi-solid filling of Valrhona chocolate, topped by some fruits and white chocolate cream. A flawless classic, that tasted finger-licking good. It was paired with a PX sherry, in my view not the perfect match (port would have been better with this). But we also got one glass of 2006 Chardonnay Ruster Ausbruch Essenz by Feiler-Artinger – a flawless Sauternes from my home-province Burgenland.

Petit fours

Petit fours

As a small aftermath, we got some petit fours – especially the white one with white chocolate and orange filling was AMAZING.

All in all, it was another great evening at Restaurant Vincent – we spent a great time there, with great food. The new kitchen line is definetely worth visiting the place, as is the nice service. In total we paid 180€ (2 persons, including covert and wine pairing).

Crustacean Carnage

„Let’s eat every seafood with a shell on a single evening“ – this idea was born over some glasses of wine with my friends Babsi and Jan. Working at Vienna’s finest fish monger (Fisch-Gruber at the Naschmarkt) it was a nice challenge for me. And everything we ate 🙂

You know what they say: There’s nothing better than a homecooked meal. And we had a lot to cook, so we started off early, since we had bought so much food – and only four stomaches to fill. For starters we had some oysters:

Oysters - a lot of them (Fine de Claires, Belon, Gillardeau)

Oysters – a lot of them (Fine de Claires, Belon, Gillardeau)

The wild, fresh and salty Fine de Claires from Holland; the meaty, mild and nutty Spéciale Gillardeaus from France; and of course some small taste-bombs – crunchy with a hint of copper, Belons from France. Babsi brought some yuzu-soy-sauce, which was a great addition to the oysters and gave them a fresh touch. I went for a beer pairing, a special edition porter – not such a good idea, since this one had too much coffee notes. Good old guiness would have been better….

Sea scallop, mushrooms, lemon

Sea scallop, mushrooms, lemon

As a next course we prepared some sea scallops, a recipy we borrowed from amazing Kuishimbo. This one is very easy to prepare at home – all you need is a blowtorch. We shortly fried the (king oyster) mushrooms in a pan and added some parsley. The raw sea scallops were arranged on a plate and bronzed with the blowtorch – cooking them only half through, which gives you a great taste experience (firm on the upside, waxy on the downside). Then we added the mushrooms and some lemon slices. Again great with yuzu-sauce. The pairing was an amazing flamish oak-aged red ale, Duchesse de Bourgogne, that brought some lambic-beer notes (a nice sourness), notes of citrus fruit and of course soft wood.

Razor clams

Razor clams

Next stop: razor clams. They are really fun – if you know what I mean 🙂 Since Gruber had none, I bought them somewhere else and was disappointed – they had some sand in it. We pan-fried them quickly and added some parsley and olive oil. The firm and aromatic clam-meat was nice!

Büsum shrimps (grey shrimps)

Büsum shrimps (grey shrimps)

A quick and tasty intermezzo: Brown sand shrimps (crangon crangon) from North Germany. We added some lemon juice, olive oil, dill, salt/pepper. You can also do this with creme-fraiche, it’s a juicy and tasty snack – to die for with fresh baguette or toast. For drinks we had proceeded to a Chardonnay (Morillon in Styria) by the winery Gross. A dense and elegant wine with wood, tobacco, fresh grass, some lemon and tropical fruits in the background.

Crayfish - before and after cooking

Crayfish – before and after cooking

From here on it got messy… Living crayfish, the good stuff – wild caught and living. In the afternoon I played a little bit with them and one pinched my finger. Now it was time to get even. It’s very easy to prepare them: Bring water to the boil, crayfish in, boil again and then close heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and you’re done.

A lot of crayfish, actually

A lot of crayfish, actually

We enjoyed our crayfish pure, as they are. To be honest, they haven’t that much taste… The intriguing part is, that you have the consistency of a good shrimp with absolutely clean and pure taste. They went well with some japanese high-fat-mayo though 😉 With the crayfish and the following course we had an excellent Sauvignon Blanc by Domaine Ciringa, a massive and dense wine with great acidity, nice herbal notes and intense fruit.

