It was our last night in Austria and it was a sad time as we were at the end of our whirlwind trip to the land of The Sound of Music, Mozart and Christmas Markets. To toast our final night we start the evening with some cake and a liqueur beverage. The kuchen at The Grand, sister hotel of The Ring where we are staying, is well known and I eagerly try a piece. It's lovely and moist and not at all with a dusting of icing sugar on top.
I also try one of their drinks which is generous with booze and warming. I was too overwhelmed with trying to take photos in the dark room to write down what it was called though-oops!
We then move onto the place of our last meal in Vienna, Kulinarium 7 which is an example of modern Austrian food. It's headed by two young chefs, one of them being Max Aichinger born in Barcelona of Japanese parentage and Richard Leitner. Its a modern wine bar and shop as well as restaurant and there are large share tables. A man nurses a glass of wine facing the window and types on his laptop while other small groups share meals and wines.
Operator Philipp Prodinger shows us the wines in the cellar
Amuse bouche: Cream of cauliflower soup in a test tube
We start downstairs in the wine cellar. Philipp explains that most of the wines in the cellar are Austrian of course but some Australian numbers do feature. Kulinarium 7 has been open for two and a half years and is known for their wine matching dinners. They currently store between 15,000-17,000 mostly Austrian wines in their cellar.
In paper fried char smoked with mashed potato, pumpkin, veal sauce served with Gruner Veltliner Alte Reben 2007 by Peter Uhler Grinzing Vienna
A paper covered dish arrives and it's hot having been just baked in the oven. The waiters whip the paper off and what is presented to us is rather unexpected. I had expected a stew type dish and something a bit more rustic but it's a pool of mash, a disc of pumpkin and some delicate pieces of fried char fish (an Arctic fish). I take a bite and swoon - it's fantastic and an unexpected winning combination with the smokiness of the mash going well with the char and creamy mash.
Oxtail consomme with beef tartar and egg served with Gemischter Satz Scrammler Grand reserve 2006 Fritz Wieneger Stammersdorf Vienna
This course is a two-parter, a delicious demitasse cup of aromatic and perfect oxtail consomme and a gorgeous beef tartar disc with a softly cooked egg yolk which is given a bright red colour from being marinated in beetroot with salt and sugar. The yolk is set but not cooked all the way through and is uniquely sumptuous in texture. The texture of this is amazing, like a cream cheese but with a richness like a thick egg yolk. We're all impressed by the innovation.
Breast of Barbarie Duck, red cabbage tofu, bretzen dumpling, orange jus served with Triologie ZW, CS, M 2007 Fritz Wieneger Stammersdorf Vienna
Again I was expecting something more rustic looking but it's most definitely modern. Beautifully presented, the breast is pink inside and tender but the real revelation of the cubes of red cabbage tofu which melt in the mouth with a light, sweet red cabbage taste and a jellyish texture. The slice of bretzen dumpling is a perfect accompaniment and all elements combine wonderfully.
Semolina schmarr'n, poppy seed ice cream and grape caramel served with Beerenauslese Cuvee 2006 Weinlaubenhof Kracher, Illmitz
The semolina schmarr'n are semolina dumplings that remind me of thick biscotti soaked in syrup. I recently made Kaiserschmarrn which were more like pancakes but these are denser. I don't really go for these but I do like the poppyseed ice cream.
Klimt's The Kiss Chocolates
And to finish off the food? Gorgeous rich Klimt "The Kiss" chocolates!_
We go downstairs for a surprise tasting and we break into two teams: girls vs boys. Philipp hands us a glass of schnapps and asks us to sniff them. Some are very strong and obvious straight away (beetroot, coffee and carrot) whereas others are more elusive (elderflower). We are all a bit tipsy and we stumble out, our last dinner in Austria eaten and what a wonderful night it was! So long farewell, auf weidersehen good-bye. I hate to go and leave this pretty sight...
So tell me Dear Reader, are you very good at those food or wine guessing games?
Not Quite Nigella travelled to Austria as a guest of the Austrian National Tourist Office and Emirates Airline.
1070 Wien - Spittelberg Sigmundgasse / Siebensterngasse, Austria
Tel: +43 01 / 522 33 77