It’s no secret that I enjoy getting lost around Vienna on purpose. I walk around a lot and often end up on streets with flower shops at the corners, hole in the wall restaurants and even old bookstores and trinket shops. And I always share them on my instagram account (follow me if you haven’t yet and I’ll follow you back). Most of the time, I also end up on secret streets, fully on cobblestones and which are actually leading to some places I am really familiar about. Surprise!
Above photo is the Esterhazystrasse, a street just above the Herrengasse train station. I, along with Kuya O (visiting friend from Japan), went up the side I haven’t been to before. If you’ve noticed I’ve been out and about and dining a lot with Kuya O, well, that’s because we are the only ones who could often go out at early hours. He’s on a research-trip which he does on his own hours and I’m a blogger, I can blog even when I’m out of the house. 😉 And all our friends has to work!
We walked around the area and ended up at the city centre – talking about random things, sitting a bit and people watching until we got hungry. The city centre is where tourists abound. The Kärtnerstrasse is a closed street exclusive for shoppers housing designer labels and rtws, souvenir shops and of course a plethora of food joints – formal dining, fast-food, even street stalls. It is inside the famous circle of important buildings and perhaps culture Vienna has been built upon. Strategically too since tourists are like busy bees and definitely would go hungry after a long walk.
If you know your way around, you will easily find a food shop of what you are craving for at the moment. For example, the Sacher Hotel is at one end across the Opera house and on the other side of Starbucks. So you can choose between a slice of sacher torte and a cup of melange over a cappuccino and truffle cake, but, you never have to go far.
Anyway, enough of the babbling (sorry I got carried away). We went to one of Vienna’s old restaurant chain, Wienerwald (existing more than 50 years now). It literally translates to Viennese forest/wood but it doesn’t actually originate in Vienna, the chain started out in Munich. The restaurant is famous for its roast chicken, schnitzel and mostly poultry offerings but through the years has also increased their menu including the more famous Austrian dishes. This branch is found in Annagasse, one of the inner streets in the stretch of Kärtnerstrasse.
So Kuya O had Schweinsbraten served with Sauerkraut and Knödel…really tender roast pork, sour cabbage and dumplings swimming in a sauce that blends suitably. Hah! Don’t wonder why, in an attempt to document our food trips, we had to try each other’s dishes as we previously did. ^_^ I sometimes wonder if Asians have smaller stomachs than Europeans or do Asians just talk a lot while eating, becoming full too soon – we always end up not finishing a meal. :/
On my plate would be Tafelspitz, it literally means tip of the board – so it’s like “tip of the meat for the table” (lol). This dish dates back to the 1800s as it was a favorite of Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. It’s basically beef from the bottom sirloin primal cut boiled with root vegetables and spices. It is served really tender – you fork it and it disintegrates easily. Same goes for the texture, it just melts! Tafelspitz is usually served with horseradish and sour cream or Apfelmus (apple puree), mine has potatoes instead of the apple puree along with the previous two. And because I have an ‘ok’ relationship with wasabi, I enjoyed the horseradish with the meat…clears out your nostrils really nicely too! ^_^
And here’s a recipe for Tafelspitz:
Tafelspitz is a classic Austrian dish made from boiled beef, typically served with flavorful broth and traditional sides. Here’s a recipe for Tafelspitz:
For the Tafelspitz:
- 800g beef brisket or top round roast (Tafelspitz cut)
- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 6-8 whole black peppercorns
- Salt, to taste
For the Sides:
- Potatoes, peeled and boiled
- Spinach, sautéed with garlic and butter
- Apple horseradish sauce (Apfelkren)
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Prepare the Beef:
- Place the beef in a large pot and cover it with cold water. Bring it to a gentle simmer.
- Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Once the foam subsides, add the halved onion, carrots, celery, leek, smashed garlic, bay leaf, and black peppercorns.
- Cover the pot and let the beef simmer on low heat for about 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the beef is tender. You want the beef to be cooked, but still slightly pink in the center. Add salt to taste during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Prepare the Sides:
- Boil the potatoes in a separate pot until they are tender. Drain and set aside.
- In a skillet, sauté the spinach with minced garlic and a bit of butter until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make the Apple Horseradish Sauce (Apfelkren):
- Grate a peeled and cored apple and mix it with freshly prepared horseradish. The ratio of apple to horseradish can be adjusted according to taste. You can also add a splash of lemon juice for extra freshness.
- Assemble and Serve:
- Remove the cooked beef from the pot and let it rest briefly before slicing. Cut the beef into thin slices against the grain.
- Strain the broth and use it as a flavorful soup base or save it for later use.
- Arrange the sliced beef on a serving platter, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve it with boiled potatoes, sautéed spinach, and apple horseradish sauce on the side.
- You can also serve the dish with some of the flavorful broth on the side in bowls.
Tafelspitz is a comforting and hearty dish that showcases the natural flavors of the beef and is often enjoyed as a special meal in Austrian cuisine.
I’ve been looking for a photo of what dessert we had but can’t find one on my Instagram stream – where, by the way, I also share all these food photos! If you find yourself in Vienna, give me a call, I’ll walk you around and treat you to one of its local restaurants and let you have a taste of where the Habsburgs emperors and empresses once walked and what they had on their plates! 😉
posted for Food Friday.
Wienerwald Restaurants-Gesellschaft m.b.H
1010 Vienna, Austria
+43 1 5123766
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