Argentinian prawns

Argentinian prawns

No crustacean carnage without prawns. These „Camarones“ from Argentina have excellent quality, with medium-soft and very aromatic meat. A real delight! We just pan-fried them.

Kamtchatka King Crab claws

Kamtchatka King Crab claws

Together with the prawns we had some crab meat. The best comes from Kamtchatka King Crabs – the claws come already half peeled and precooked, so you just have to warm them up. The reward is firm, yet fluffy and tasty meat. Again godful with japanese mayo 🙂

Me and my lobster-homies

Me and my lobster-homies

Next level: lobster. And you see – the more wine you drink, the stupider photos you get 🙂 Those two boys are european lobsters (blue ones). One of them had a lot of eggs we collected prior to cooking.

Lobster got angry and reddish

Lobster got angry and reddish

You basically cook them the same way we did it with the crayfish…

Also some spiny lobster (USA) was involved

Also some spiny lobster (USA) was involved

For this course we had also a whole, frozen spiny lobster (from the US)….

Lobster meat and lobster caviar

Lobster meat and lobster caviar

The lobster caviar was terrible, it was like eating bad oil, no taste (not even fishy) but immensely fat. The lobster on the other hand was (after we got it out of his shell) a revelation: Cooked to the point, pure and clean meat with a subtle and gentle crustacean taste. Best pure or with this feirce japanese mayonnaise again. The spiny lobster wasn’t that good – it had been too long in my freezer and this distinct „freezer“-taste. And the meat had the typical texture of frozen crustacea, like mashed potatoes. With the lobster we had a very distinct Chardonnay, a natural wine by Andreas Tscheppe from Styra. Difficult to approach (though from 2010)…a lot of acidity but hardly fruit. Rather a disappointment.

Hand made linguine with morels and peas

Hand made linguine with morels and peas

Until now we’ve had an immense amount of proteine. To help our bodies deal with that, we went for some noodles. Logical course of action after 7 courses. We had bought some amazing fresh, handmade linguine by Pasta e Basta. They were served with a light sauce of morels, peas and cream. AMAZING! With the pasta we had a great Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy, a very elegant wine with flowers and mandarins in the nose and a very silky texture on the tongue, that fitted great with the morels. A great high point to our carnage!

Fish has to swim!

Fish has to swim!

Here again our wine/beer pairing.

Epilogue: Making crustacean stock

Epilogue: Making crustacean stock

After dinner the real work started, since we made a stock out of the leftovers. We had a lot of shells, two lobster bodies and some prawn stuff. So we put all that in a pan, roasted it a bit and then cooked approx 1 hour it with water and some herbs. After that we got out the shells. Then it was reduced over several hours to 3 liters of liquid. The outcome was an amazing stock, great for risotto and the like. Our flat smelled like a fish monger for weeks though 🙂

A great evening, with great company – I hope you got inspired at some point.

Ni-Hao: Welcome to Sichuan!

Usually Chinese restaurants are full of cheesy kitsch and serve a very European version of Asian food, overloaded with glutamte and artificial flavors. Fortunately there are exceptions like the No. 27 Restaurant.

The name of the restaurant comes – hello creativity! – from the house number. It prides itself to serve original asian food, with a focus on Sichuan kitchen. Well, I’ve never been in Sichuan and so can’t really compare whether it is authentic or not, but still: My taste buds are intact 🙂 From outside it looks like every other restaurant in the area. Inside it is refreshingly minimalisitc. No kitsch, no red dragons, no weird music.

Inside

I especially liked the big round tables with the rotating plate in the middle, what makes sharing easier. The personnel is very friendly and modest, very nice people. We first tried some starters:

Fried green chili pepper in spicy pepper sauce

Fried green chili pepper in spicy pepper sauce

This was just amazing! The green peppers were first very fruity on the tongue and then exploded like glass on the palate. The pepper sauce added a very hot and dense aroma to the more „green“ notes of the chilis. Very hot, very spicy – but it didn’t burn your throat for long, after some seconds just the excellent taste stayed.

Dim sum with shrimps and wild garlic

Dim sum with shrimps and wild garlic

They also offer a wide variety of dim sum. These were just great, not at all slimy but just perfectly steamed. The inside had shrimps and wild garlic, a very pleasant combination.

