Tuesday, April 16, 2013


The first amuse bouches of pomelo in citrus sugar and long, thin crisps provided a light and refreshing start to our dinner.  They were accompanied by a locally produced sekt from Bründlmayer, which was surprisingly complex in flavor. We later found out that it is made from blauer burgunder, chardonnay, grauburgunder, weissburgunder and grüner veltliner - very interesting.

Second round of amuses were placed atop a carpet of cress, including marinated radish, a cornet of dried Jerusalem artichoke filled with a fresh cream cheese and finally a cornet of turnip filled with a nettle foam of sorts.

Butter! Lime butter rolled around pear marmalade and topped with pistachios, set atop meticulously drawn lines of plain salted butter.
Bread selection - here including varieties with black pudding (so good!), sun-dried tomato and olive, rosemary, and bacon. 
B's (more grown-up) selection of sourdough varieties.
Last amuse of baked qual egg enrobed in a sort of kataifi dough along side jerusalem artichoke purée and shaved, black truffle. The black truffle was underwhelming in flavor and could easily had been omitted but still a very enjoyable amuse.
Salsify cooked in cardamom-infused goat's milk with grilled, sour Nashi pear, goat's cheese, beef bone marrow and toasted chia seeds. A very comprehensive dish as you can tell but also one of the best dishes of the evening. I loved the combination of cream goat's milk and the nuttiness from the chia seeds. Wine pairing was a blend of grüner veltliner, chardonnay, and riesling. Certainly one of the evening's highlights.

Red cabbage (leaf, stalk and juice) with Jonagold apple, thinly sliced foie gras, blackcurrants preserved in beebalm syrup and shiso leaves. Loved the play on red cabbage in the dish but unfortunately the foie gras component provided little flavour to the final taste expression. The accompanying 2011 pinot gris "Seeberg" from Weingut Prieler did a good job providing a crisp, not too sweet backdrop to the dish.

Puntarella with carp milt, chervil root and anis seed aromas. In the glass, 2011 morillon (aka chardonnay) "Steinbach" from Lackner-Tinnacher in Gamlitz. Great textures in the dish but tastewise it was forgettable.
Endive infused with beef consommé and garlic oil accompanied by boiled and deep-fried wood sorrel root, raw king trumpet mushrooms (very few, as you can tell from the picture), and caramelized Persian lime marmelade. The wine pairing of 2011 Lindenblättriger, a tablewine from Umathum, was an interesting addition to the dish, while the dish generally failed to make a lasting impression on B.
Mountain trout with white aubergine, turnips, black trumpet mushroom and purslane. Thereto a Rudi Pichler number, a grüner veltliner Smaragd "Hochrain" from 2008 with which we were both so pleased, that we picked up a 2011 variety from Wein&Co before we left Vienna. The fish was very delicate and pleasing to the palate.

Pan-fried grayling with sesame, baby artichokes, and rosemallow. In the glass, a pristine glass of riesling from Prager, a 2009 Smaragd "Klaus". B loved with so much that I (good girlfriend as I am) had him enjoy the last sips. The fish was perfectly cooked and I enjoyed the sesame addition very much.
For the 4th course, we had chosen the same dish, which turned out to be one of the evening's highlights for me, both in terms of the dish and the wine pairing. The course consisted of breast of Schneebergland duck rolled in fermented rice and black bean granules, set atop sprouts, shoots and cress of different sorts in a date, peanut, and ginger paste, finished off with cardamom and salted plum stock. The wine (the name has unfortunately slipped my mind) was a natural wine, completely unoaked and highly oxidized, which went surprisingly well with the dish. Excellent sommelier work here.
Best end (what does that even mean?) lamb from Pogush with capers, raisins and purple salsify. Further there was caramelized sweet potato and lamb's lettuce with a purple salsify and lamb sauce with Limon Canaliculata and preserved almonds. B was extremely excited about the lamb, which was certainly cooked to perfection. In the glass a 2010 zweigelt "Haide" from Schloss Gobelsburg.

Grilled calf's liver with nasturtium root, smoked elderberry chutney, and pumpernickel and potato rösti. In the glass, the second non-Austrian wine option of the evening, 2010 Kappa Rosso from Fattoria Kappa, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Petit Verdot. A powerful and rich mix that fit the gamey liver brilliantly.

