Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
MARVELLOUS Edvard in the Kempinski Palais Hansen Hotel. Originally built as a hotel for the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873 this 5 star hotel captivates the visitor with its history, and contemporary luxury. Celebrated Architect Baron Theophil Edvard von Hansen (13 July 1813, Copenhagen – 17 February 1891, Vienna) built this imposing structure which became the Palais Hansen.
Hence the name of the fine dining restaurant…EDVARD had just opened two days ago on 26 March, 2013…so I was prepared for teething problems, which is normal for a new restaurant with new staff. It was a most pleasant suprise to find that all was very good with nary a major hiccup. Of course, the service was a tad on the slow side but the food made up for that. Another wonderful suprise was seeing my dear friend, Dieter Bischoff again! Was fuer einen schoenen Ueberraschung!
My journey there was an Abenteuer (adventure) in itself because the Schwachsinnige und ueberdumme Lebanese Taxi driver from the Ritz Carlton Hotel brought me to Schottentor instead of Schottenring where the Kempinski is! I have friends in high and low places…and he will get his just desserts. I had a helluva time finding the Kempinski…it was only my fluency in German that enabled me to finally find the Kempinski wandering about like a hungry Jude (Jew) in the bitterly cold & frosty night! Sehr Stressig! It was 1 degree Celsius in March in Wein! Ich wird wuetend! I thought: It is Fruehling but it feels like Winter!!!
At the dining table, I got acquainted with another guest, a nice and intriguing gentleman, born in England, but now residing in Hungary. He was the Doppelganger of the character played by Bill Nighy in the movie “Love actually”. Dressed completely in sinister black with unkempt shoulder length hair, he regaled the company with tales of his wild & wayward youth in Penang, West Malaysia, where as a dissolute drug taking hippie he was almost arrested by the undercover Drug Squad of the Royal Malaysian Police in a shock drug raid. He escaped by the skin of his teeth. I asked him how many ‘joints’ of marijuana (cannabis) he had smoked in the past and he replied nonchalantly waving his hands, “Hundreds!” The Company were shocked and fascinated simultaneously by his true confessions. As they say in Roma, “In vino veritas”.
A very good meal and fine wines really does wonders to calm a person down…
The atmosphere in Edvard is also very remarkably soothing and relaxing and sehr bequem (very comfortable). It is not noisy, but you can hear the happy chatter of diners at ease enjoying the fabulous food and winsome wines. My mood improved considerably…:-)
My delectable dinner started with…
a springy Kaninchen. The lean and delicious Rabbit flesh was spiked with beloved Japanese Yuzu citrus fruit for a lovely zesty flavour! It reminded me somehow of my favourite picture by that great Renaissance artist, Albrecht Duerer. His Meisterstueck (masterpiece), ,,Der Hase” is on display in the Albertina Museum, opposite the renowned Hotel Sacher. Remarkably beautiful though it is, one simply cannot eat ,,Der Hase”. However, you can savour the rabbit in Edvard and I strongly recommend it! Lean, healthy, tasty and soooo very good! Rabbit flesh is has a very fine texture. It went ‘iron hand in velvet glove’ with 2009 Austrian Tement Sauvignon Blanc. The terroir expressed itself in this lovely wine, so very different from the subtle Sauvignon Blancs of the Loire Valley or the over-expressive Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand.
DAZWISCHEN (in between)
Tullnerfelder Schweinebauch mit Kohlrabi und wilde Baerlauch! When the Germans are happy and have won something, they say: “Ich habe Schwein!” Literally ‘I have a pig!’ I felt just like that on savouring the lovely moist and tender, sexy pork belly. O Madonna! A dish to assassinate Assad of Syria for!
Im HAUPTGANG (as Main course)
Wienerwald Rind or ,,Wienerwald” Beef with Kohl (cabbage) in “Tandoori” style was most refreshing served on fine Dibben German porcelain. A nice fusion done well is not confusion BUT invigorating and stimulating. The juicy and flavoursome beef was really very good. Sleek and smooth 2009 Metzl Austrian Cuvee was a harmonious and balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and that most Austrian of grape varietals, namely Blaufrankisch…went down a treat with the moist meat and tangy cabbage.
One of life’s greatest pleasures is of course, DESSERT! Or Nachtisch in German. No meal is complete without a sweet and satisfying Finale!
It’s on FIRE! OMG! To kill for! Pyromaniac’s Delight!
Reisetbauer Austrian Whisky flambeed mit (with) Sauerrahm (sour cream) is simply outstanding. “We bring the sour cream sorbet and PUT it in the dessert!”, enthusiastic Executive Chef Philipp Vogel pronounced. Lovely blue flames danced and garnished the dish with a ring of fire! Another good one is the Strawberry & Rhubarb delight.
The Travelling Gourmet and dynamic Executive Chef Philipp Vogel in his spotless kitchen!
The Chef’s honest cooking style focuses on “Fresh Cuisine” – seasonal, light foods with a distinct and pure and clean taste. Local produce includes tasty meats like lamb and beef and fish from the lakes of Austria, creamy Alpine cheeses, organic butters and all natural core oils and the best indigenous products form the the focus of this ‘haute cuisine’ restaurant. I feel it is sure to be one of Vienna’s most famed restaurants in future for its enchanting eclectic Austrian cuisine with French and Tyrolean nuances.
The Kempinski hotel chain is owned by the Crown Property Bureau of Thailand which explains why Thailand’s royalty like to stay there when they are in Vienna.
Wahrer Genuss braucht nicht viele Zutaten! (It means in German: true flavours do not need many ingredients) 🙂
Edvard Restaurant has been awarded one Michelin Star not very long after it opened! Just as I expected…why am I not surprised…:-)
Hotel Kempinski Palais Hansen
Tel: +43 1 236 1000
Ambience **** Cuisine 4.5* Service 3.5*