Beef carpaccio and tripe in a spicy Sichuan-sauce, Sweet-sour-spicy seaweed-salad

Beef carpaccio and tripe in a spicy Sichuan-sauce, Sweet-sour-spicy seaweed-salad

Two great choices for sald: The beef salad was just amazing – the different textures of meat and tripe added up to a great mouthfeel. Together with this very taste sauce it was a beautiful experience. The seaweed salad had this weird combination of sweet, sour and spicy at the same time. No comparison to ready-to-eat wakame, it was very complex in taste and crunchy in texture. Nice!

Crispy chicken with chillies and Sichuan pepper

Crispy chicken with chillies and Sichuan pepper

This turned out to be quite different from what I had expected: I thought the chicken would be in greater bits…finally it was tiny, tiny fried shreds of chicken. They were very crunchy, fatty bits of something – you wouldn’t recognise them as meat after all. They were mixed with a HUGE (!) amount of small fried chillies and different peppers. Eaten with rice it is a rather dry, a little bit oily way of preparation. But I was astonished by the beautiful taste. Again the chilis exploded in my mouth, this time together with the aromatic taste of the different Sichuan peppers, that were not hot but very complex in their taste. A very interesting and nice dish. I couldn’t eat everything up and took the rest with me – which I ate with noodles the other day (even better than with rice!).

Fried beef with pak-choi and oyster sauce

Fried beef with pak-choi and oyster sauce

A rather conventional dish, the beef was good though (maybe a bit too hard), the oyster sauce added a pleasent umami-note. Nice but not more.

Fried lamb with cumin

Fried lamb with cumin

This one was quite good, again it was a „dry“ preparation – but the cumin came out quite well and added up very pleasant with the lamb’s meat. Surprisingly the rucola with it’s black pepper notes fittet quite well.

Mango pudding

Mango pudding

Finally some Chinese-restaurant-standard: The mango pudding 🙂 This one was quite nice though…

No 27 Restaurant offers a lot of other offal dishes and a wide variety of Sichuan-style dishes that seem definetely worth trying. The prices are definetely higher than in your „normal“ Chinese place next door, but the portions are quite big and most of the things tasted very unusual and nice. For 2 Persons you should calculate 40€ including drinks.

An Istrian enclave in Vienna – Restaurant Sopile

Croatia is well known for it’s delicacies – from wine, over wonderful prsut up to fish and olive oil. Vienna has a large Croatian population – so why not try something beyond Cevapi ?! So we visited the small, family-owned restaurant Sopile that holds up high Istrian tradition and kitchen in Vienna for many years now.

The restaurant is situated in Vienna’s 4th district, very near to the city center. It is run by Ivo Surlina-Poropat and his family.

Outside

Outside

The inside looks rather old and a bit dark, but it has a very nice touch from yesterday. Sopile is specialized on fresh fish (which they get from a great supplier from Italy), and homemade pasta – both Istrian classics. Coming here means first of all to take a lot of time for your dinner. When we visited the restaurant, only the chef’s wife and another waiter (son?) were serving all the tables, which meant a lot of delay until we got to order our drinks. They were friendly, but rather decelerated 🙂 We asked for a wine recommendation and got the answer that „all of them are good“. Well…ok.

We started with homemade bread, that was very nice and took a selection of starters:

Homemade bread

Homemade bread

Tripe with polenta

Tripe with polenta

A very nice starter and a huge portion. The polenta was creamy and mellow, giving a nice contrast to the firm texture of the tripe. The tripe itself tasted really excellent, very clean and was nicely seasoned.

Tepid salad of calamari and fennel

Tepid salad of calamari and fennel

One of my favorites this evening: Tender tepid calamari together with fennel and a wonderful marinade of olive oil and lemon – that was pure summer on a plate!

Sardine-fillets marinated in red wine, red onion, rosemary and laurel

Sardine-fillets marinated in red wine, red onion, rosemary and laurel

Also very nice, the fatty fillets of the sardine got a nice and heavy touch from the red vine (there was some vinegar involved too…). The rosemary and laurel fitted nice with this intense taste.