Another highlight - cheeses. Steirereck boasts an amazing selection of 50+ cheeses. B decided to go with a blue and hard selection including the Kracher Grand Cru cheese, a blue washed in the sweet wine. It also featured a truffled pecorino and despite his somewhat guarded relation to cheese, he ate every single bit.
I had the cheese sommelier, Herbert Schmid, do a mix of things for me as I am really not a picky cheese eater. It included everything from Mont d'Or to hefty Roquefort. Great selection, only enhanced by the wine pairing of Alto Aldige gewürztraminer by Damian Kornell from 2011(so good, I am not ashamed to say that I asked for a refill). The garnishes of pumpkin seed and grapes however puzzled me and seemed sort of banal.
Finally, dessert! Preserved calamansi, an Indonesian citrus fruit also known under the name of golden lime (also served as amuse) along with silky smooth walnut ice cream, on a bed of cream cheese and ginger bread crumbs. In the glass, 1988 pinot gris beerenauslese from Stephan Schneider. Heaven!
Phantom of the avec cart.

A lonely melange.

Petit fours - chocolate and dried citrus fruits.
Am Heumarkt 2A, im Stadtpark
Wien, Österreich

When B had invited me to Vienna we quickly decided that we would have to visit Steirereck, currently at 21st place on World's 50 Best List. Overall, it turned out to be a great experience. Some of Steirereck's strongpoints certainly include its inherently local focus as reflected in both the food and wines - and I love that they have a cart for everything, including apéritifs (noting Campari/OJ as an option at a Michelin restaurant is a first for me!), bread, cheese, herbal tea, digestifs, petit fours...). Around the blogosphere other bloggers have been complaining as to the English skills of the staff, something I cannot recognize at all. All evening we were served by waiters speaking fluent English, a special mention to our sommelier who was not only extremely knowing and talkative but also incredibly endearing, delivering little anecdotes about the wines and their producers. Throughout the evening we did however have a few dishes which, yes, were tasty, but also forgettable. Highlight included the salsify, pear and goat's milk cheese, the duck and the cheeses. I can only imagine how gorgeous the setting must be during spring, summer and fall, and in terms of gourmet restaurants I cannot imagine better options to be found in Vienna. Recommended.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


Smoked salmon, scrambled eggs with extremely aromatic truffle oil, and sour cream with chervil.
Ham, baked egg and vegetables in a mayo/sour cream dressing.
Warm, buttery croissant
Wipplingerstraße 34
1010 Wien

I am a bit bummed that I do not have any pictures from the interior at Hansen, a restaurant we visited for brunch on our first day in Vienna. The restaurant is located in the cellar of the old stock exchange featuring high ceilings with beautiful vaults, white walls and flowers aplenty. The food was excellent, too! We started off with Wiener mélange and a still warm, buttery and perfectly flaky croissant to share. Thereafter B went with baked egg and ham, wrapped around crisp vegetables in a mayo-based dressing. I was extremely pleased with my choice, being smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, which had received a healthy dose of truffle oil. Extremely satisfying! We left full and happy, feeling we had found quite a gem, as the meal including two coffees, one fresh mint tea, and water had set us back less than 20 euros. Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Duck and Cover

Cachaca cocktail and Rob Roy - photography by Mr. Islay and Bitters

Duck and Cover
Dannebrogsgade 6
1660 Copenhagen V

Before finishing the posts about our recent Vienna trip, a quick recommendation for Copenhagen's newest cocktail bar! Rumors had spread around town, that previous Ruby bartender and 2012 Diageo World Class Reserve participant Kasper Riewe Henriksen was to open his own place soon. After a Friday afternoon and evening that had already featured free cocktails at Juul's Vinhandel, decent Chinese fare at Magasasa (sandwiched at a little table between two elderly Chinese ladies and Tal R + Evren Tekinoktay), a short but sweet Lana del Rey concert in Tap1, and sub-par tiki drinks at Brassmonkey we were really not short of experiences - but the night was still young and B thought we should just pass to see if they had opened. Luckily for us, it turned out to be the opening night, and seeing no active PR effort has been made so far, the place was far from filled, leaving us plenty of space and time to talk with the skilled people behind the bar, which by the way stocked delicacies like Tanqueray Malacca and Beefeater Crown Jewel. Not that gin is the main focal point of the bar - at a recent tequila/mezcal event at The Barking Dog, B and I had fallen into talks with a previous Ruby bartender, where we learned how Kasper has been working extensively with cachaca. Therefore B chose to go with a simple cachaca cocktail, where I instead went with a classic Rob Roy. Both tasty and well-crafted, and clocking in at CPH average price for cocktails at 100dkk each. As mentioned, the place is brand new - we could still smell the granite-colored paint - but nothing else about the bar screams "new". The place is tastefully decorated using influence from Danish 50's-60's style. Beautiful space, skilled bartenders, and very possibly a new favorite in the making. Highly recommended.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Dino's American Bar

Bartender (gin, dry sherry, sweet vermout, dry vermouth and a spritz of Grand Marnier) and Kalinichia (gin, dry vermouth, dry sherry and oloroso sherry) - and tacky barsnacks aplenty.
Dino's American Bar
Salzgries 19
1010 Vienna, Austria

