Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dining in Viennese Style

Ever thought of dining in style and enjoying a different kind of cuisine?

Grüß Gott!

When I stepped in the Wiener Kaffeehaus, it was like being time-warped back to October 2005, during my visit to Vienna and Salzburg, Austria. Wiener Kaffeehaus, which literally translates to 'Viennese Coffee House', is a tiny Austrian restaurant located at the corner along the outskirt of our garden city. Upon entering the restaurant, I found myself a seat without being waited, like how I did when I was in Austria. Owner, Mr. Anton Wiesmann used dim tungsten lighting, curvy and patterned decorations, silver cutlery and even their table layout that complement to give Wiener Kaffeehaus an Art Nouveau style (translates to "new art"). The friendly waiter brought us a nice little red menu; even the menu bears the Austrian national colours. Flipping through the menu, the categories are sorted into tabs in an organized fashion, making searching a breeze. The familiar names immediately made sense to me. Even if you are not familiar to Viennese cuisine, the clear descriptions should help you a great in making a choice. From chocolaty Cafè Mocha to alcoholic Fiaker (a rum-spiked espresso, named after the horse carriage), Wiener Kaffeehaus serves a long list of brews to satisfy your caffeine fix. There is even a coffee named after Maria Theresa, the Archduchess of Austria, de facto Holy Roman Empress, a significant figure whom which you will see, hear and read of everywhere in Austria. If that is not enough, you can try the Turkish coffee, which might probably keep you awake for days! What sense does the term 'wine-and-dine' make, if there is not wine? Wine lovers can take their time and select one from their collection of European wines. But nothing beats guzzling beer to drown the main course, which is a common practise in Europe. Such culture is never new to Singapore, especially in local 'kopi-tiam' (coffee shop) where rowdy men gather with bottles of booze and platters of western food, raving under a black box with moving pictures. But of course, Wiener Kaffeehaus promises that you will never be disappointed by their food. From spicy Gulasch (heavy Hungarian style meat stews) to crispy Schnitzel (thin breaded meat cutlet), Wiener Kaffeehaus serves a comprehensive range of popular Austrian dishes. If you love Erich's sausages from his Wuerstelstand, Wiener Kaffeehaus also whips up a couple of good meals with sausages. Last but not least, there are a variety of desserts to choose from, but the world-renowned Sachertorte and not forgetting their unique Wiener Apfel Strudel (Viennese Apple Strudel). It does not matter if you do not have a sweet tooth like me, these desserts are a 'die-die-must-try'!

The layout of the main hall is such that the bar is on one side of its length, while the tables arranged in a single row on the other side. The picture shows the main entrance from Neil Road. On one end of the bar is the cashier's counter, the refrigerator show diners its different desserts available, while the back of the bar exhibits a library of wines and beverages. The dim tungsten lighting creates a cosy environment to 'chill-out'.

I ordered a Melange, or some might call 'Viennese Coffee' or sometimes and 'extended coffee'. It is actually rather similar to Cafè Latte in a cappuccino proportion. It comprises of Viennese roast and steamed milk in 50:50 proportions. The coffee comes served on silver tray with a glass of water and two sugar cubes. I have tasted coffee that are too sour, too bitter and sometimes too bland. But the blend for my melange was just right! The roast of the beans also plays a part in the taste of the coffee as well. The melange is not very strong, but it took quite a bit of my weariness away.

I also ordered a regular Cafè Latte to benchmark it to that from the mainstream coffee joints. I had expected this cafè au lait which is served in a tall clear glass, to show a clear distinction in the one-third espresso and two-third steamed milk, topped with a dollop of foam, but it came mixed. Nevertheless, I guess it varies with different baristas. Most importantly, I am very pleased with this popular coffee beverage.

I did not take long to decide what I wanted. I was introduced to Cordon Bleu by chance during my trip in Salzburg. I had wanted to try out the famous Viennese schnitzels, but when I read the descriptions of the Cordon Bleu, I immediately knew that I must try it! The Cordon Blue is one heavenly combination of ham, cheese and schnitzel! The meat for the schnitzel can be veal or pork, and sometime chicken. Since it is hard to find places that serves the Cordon Bleu, I had to order it!

The Cordon Bleu is served with buttered potatoes topped with parsley and greens on the side. A lemon slice is available if you like your schnitzel to have a tinge of tangy.

The very moment my knife cut into the schnitzel. The cheese started oozing out like molten lava from a crack in the surface of earth. The melted cheese just could not stop flowing out from between the 'pocket' of meat. I was quite pleased that the cheese remained molten for quite a while.

Slicing the Cordon Bleu to expose the cross-sections, reveals the segments of ham, cheese and meat covered in a layer of breaded crust sauteed to a golden colour. Though I read later that the meat is supposed to be veal, but I definitely tasted pork in my order. It does not matter, because whether pork or veal, the marriage of it with the ham and cheese was perfect! Having sank my teeth into a slice, I could feel the initial crunch of the crispy crust and then the tenderness of the meat and cheese. Savouring the Cordon Bleu, I could taste the tenderness of the pork. The juice from the pork and ham, blended with the molten cheese, drowned my taste buds! I believe that there was no special marination in the pork, but the taste of the combo was splendid, giving the Cordon Bleu its unique flavour!

At the end of the main hall, there are two short flight of stairs. One leads upwards towards an elevated platform where more seats are available, while the other leads downwards where plenty of supplies are housed and where a huge coffee roasting machine sits.


Here are some food-related pictures from my trip to Austria.
Click here view Salzburg gallery and here to view Vienna gallery.

When I visited Austria, I got to try the Old Viennese Apple Strudel. The Viennese Apple Strudel is unique for its very thin crispy crust and filling that includes chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. I also tried the Salzburger Nockerl, which of course, was in Salzburg. The Salzburger Nockerl is a souffle-like Austrian meringue dessert that seems simple to prepare, but takes a long time to do so. Not many restaurants in Salzburg offer this dessert as it takes time to prepare and must be prepared and served fresh! I have tried baking it myself, it is not as easy as it seems.

This is one huge Sachertorte which I found in a restaurant called Demel's. Demel's has a variety of Sachertorte in different shapes and sizes, nicely packaged to serve as ideal gifts!

In conclusion
Wiener Kaffeehaus is a unique restaurant to visit, be it for meals to savour the traditional Austrian delectables or for coffee to satisfy your caffeine addiction in style. Every now and then, Wiener Kaffeehaus also conducts workshops such as coffee appreciation and baking classes. Do drop by and visit Wiener Kaffeehaus. I promise that you will love this coffee house!
Auf Wiederschauen!

Wiener Kaffeehaus
148 Neil Road
(S) 088877
Tel: 6226-3148
Opening hours: 10.00am - 10.00pm daily

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edna said...

great pics and sounds yummy .... i need a melange


do drop by and visit them

ber said...

have u tried their Sachertorte? its one of the best u can find in sg.


ber said...
have u tried their Sachertorte? its one of the best u can find in sg.

nope. actually i have tried the sachertorte in Austria. I didn't really appreciate it so much, since i dun have a sweet tooth. lol
but i'll try it since you said its good!