Stock fish spread

Stock fish spread

Nice, clean taste of stock fish – very fluffy vor a spread, with a perfect touch of salt. Toghether with the Istrian olive oil a real delicacy!

After this great start we had some entrements,. The time between the courses was quite substancial, so it was nice to have good company 🙂

Tomato soup with rice and cheese

Tomato soup with rice and cheese

A beautiful, thick and intense tomato soup – definetely homemade with a wonderful balance of sweetness and acidity. While the presentation was rather old-school, the cheese fitted very nice with the soup!

Homemade tagliatelle with minced beef

Homemade tagliatelle with minced beef

From my last visit some years ago, i remembered those a little bit more sensational. Still, they were great: Homemade tagliatelle with beef and again the croatian version of parmesan. The pasta was just perfect and tasty, for the sauce I would have preferred more rosemary and maybe a hint more tomato.

Fillets of mackerel grilled with laurel, eggplant spread and potatos with tomato

Fillets of mackerel grilled with laurel, eggplant spread and potatos with tomato

A sopile classic: Fresh fillets of mackerel, perfectly grilled and aromatized with laurel and garlic. The mackerel skin was amazingly good and the juicy meat had the pleasent smell of the spices. This fitted perfectly with the eggplant spread (fresh, with a smoky aftertaste). Just the one little potato on the side craved for some company…

Lamb-salad with shallots and lamb jus

Lamb-salad with shallots and lamb jus

An unexpected high point of the evening: This wonderful lamb salad had just everything – a huge portion of juicy, fatty, wonderful lamb meat together with perfectly marinated shallots who gave a fresh touch. On the side some wild herbs for a green twist. A great dish!

Homemade pasta with sepia and tomato sauce

Homemade pasta with sepia and tomato sauce

And finally again some pasta: This time classic noodles with sepia and tomato. I liked those actually a little bit more than the ones with meat, they were jucier and the grilled sepia tasted just amazing – it had bite, thogh being very soft and tender.

Dessert surprise

Dessert surprise

Since I didn’t like desert that much on my last visit and we were full anyway, we skipped the desert this time. As a surprise we got some short pastry, that was not too sweet but very tasty.

Sopile offers great homemade food, in a vintage-family atmosphere. I would rather go for the starters and seafood there. Bring some time and don’t expect a lot of service, but you will get more than decent food and big portions. Altogether we paid approx. 35€ per person including one nice bottle of wine.

Charascho! Dine georgian style at Satrapezo! Dawai!

Since I had a lot of students from Georgia, who praised Georgian kitchen as very cunning, I was eager to taste this savoury, delicious food from the east. The relatively new restaurant Satrapezo gave me the opportunity.

The restaurant’s interior is an estern version of high class – fake leather chairs, heavy white tablecloths, the toilet all in Joop! and waiters in black and white. On our visits the restaurant was always full with Russian families, enjoying themselves – seems to be a good sign. The waiters were very friendly and helpful, explaining the dishes and recommending drinks („try this water, it’s from Georgia and unique“). Satrapezo offers a wide selection of Georgian food and wines, including Qvevri amphora wines. Of course there is also Roederer Crystal for those who want to show 🙂

Interior

Interior

The Georgian water tasted like…water, but the recommended wine was nice. The personnel serves with white gloves, wine is poured through a sophisticated filter for ventilation purposes. Well, everything a bit too much – but anyway. Georgian cuisine offers a great variety of starters – so we took the mixed plate:

Mixed starters

Mixed starters

What shall I say ? Amazing – esepcially the grilled aubergine with walnut cream was very good, also the spinach with almonds and the beetroot. The dark and intense bean-salad with subtle herbs was beautiful too. The aubergine with cream cheese was not so my thing. A great starter variation for 9.3€ !

Khachapuri-Imeruli

Khachapuri-Imeruli

A classic, as I’m told: A big pita-like bread is filled with salty, creamy cheese. Sounds not like much, but is in fact amazing. The toasted aroma of the bread blends perfectly with the melty and intense taste of the cheese. Awesome, though maybe not the right food to lose weight. They also offer it topped with more cheese and an egg.