Vienna might be one of the most tradition-bound, conservative, bordering anachronistic cities that I have visited in recent times. And browsing the city's bar scene it quickly became evident that the cocktail culture also reflects a history of post-WW2 (American) occupation, hosting a number of "American bars", Dino's being one of them. While the website might look extremely dusty, B and I were however intruigued by the cocktail menu, the length of novel, and seeing the bar was located right in our neighborhood, we decided to drop in a for a pre-dinner drink one night. What strikes you as you when you enter is how extremely underlit the place is (this does not include Dino's only I should mention - entire Vienna seems to be making an effort to keep the lights off in some sort of strange CSR effort or maybe it's just a cultural norm?), which certainly what I had also expected given our initial impression from the place's online presence. Further, the place was empty when we entered at 6:15 pm - perfect, more attention for us! In spite of the massive selection we were however quick to decide on a theme (sherry, if you had not guessed), and we received to completely unfancy but very tasty drinks. Thereafter I moved on to an Affinity (scotch, dry sherry, port, and Angostura bitters), while B went with Dino's sour-ier (bourbon, green Chartreuse, lime, and sugar). Again, well-crafted and tasty, but nothing mindblowing.

The story follows the night after, a Sunday Easter evening, were we had initially planned to try The Loft, Sofitel Stephansdom's panorama bar, which turned out to be characterized by gorgeous views of Vienna but also a terribly snooty host. We therefore decided to head back to Dino's, this time finding the place half-full with both young folks and more mature ones (all seemed to be ordering fruit cocktails, though). This time we sat in the bar, and quickly fell into dialogue with the bartender, who started us out with two classics, a Sazerac and Penicillin (Ardbeg-ified to my smoke-loving palate). Thereafter, I asked for something featuring chocolate liqueur (Austria is the land of Mozard liqueur after all) and was then served the most bizarre, yet mindblowingly tasty cocktail that I to date have savoured. Imagine blue cheese and chocolate in one drink... Yes, that's what I had. Roquefort vodka, chocolate-infused Zacapa (both homemade), a bit more vodka, sugar syrup, dry vermouth, and a tad lemon juice. According to our bartender, the two flavours of chocolate and blue cheese affect the same area of the tongue, meaning they cannot be tasted separately, in turn creating a puzzling, new and undefinable taste. From there, the inventive cocktails kept coming... A Shogun featuring vodka, syrup, lime, ginger, wasabi, and cucumber - the latter, which I detest in cocktails, but thoroughly enjoyed in this context. B had an Asian take on Bloody Mary (which I think I drank most of, in spite of my Bloody Mary aversion) featuring lots of spices and a great amount of lemongrass. B even had his amaro fix with a Manhattan featuring Fernet. All in all, two gorgeous visits to Dino's, which proved that their cocktail capabilities range from the classic to the crazy. It was so refreshing to see a bar that takes all cocktails equally seriously, from Flying Kangaroos to Artegronis. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


Easter Sunday brunch feast!
From left: Char tartare with roe and cress; Marinated salmon with curd cheese wrapped around thyme-milk jelly; Cheese omelette (featuring a Gruyère of sorts being my guess) with chives.
Soft-boiled egg with sour cream (tasted more like mayo) and foie gras.
Celery remoulade, also featuring apple, walnuts and Périgord truffle.

Gammon ham with freshly grated horseradish.

Blackberry sauce, yoghurt, and granola.

Preserved white peaches with hazelnut cake.
Curd-cheese strudel with blackcurrant compote.

Am Heumarkt 2A / im Stadtpark
A-1030 Vienna.
For Easter vacation B had been so kind to invite me to Vienna, where we were so lucky to spend an evening at Michelin-starred Steirereck (more on this soon). The restaurant however also hosts a little sister, specialized in dairy, downstairs, which we therefore decided to try out for Easter Sunday brunch. I will keep the food description short as I really have nothing to criticize as to the quality of the food. The char tartare, the marinated salmon, the cheese omelette and the blackberry yoghurt were among the showstoppers, but it quickly became evident that Meierei has some issues related to its' processes in the restaurant. First of all, B and I decided to go with each our brunch set and share it all. We were quickly bombarded with tons of intricate and inviting little plates, and I found it to be quite a shame that some of the warm dishes such as the strudel were not served at a later stage (cold strudel is really not that arousing an experience, while we also caught the foie gras and egg serving too late). Further, what really bothered me with this visit to Meierei was the service. The place was far from full, also meaning that the restaurant was overstaffed and gave us so much attention I almost felt unable to enjoy the food. The waiters kept refilling water, rearranging plates or taking away plates (if not, monitoring us from a two meter distance), giving us so little private space that I was about to put the less sanitary part of my vocabulary to good use. We ended up with a bill of 60 euros, the place is thus not inexpensive. Maybe we just caught them on a bad day, but given such a stressful eating experience I will not recommend Meierei.