The 15th on our 5555th – A Review on Steirereck
We celebrated the 5,555th day of our dating anniversary in style, by having lunch at Steirereck im Stadtpark, a two Michelin starred and World’s 15th Best restaurant at the point of writing this blog post. Being self-confessed foodies, this visit was long overdue and only made possible because Steirereck very carefully states what each of their dishes comprises in order to cater for diners who may have allergies. While the mister does not have known allergies, he has a rather peculiar palate that includes no consumption of fishes, eggs and tofu but fish steamboats, milk and prawns are fine. Can’t quite wrap your head around his idiosyncrasies? Don’t worry, you ain’t the first and definitely wouldn’t be the last.
Steirereck is a godsend in this instance. Their meticulously prepared menu easily found on their website allowed the mister to scrutinise it so he could ascertain if there were dishes he could order for all courses. I was over the moon when he told me to go ahead and make a reservation. Finally, we could enjoy good food. Together.
Reservation is a must, and it takes quite a bit of effort on the part of diners wishing to score a table at Steirereck. First, one has to fill out an online reservation, earliest at 3 months prior to the desired date. Following that, the restaurant will write an email requesting for further information including credit card details. And last but not the least, onus is on the diner to reconfirm his reservation 24 hours prior. We followed all the instructions to a T and were really looking forward to an enjoyable afternoon.
We spent a leisurely morning traipsing to Stadtpark from our hotel which was within walking distance. Most of the shops we came by were not opened yet, save for some cafes and eateries. Then we met a group of cute preschoolers being brought out for a walk by their teachers and parent volunteers. They looked so adorable in their bright yellow beanies!
According to Wikpedia, ‘The gilded bronze monument of Johann Strauß II, is one of the most known and most frequently photographed monuments in Vienna.’ True enough, everyone who passed us by stopped in front of the monument to take at least a shot, or two but nary a glance at the other monuments/busts they came across. Having been a pupil of music as a child, I took my time to stroll the park while giving equal attention to each and every musician immortalised there. Well… we were also early for our lunch at Steirereck so I can’t completely claim that my intentions were truly altruistic. 😆
Nestled within Stadtpark, Steirereck is housed in an amazing building clad with aluminium panels that reflects its surroundings of lush, green trees and blue skies so much so that it almost becomes ‘invisible’. Me thinks the concept is pretty cool and intriguing!
At 11.3o am sharp, we walked up to the front door. After matching the mister’s name to the reservation list, they took our coats and brought us to our table on the right. It was still early so our wing was a little quiet, save for us both and another lone Asian lady seated a couple of tables down. And since we had already spent time looking at the lunch menu way before our actual visit, it didn’t take us long to decide on our individual courses. Being non-cheese lovers, all we needed to do was to make known our choices for the 4-course lunch. Easy-peasy.
We didn’t have to wait long before an impressive platter of amuse bouche comprising 8 different offerings was presented to us. I’m afraid I don’t have that refined a palate to describe this meal in an engaging manner so from this point forth, it will be mostly pictures-intensive.
Because we couldn’t select the components that made up the amuse bouche platter, it was inevitable that the mister found some of the offerings not so suitable for his palate. I happily took his portion when that happened.
While we were still enjoying our amuse bouche, the waitstaff started prepping my 1st course of Char with Beeswax. What a feast for our eyes!
‘Beeswax being poured onto the char’
‘In the process of marinating the char in beeswax’
‘After 5 minutes, the beeswax hardens and the char is encased within’
‘The char is finally prepared and ready for cooking’
Then the legendary bread cart came along. Prior to our visit, I have read online reviews enthusiastically and every single one mentioned this interesting bread cart. The various breads are baked fresh, for every meal… or so I read. And the bread cart is not replenished throughout the meal, so the cart gets depleted as time goes by. Interesting, eh?
I love sour doughs so I picked rye sour dough and cranberry for my bread options. Nothing too dense since I was still reeling in the after-effects of an exceedingly filling bread basket at Hofbrahaus Munchen 2 nights back haha.
My first course – Char with Beeswax, Yellow Carrot, ‘Pollen’ and Sour Cream
The mister’s first course – Peppers & Lemon with Olive Herbs & Venus Clams
I loved my first course of Char with Beeswax. The process of marinating the char in beeswax gave the fish a very light but fragrant and sweet scent. Not too overpowering. As for the mister, he’s not a fan of clams but in general, he liked his first course.
My second course – Handmade Pasta with Alba Truffles
The mister’s second course – Oxheart Carrots with Castelfranco, Blood Orange
and Greengage Pickle
I opted for a Christmas special second course because given the choice, I never say no to pasta. And I simply loved how simple yet tasty it was. As the waitstaff shaved the Alba truffle, all that occupied my mind was if I should allow him to shave more or asked him to stop. In the end, I had about 3g of truffle shaved onto my pasta. It was ample enough for the fragrance to permeate through. I’m glad I didn’t get greedy. This 3g cost us 27€. 😛
This course was totally right up the mister’s alley; he loves greens so it was completely created for him!
My third course – Cat Fish Poached in Coconut Milk with Coconut Farina,
King Trumpet Mushrooms and Water Chestnuts
The mister’s third course – Roast Pigeon with Chard, Parsnip & Lychee Tomatoes
In general, I stuck with safe choices for my courses. Chose to have fish for both my first and third courses although they were vastly different. The coconut milk and coconut farina added to the dish was truly a refreshing idea. And I so loved the mushrooms and water chestnuts too!
Unfortunately for the mister, this course fell below his expectation. He didn’t enjoy the taste of the roast pigeon. Perhaps it was a choice too wild and out of characteristic.
My fourth course – Huckleberry Soufflé with Isabella Grape & Sesame
The mister’s fourth course – Mediar, Violets & Crepes
I was so in love with my desert course; the huckleberry soufflé was truly… heavenly. Out of the world! It was so good the mister had to beg me to try some. He didn’t do too shabby either – his choice for desert was also spot on. Though it looked nothing like the usual crepes we are used to, it surpassed our expectations in the taste department.
The petit fours were exquisite! We loved everything presented to us. And spent much time discussing and wondering if we could finish the whole tin of Linzer cookies if we wanted to. Not that we had the stomach to. And oh, I was completely taken in by the Vanillekipferl. So much so that I looked up online for the recipe the same night, wishing to make some of my own. The recipe looks rudimentary enough. I may just try baking some for my loved ones.
I insisted on having tea, and the mister was mystified as to why so. He got his answer as the waitstaff pushed the tea cart towards us. I’ve never had tea this fresh i.e. tea leaves cut directly from the plant itself. This is so cute right? I’d forgotten what I chose – probably lemongrass with skive, steeped in hot water.
The cheese cart that was parked near our table. Quite an expansive range.
The bread cart when we left the restaurant 3 hours later
After an amazing 3-hour culinary journey, we were ready to leave so we could get on with the rest of our schedule to see more of Vienna. The service we received while dining at Steirereck was impeccable. Completely top-notch! They were all attentive, mostly, until the lunch time crowd came in and they gradually became more busy, which is all understandable.
If our travels take us to Vienna again one day, I really wouldn’t mind revisiting Steirereck. In the meanwhile, I wish more of the established Michelin-starred restaurants follow suit and state very clearly the ingredients used in their menus, like what Steirereck does.