Khinkali

Khinkali

Khinkali seem to be the Georgian version of Dim-Sum. They also taste similar, the dough is very soft, a bit chewy and watery. Inside was minced beef with herbs, which tasted good. Overall I liked the Asian version of this a bit more…

Megruli Khartscho

Megruli Khartscho

Georgian kitchen uses a lot of nuts and I go nuts for nuts. Good thing! This „megruli khartscho“ is a beef stew in walnut sauce, which was really great. I loved the suble nutty taste, combined with a mellow sauce and tender beef. Great!

Mixed grill

Mixed grill

For those who can’t get enough this mixed grill could be right: Served georgian style on a weird rack was a whole mountain of meat with vegetables and potatos. The dips were not good, convenience stuff. The vegetables were ok and seemed to be freshly grilled. The meat was a bit disappointing: It was really a lot, but it kind of lacked taste. Maybe it was not grilled sharp enough or they spared with spices – but it lacked a certain something.

Dessert surprise

Dessert surprise

As we payed we got this nice dessert surprise of strawberries (in winter ?) and whipped cream. A nice (and tasty) gesture anyway.

Satrapezo is definetely worth a visit. You should calculate approx. 40€ for 2 persons and go for starters and stews, they are really amazing there. Dawai, dawai!

A new burger in town – Burger De Ville@25hours hotel

A decent burger is as hard to find as it is a true feast for all the senses. Forget all the bull about being unhealthy, having too much meat and the like. It’s burgers ! After Berlin city, also Vienna has a new burger place by 25hours hotel – the Burger de Ville. In the media appraised as „Berlin’s best burgers“ I was of course waiting for something special.

The burgers are sold out of an vintage, american-style trailer. Shiny and polished it is placed on a nice and fairly quiet spot in the city center, right next to the 25hours hotel. It is the second franchise, and as it seems more are planned. In front of the trailer are some benches, but as the weather get’s nicer the meadow invites you to chill out on the grass a bit.

Burger De Ville trailer

Burger De Ville trailer

The place is nice. The service (all germans) is very relaxed – sometimes too relaxed to realize you, even if there is no crowd there. They advertise to have 100% angus beef, which seems to be of german origin. The burgers are offered in single/double size, as sides there are fries (salted/parmesan-rosemary/garlic-parsley) and some sauces.

Single BBQ burger, sauce and jalapenos, fries with parmesan cheese

Single BBQ burger, sauce and jalapenos, fries with parmesan cheese

The presentation is very nice, the food is served on wooden platters and looks delicious. First impression: The burger (single) is VERY small. The bread is definetely better than standard „McDonalds“ bread, but you taste the corn flour a lot and it is also a little on the dusty side. The meat patty is very thin (approx. 8mm), it tastes good – very meaty with a nice maillard-touch, though it was also quite dry both times I tried it. The first one was a BBQ-Burger, which had a really good sauce inside. The fries were OK, though a more salty and intense cheese would have been great (like greek kefalotyri). The chili mayonnaise was not hot and boring convenience.

Single classic cheeseburger

Single classic cheeseburger

My second try was a single cheeseburger. Made with Emmental, it lacked some kind of spicyness and the cheese was not „cheesy“ enough. Again the patty was very thin and on the dry side.

The single burgers are between 4.4 and 5.3 per piece (calculate 10€ for a whole menue) – but even together with fries they won’t make you full! I would recommend a try – if you are not really hungry go there, grab a burger and enjoy the sun. But I’m afraid I won’t become a regular there…

Konichiwa at Kuishimbo

Only a few nations in the world are as obsessed with quality food as the Japanese. In Austria „japanese restaurants“ are mostly bad sushi bars run by Chinese people. So time for some real deal: A visit at the tiny Kuishimbo!

The Vienna Naschmarkt is a quite touristy area with a lot of mediocre shops and restaurants. But at the far end near Kettenbrückengasse, right at the front of the beautiful Majolikahaus you find a tiny entrance with a few chairs outside.

Outside

Outside

To sit outside for lunch you have to be quick – it starts at 12:00 sharp. Inside there are a few chairs with wall-view. On the walls though, you find the extensive menue (mostly in japanese, with some german and english hints). The restaurant is run by an immensly friendly and nice japanese family.

