elb's hovel of thoughts

Monday, October 31, 2005

Wien Part I: Griechenbeisl Restaurant

So anyway, on to the next overdue travel series, which I shall open with a restaurant review. Because let's face it, one of the major highlights of travelling is FOOD! Its pretty sad to travel to a foreign culture and to be reduced to eating pot noodles or Chinese stuff.

Anyway, we were in Wien (that's Vienna for you) recommended to a particular restaurant along Fleischmarket Strasse (Fleshmarket Street in English for you) by the hotel staff. Our criteria was simple: it had to serve authentic food. Never mind if we had to pay a bit more to experience it.

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It was less than five minutes stroll from our hotel, which was good. The interior was typical German/ Austrian. Why German? Because Austria is Germany, and Germany is Austria. If you get what I mean. If you don't you need to hit the history textbooks!

First up was some delicious beef carpaccio. If you don't know what that is, its paper-thin slices of raw beef with some toppings. From experience, its either grilled mushrooms, olive oil and rocquette. Or shaved Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and rocquette. In this case we got the former. Yes, its raw, if you didn't notice. Yum! 8/10 for this dish

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Raw beef. Mmmmm.

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A closer look at those delicious mushrooms!

The mushrooms used in this were rather unique; we agreed that it was what stood out the most in the dish. I eventually found it at Harvey Nichols a month ago. Girole mushrooms, or something. A whooping 60GBP per kilo. Not as bad (price wise) as truffle, but certainly something I wouldn't have everyday unless it was a really special occassion.

And oh, we had schnitzel! Proper deep fried veal schnitzel (6/10)! Just like what was being lamented in the Sound of Music. And some proper beef goulash too (7/10)! And the salad dressing was just absolutely delicious.

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Notice the squid with the goulash? On closer inspection, it turned out to be a sausage. What a great presentation!

Okay, then the next dish came. I can't remember what its called, but it had capers and all that. 5/10 (my standards are high, what can I say :P)

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And the other dish was a pan-fried steak with tons of deep-fried onions. The waiter nodded and gave a small smile as I ordered this, indicating that it was supposed to be a good choice. But it was alright I suppose. (6/10)

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And for the warm chocolate brownie thingajig, it was pretty decent (6/10).

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The highlight came after the second visit (yes, we returned again a few days later, and all the dishes reviewed were ordered on separate occassions), when we got to visit and take a look at the room where many estimeed people such as Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss et cetera signed the walls.

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Can you spot Mozart's signature? Or Beethoven's? Because I can't. At least I can no longer remember. But the picture's probably too small for you anyway :p

Oh, and a couple of boring interesting food facts I learnt on my previous two trips:

Danish pastry is actually called Wiener bread in Denmark, because the person who first came up with it learnt his trade at Wien. I should have mentioned this under my Danish travelogs, but its still relevant here, so what the heck.
The Austrians call a particular type of sausage 'Frankfurters', but the Germans call that sausage 'Wiener'. Heh.


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