After a morning visit to Schloss Schönbrunn and its grounds, my friends who are visiting and I had lunch at nearby Cafe Wunderer. This cafe boasts a menu of “old style Viennese cooking,” much like your Austrian Oma would have made in her day. I love this type of cooking as it is hearty, filling, and almost always delicious. After a vigorous session with the menu (how can I possibly choose from all the offerings?), this is what I ended up ordering:
Kren is raw horseradish. It is normally grated and served on top of Austria’s version of open-faced sandwiches, Brötchen (see my brief explanation of Brötchen here and some “how to” instructions for assembling them here and here). You can buy horseradish root at the grocery store for your at-home horseradish needs.
You would think this soup was overpoweringly spicy because of the use of raw horseradish, and indeed there were horseradish shavings in the soup for flavor and texture. The soup was not spicy, however. It was earthy and a little sweet, and the only time you tasted the kren was when it was already partway down your throat. I have no idea how they made such a delicate soup from such a potent ingredient, but I am going to try to make it.
For my main I had this:
Crepes filled with spiced ground meat, covered with Hollandaise sauce, and baked. I had a very similar meal at Häuserl am Roan (see the description of that meal here), except that my previous meal had a cheese sauce on top. I enjoyed the first meal and I also enjoyed this one, which reaffirms that I really need to get moving on learning how to make crepes so I can make dishes like these.
Until this lunch, I thought that I was pretty much done discovering new Austrian dishes to learn. I still need to try Tafelspitz, which is not only quite popular here but was also a favorite of Emperor Franz Josef, but beyond that I didn’t think there was much else to try. The menu at this restaurant proved me wrong because there are all sorts of old school Austrian dishes that I’ve not even heard of, let alone tried. Thank god for that.