Inside

Inside

There is a lot of beautiful starters to enjoy. For example:

Silk tofu, edamame, seaweed salad

Silk tofu, edamame, seaweed salad

The silk tofu is amazing, it melts on your tongue with it’s milky and creamy but amazingly fluffy texture. It comes with a thick and intense sauce. The edamame are a standard, very fresh and green. Then we also had two kinds of seaweed salad – the left with strong notes of umami, iodine and sea. The right salad was more crunchy, with nice nutty accents of sesame.

Kimchi, Maki

Kimchi, Maki

Very nice Kimchi, very spicy. The Maki were quite good (maybe not THE thing to go for here, but still solid), the rice being not too hard neither too soft.

Soup with udon noodles and beef

Soup with udon noodles and beef

One of my favorites: They have soups with udon noodles and different additions (vegetables, meat). The soup was very taste, a great experience to have the different taste sensations of fresh vegetables, tender meat and those weird noodles.

Fermented soy beans, scallops brûlées with king oyster mushrooms

Fermented soy beans, scallops brûlées with king oyster mushrooms

Fermented soy beans are really something. They smell like cheesy feet and they also kind of taste like cheesy feet. The even look cheesy, literally. Not for everyday – but definetely worth trying. Below another favorite of mine, that I’ve already made at home: A carpaccio of king oyster mushrooms (or porcini), sea scallop and lemon. The scallops were quickly burnt with a blowtorch and then arranged with the other ingredients. Very basic, very beautiful: The mushrooms and the scallops offer a nice contrast of taste and texture.

Curry croquette

Curry croquette

Weird to have something like this at a Japanese restaurant. But actually very nice. Inside seemend to be some potato-based curry.

Half cooked salmon with rice and wakame

Half cooked salmon with rice and wakame

And finally the main course: Again they used the blowtorch to burn small fillets of salmon from one side. The so half cooked fish is placed on a bowl of rice, sprinkled with some seaweed and served with some wakame salad. Easy but effectful. Sprinkled with some soy sauce this is just a wonderful dish!

Kuishimbo is definetely a place to visit, they also have some crazy japanese soft-drinks and very nice tea. We paid approx. 40-50€ for 2 persons. For a quick bite not cheap, but you enjoy amazing food with high quality ingredients, unique taste and of course genuine japanese hospitality.

PS: Thanks again to the one and only Babsi for this tip!

Yesterday’s glory: Wini Brugger’s Indochine21

During this year’s Nespresso Gourmet Weeks I visited Wini Brugger’s Indochine 21 that had been on my bucket list for quite a long time. Brugger was awarded chef of the year 2006/07 and was incredibly successful in the mid 2000s.

The restaurant is situated on Vienna’s Ringstraße. On entering nobody was there to welcome us or to take our coats, so we had to wait some time until Mr. Brugger himself came over from a table, where he was drinking and chatting with friends, and helped us. The restaurant itself is decorated in an asia-fusion style which was not so much my taste:

Inside

Inside

We went for the fixed menue (3 courses, 24€). The service was friendly, but not really attentive altough the restaurant was almost empty. We started off with the couvert (3.5 €):

Couvert

Couvert

Well…there was some rather dry vegetable sticks, peanuts, wasabi mayo, crab chips and bread (?!). Nothing special, the mayo was good though.

Wakame seaweed salad with salmon sashimi and ingwer-chili-dip

Wakame seaweed salad with salmon sashimi and ingwer-chili-dip

First of all: I HATE WAKAME. At least the convenience shit they served here – this is full of artificial colors, aromas and preservants. The Wakame was topped with some salmon that was not fatty enough for sashimi and therefore dry and tasteless. The sauces were quite good though, especially the light nutty one. Quite a disappointing start.

Winter vegetable soup with tamarind and thai basil

Winter vegetable soup with tamarind and thai basil

The soup was ok, a dense and sweet-sour soup with fresh, crunchy vegetables and topped with some thai basil. Solid.

