The first place that we encountered Austrian open-faced sandwiches was at the Hartberger Zeitreise (literally, “time travel”: like a medieval festival, but with some Roman history and a donkey thrown in). The sandwich was simply a piece of dark bread spread with mustard and topped with thick slices of ham and freshly grated horseradish. Simple, but fantastically delicious and surprisingly filling when washed down with a beer.
I’ve since seen these sandwiches in various places, most recently at the Easter markets. They are always delicious and satisfying, but no one raises them to the level of art the way that Tauber does.
Tauber is a café and take-away located around Vienna. They have a large variety of these open-face sandwiches (they call them “Brötchen”) on offer, arranged in a glass display case like you see at the Konditoreis.
Curious about why these seemingly simple sandwiches taste so good, I closely examined them. Each sandwich appears to consist of five layers, each layer with flavors that complement the other layers. Not so simple after all! I am going to “deconstruct” as many of these sandwiches as I can so that I (and you) can recreate them at home: they’d be great for a brunch or lunch party.