What better way to spend a June weekend than heading to a sunny European city known for its beautiful architecture, musical history and of course the fantastic Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt. The food, however was not one of the many reasons I wanted to go. schnitzel and sauerkraut are not things that I was particularly excited to eat. I can say with certainty that Austrian cuisine on the whole is not for me, apple strudel aside!
The same cannot be said for the now 2 Michelin starred Mraz and Sohn which truly was one of the best meals I have had in my life, definitely top 5. The restaurant itself was modern and sleek with clean lines and a neutral metallic colour scheme. The staff were friendly and welcoming, which is the first hint of decent hospitality we had received in Vienna. We were given the chefs table for no extra charge which is unheard of, a very good start to the evening. We started with a glass of champagne- there was no drinks list which meant no prices, so we hoped it wouldn’t be extortionate! It was delicious Champagne- we later found out on the bill it was Bollinger and I’m glad it was delicious, so it should be at 29 euros a glass. We were then brought a couple of “greetings” from the kitchen which were delicious and presented prettily (see below).
Then we were shown the menu which wasn’t in fact a menu but 3 choices of 4, 6 and 9 courses. We chose 6, which actually ended up as 13 courses with all the extras from the kitchen! Then came the bread course which was warm and soft pretzel bread with butter decorated with pickles and tomato and cream cheese- seriously indulgent. Then came the beautiful pastrami and carrot dish with beetroot, turkish apricots and caramelised cashew nuts. Simple but so utterly yummy.
Next on the menu was a lobster and calfs head dish which I was slightly dubious about, but the chef in me was very intrigued. Needless to say it was a great dish, the lobster was perfectly cooked and the accompaniments of white asparagus and miso were the perfect addition and made the dish sing. The calfs head in my opinion was neither here nor there, not adding much to the dish.
Next up was the excellent fish course of monkfish, tamarind and watermelon which wasn’t a dish I was looking forward to as I thought I didn’t like monkfish but clearly I hadn’t had it done properly before. This dish was exceptional, harmonious in flavour and the barbecued watermelon was incredible. It’s amazing how doing something so simple to a wonderful ingredient can completely alter the complexity and flavour of a dish.
The main course that followed was the best venison I have ever had, I love game and so I was delighted that it was on our discovery menu. It was cooked to perfection and paired with cherries stuffed with hazelnuts, a cherry gel coating and a mouth wateringly good venison and juniper sauce. Seriously good ingredients cooked to perfection.
Finally of the savoury dishes was the cheese and it was no ordinary cheese board but a trolley full of delicious cheeses of all types and sizes. To go along with this was a bread trolley with 20 homemade breads; peanut butter, tomato, fruit, curry to name but a few. The cheese was served with an array of extras such as olives, soaked golden raisins and a delicious truffle honey. My favourite cheeses were the epoisses, a pink champagne washed cows milk cheese and a strong runny goats cheese that was so ripe and delicious it was served on a spoon to be had with a drizzle of truffle honey and nothing else!
Next was a refreshing palette cleanser of pea and tarragon which helped in washing away all that delicious fatty cheese and bread, now on to dessert!
Dessert paid homage to the strawberry, and it did this delicious and sweet fruit proud because it was quite simply perfect in every way.
Lastly was a little garden of petit fours- pineapple ice cream cones and cream cheese and coconut truffles, the perfect end to a fantastic meal.