Deep fried cod with jungle curry and sezuan pepper

Deep fried cod with jungle curry and sezuan pepper

This was a joke: The cod was clearly old, though it was presented as „fish of the day“ and it tasted sluggish like old deep-frying oil. Moreover it was bedded on – guess what – Wakame again ! The curry below was relatively tasteless.

Stir fry organic duck from the wok with five spices and ginseng

Stir fry organic duck from the wok with five spices and ginseng

The high point (in a relative sense, tough) of the evening was this duck, that was glaced with an extremely thick, dark and very sweet sauce. The duck meat looked more like minced rests than real stir-fry meat, but was tasty and juicy. The „salad“ was again a joke – vinegar all over and the rice was completely tasteless.

Caramelized "wedding" banana pudding

Caramelized „wedding“ banana pudding

What shall I say…yes, there was banana in it. Yes it tasted like pudding. Yes, there was a burnt layer of caramel. No, it was not really nice. And no, the raspberry sauce didn’t fit in.

To be honest, I don’t have a clue where this restaurant got it’s fame from! It is kind of suspicious too, if the head chef is drinking with his friends all evening long and not even one time visits the kitchen. Suppose my food has been cooked and inspected by underpaid Vietnamese kitchen slaves. Maybe it was the „cheap“ calculated menue for Nespresso but they were cutting back extremely on product quality and on preparation. We paid 70€ including drinks – but this was really lost money!

What’s that Kosta ?

If a restaurant opens in March and is already praised as „opening of the year“ it’s kind of weird. Greek-styrian chef Konstantin Filippou has opened a new restaurant in Vienna and received frenetic praise from all around. Remembering well his cooking from the former Novelli, why not go there and see for myself ?

The restaurant is situated in a not so mondane corner for Vienna’s first district. From outside it looks very reduced (indeed so reduced, that I forgot to take a picture). We entered the restaurant – to be confronted with the first disenchantment of the evening: Though we’ve made a confirmed reservation via email, they forgot to book our table. No problem we waited (normally, I would expect to get some aperitive on the house now)…and were given a rather improvised table in the side room, where a big party of hot-shot-gastronomy-blog-supercool-persons hung out their noisy coolness. Well, so nothing about the straight, reduced „temple“ of a main room, where you can see into the kitchen. Whatever.

The service was rather stressed (one waiter for the whole room), so it took quite some time ‚til we could order. There are two menues with up to six courses (75/85 €) and a wine pairing for 49 €. Coming very hungry was a mistake – until the couvert was served a lot of time passed, and the couvert itself (3.5€) turned out as a tiny piece of butter and one (1!) piece of bread per person. The malt bread was actually good, but it was quite annoying during the evening to always have to reorder bread. We shared menue one and two – so for every course there will me two different plates described. I also took the wine pairing.

We started off with some amuse bouches:

Amuse bouche: Stockfish spread, potato, trout tartar

Amuse bouche: Stockfish spread, potato, trout tartar

The stockfish spread was nice, very salty, intense and a bit smoky. The potato was a joke (sorry) – I mean, it was a potato with a slice of raddish on top. The trout tartar was quite neutral (I suppose that’s good, talking of raw fish).

The concept of the menue is to offer always two plates at the same time, giving a variation on one topic or main ingredient.

M1: Fine de claire oyster, trout, alga, cucumber, rice-cream

M1: Fine de claire oyster, trout, alga, cucumber, rice-cream

M2: Duck liver parfait, tongue, pea, pear

M2: Duck liver parfait, tongue, pea, pear

M1 started with oysters: The one on the right side was quite nice, wrapped into cucumber – the fresh, watery taste of the cucumber was a nice contrast to the intense saltiness. The trout on the right side was a bit too subtle for the umami-salt attack.

The first course of M2 was centered around duck liver. The cubes were filled with duck liver parfait and pear mousse. A nice combination, though the fruit dominated vey much. On the right side there was a slice of tongue (soft, nice) combined with duck liver and peas – which was quite good.

M1: Artichoke, chervil tuber, pata negra, pecorino

M1: Artichoke, chervil tuber, pata negra, pecorino

M2: Grey mullet, peanut, kohlrabi, brioche

M2: Grey mullet, peanut, kohlrabi, brioche

A very nice combination of vegetal aromas and intense, meaty taste. The creamy artichoke fittet very well with the pata negra and the chervil slices built a nice texture contrast. One of the highlights of the evening.

