Saturday, December 22, 2012

Konditorei Oberlaa, Vienna

Getting back to the whole 'cafe' thing, and more particularly the Konditorei or confectionery aspect of it, here's Oberlaa. We saw this place on our first night, opposite the Christmas tree seller in Neuer Markt (and I love creatively misinterpreting German, so this makes me wonder where der Older Markt is). Then it turned out to be in our guide book, which meant there were flocks of Japanese girls there, and annoyed waiters hovering over them. You can say one thing for the Viennese, they don't stint on showing their irritation. I forgot to take an exterior picture. Sorreez.

Closest I got to an exterior shot was the winter marzipan display in the window. Inside, I didn't fail to take pictures of the macaron piles, nor the cakes. No ordering fails from not looking at the case this time, nosirree. I was particularly attracted to the chestnut concoction in the bottom pictures, as was someone.
Being a fan of all things European, someone was horrified that I was eager to order a Budweiser with my lunch. I'm pretty sure this was the first Budweiser I've ever had, and someone was a bit mollified when she learned that it's a (let me check the bottle again) 700 year old Czech brewer. It's decent if obviously mass-produced - like I bet Pilsner Urquell is, and I used to love that stuff. Hmmm, maybe today's lunch...
Perhaps another ordering fail now that I think of it, someone's beef broth with a mix of additions (semolina dumpling, bits of beef, thin noodles, tiny vegetables) was tasty. Soups are really good here. But did we really need savory dishes?
And in particular, did I need this vegetable strudel (with a lovely parsley-cream sauce) whose most notable feature was the peculiarly 'thawed' taste of the diced vegetables? Seriously, I'm pretty sure this cafe, which prides itself on the fresh and natural ingredients it uses in its pastries, is cutting a corner and using frozen vegetable mix in the strudel. At least it wasn't succotash.
You'd love the ambiance here. I still haven't gotten used to the 'walk in and sit anywhere without informing the staff' thing that you're supposed to do in Vienna, but once you're positioned you'll quickly notice that there aren't that many tourists, and most people seem genuinely like locals meeting for lunch. Rich locals. Locals that can afford to live in inner (old) city Vienna and wear fur coats and hats. Locals that could carry lap dogs, if they had a mind to. Locals engaged in lively and pleasant conversation, coming and going in a way that creates a really nice buzz.

So I had a nice buzz form the Bud, and ordered a Franziskaner - top left, not a beer but actually pretty close to what you'd call a Vienna Coffee in America - lots of whipped cream. Going around the horn, we have a tolerable apple strudel (big, a bit dry, not very sweet, swimming in custard), that delicious chestnut tart (Maron Obers Torte, I think it was), and, order fail, the Himbeer Torte - mostly raspberries in raspberry jelly, but not the chocolate-covered, non-Sacher raspberry torte we were trying to get.

So: Skip lunch. Order carefully. Decent cakes and nice-looking chocolates at their 10 locations, but I think the hunt is on.

Holiday closures permitting.
Phone: 01/513 29 36-0

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