Summer is long gone, but it’s good to have nice memories of sunny days and warm evenings when it’s cold and rainy outside. One of these memories is a late summer/early fall dinner at Meinrad Neunkirchner’s Gourmet Gasthaus Freyenstein.
Freyenstein is a modern interpretation of the traditional Viennese „Gasthaus“ (local tavern). The chef and owner, Neunkirchner, is well known for using local ingredients – especially wild herbs and salads. The restaurant itself is situated in a small street in Vienna’s 18th district.
The inside is very typical and old (lots of wood), but on warm days it’s amazing to sit in the garden – what we did.
The restaurant offers a fixed menu with 5 courses for 39 (now 43 – tendencial ascending) Euros, always serving a duet of 2 small dishes at one time. The wine menu is well priced and has nice bottles over the whole price range (I went for a very nice bottle of pinot gris from the vinery Lentsch). The service was medium – not unfriendly, but a little unattentive and a little bit unprofessional since they couldn’t answer questions to the products/herbs on the menue. The table setting (3.5 €) sole bread from the well known SlowBakery Kasses – nevertheless it was dry and relatively tasteless.
So we started into the menue with an amuse bouche:
The lime cream was quite refreshing, especially in combination with the fishyness of the roe. Nothing special about the salami though.
A nice first course that showed very well Neunkirchner’s strong side: The use of seldom and wild herbs. The tomato was average, but the herbs around it made it very aromatic and sophisticated. The risotto loaf was excellent, again given quiet herbal notes by the wild herbs. Here the duet perfectly made sense – the herbs built a bridge, the „main“ part on the other side had an interesting texture contrast.
The soup was good, clean and intense shellfish-taste and very nice notes of estragon. The chanterelles were nice, though the couscous was quite dry and tasteless, a bit of a disappointment. Here I couldn’t taste the connection between the two dishes.
I was quite hungry, so I forgot to take a picture of the next course: Signal crayfish with curry aromas, artichoke and peanut mayo // Pan fried sardine with russian cucumber (Lagergurke) and beetroot juice.
This was the high and the low point of the evening at one time. To start with the good – the sardine was very good, the intense fatty grill taste was very well countered by the freshness of the small cucumber cubes, given a hint of sweetness by the beetroot juice. Very well balanced dish! The fried crayfish tails on the other hand were terrible, tasting sluggish with no texture (my guess is cheap, frozen merchandise). The artichoke was too sour and the peanut mayo just gross. Weird combination.
I really love meat, really. But those two fellas here…were relatively tasteless. The lamb was ok, good texture – but the chicken was like paper. Everything around the meat was nice and well prepared though – I especially enjoyed the combination of rice, puree and the pimpinella herb with it’s slight anis notes.
The dessert variation was good. I especially liked the combination of sweet fruits and herbs – here Neunkirchner again scored with his core competence. The almond cake was delicious – reminded me of my mother’s 🙂
When we left, we had mixed feelings: I am not a glutton, but after those 5 tiny courses with almost no carbs I was HUNGRY. That had never happened to me before. And some of the dishes just didn’t work out – due to preparation of product quality. Moreover, the service didn’t seem to have it’s best day – between the courses were up to 45 minutes (!) of waiting (they seemed trying to synchronize the tables). On the other hand Freyenstein offers good value for money and the place is very nice, especially with the twilight coming over the garden. We paid 113 Euros (2 pax, couvert and 1 bottle of wine).