The (tiny piece) of grey mullet was nicely fried, with a perfect crispy skin and some peanut/cauliflower on top and a peanut sauce around. On the right side some tartar of grey mullet was wrapped into kohlrabi leaves, which was quite neutral in taste. But the peanut butter on top was terrible and kicked down all the other aromas on the plate.

M1: Escargot, marrow, beetroot, lovage

M1: Escargot, marrow, beetroot, lovage

M2: Pork belly, onion, egg, eel, sorrel, barley

M2: Pork belly, onion, egg, eel, sorrel, barley

This was unfortunately a mess: The fried escargots tasted like old oil, which ruined the whole dish. A shame, because the bread cream and the beet root would have gone quite nice with them – and the fried marrow of course too.

A little bit of everything here for M2: The pork belly was cut very thin and nice. The jus with vegetables was quite good, not too intense. The different kinds and preparations of onions gave the dish a nice twist. But the eel on top was a little bit too much in my view. The egg was a nice addition though.

M1: Poached mackerel, horseraddish, topinambour, may turnip, dill oil

M1: Poached mackerel, horseraddish, topinambour, may turnip, dill oil

M2: Ray, calf's head, paprika

M2: Ray, calf’s head, paprika

A vey minimalistic dish, with a lot of potential: The young mackerel was perfectly poached, soft and juicy. But unfortunately it had a very bitter taste that even intensified in the aftertaste (again, maybe poor product quality). A shame.

I honestly had to ask the waiter where the calf’s head was hidden – because there was nothing to taste. Solution: It was under the fat slice of marinated and grilled paprika (no wonder, I couldn’t taste it). The ray was grilled but had a certain bitter aftertaste, which points me toward poor product quality.

M1: Rabbit, octopus, pomme maxime, black salsify, celery, olive crocant, juniper

M1: Rabbit, octopus, pomme maxime, black salsify, celery, olive crocant, juniper

M2: Pigeon, confit leg, quince, cauliflower, pigeon liver cream, sherry

M2: Pigeon, confit leg, quince, cauliflower, pigeon liver cream, sherry

Meat number 1 ! The rabbit was wonderfully cooked and very tender, contrasted by a crunchy piece of octopus topped with olive crocant. A very nice and balanced dish.

Meat number 2 ! The meat was very well prepared – both the confit leg and the fillet were prepared to the point. The leg was very juicy and tasty. The fillet was good too, but had a giant tendon in the middle which was a downer. The cauliflower purree with the sherry jus were nice. The cigar on the right was rather tasteless.

M1: Apple-rhubarb, salted almond ice-cream, honey, apple donut

M1: Apple-rhubarb, salted almond ice-cream, honey, apple donut

M2: Chocolate, sour cherry, malt, beer ice cream, crumble

M2: Chocolate, sour cherry, malt, beer ice cream, crumble

Well…dessert. The apple dessert war quite nice. The chocolate one was sweet, and there was some berry. But not balanced, not in an interesting way – rather blunt. The beer ice cream with crumble one the other hand was very good.

All evening long the plates were brought to the table but not really explained, there seemed to be no time for that. The wine pairing was quite a disappointment: We never saw the sommelier all evening long, the waiter poured our glasses in an arbitrary timeframe (15 minutes before the food arrived up to 10 minutes after the course arrived), sometimes even forgot to do so. Some of the wines were incredibly young and not drinkable (Assyrtiko 2012, when so young it smells like a toilet on a sunny day), others were quite nice but would have gained through ressourceful explanation.

As we asked for the bill, we had to wait again quite a long time – so that we got up. After paying, as a last minute present some cookies were presented to us:

Cookies

Cookies

After all, it was a rather disappointing experience. The dishes had a lot of potential that was not met – due to different reasons. The preparation of the dishes was good, but sometimes they just lacked of a certain something. The service was in our case insufficient. On top, the portions were very small (even with rather cheap ingredients like grey mullet) – we left hungry and were lucky to find cheese at home.