Steirereck nestles in a Vienna park, and has an elaborately decorated dining room with well-spaced tables and plenty of natural light. The tables had particularly fine white linen tablecloths and napkins.My four course lunch menu was priced at EUR 49. The wine list has a wide choice from Austria, as well as a smattering of foreign options, though there are few wines under EUR 50. Antinori Tignanello 2006 was listed at EUR 150 for a wine that will set you back around EUR 59 in the shops, while at the upper end of the list Marques de Murrietta 1970 was EUR 180 for a wine that costs around EUR 60 if you could find it, and the divine Guigal La Mouline 1998 was EUR 640 for a wine that costs EUR 300 retail.Breads are bought in from five separate bakeries, and a wide selection of bread is the result.I enjoyed a sourdough loaf and a bacon roll, while a ciabatta with pepperoni and sheep cheese was surprisingly spicy (bread 16/20 on average).
Nibbles were a somewhat curious collection: red cabbage cream between two tuiles, baked apple in almonds, braised goose with figs and pink pepper and a bread stick flavoured with orange and black pepper. These were certainly well made, though I found the mix of sweet and savoury a little disconcerting (15/20). A warm artichoke salad consisted of artichokes marinated and poached in white wine, coriander and lemon grass, diced artichokes sautéed with thyme, an artichoke emsulsion and a herb salad. This was very pretty, and the Asian flavours in particular added an unusual and refreshing touch (17/20).
Next I had a classic goulash, cubes of lean beef braised in a paprika and rich tomato sauce. Here the beef was very tender, the tomato sauce having deep flavour, the dish accompanied by a little toasted bread wrapped around leek and pumpkin. This was a hearty and impressive dish, with lovely full flavours coming through (17/20).
I was pleasantly surprised to see schnitzel on a menu at such a restaurant. The thinly sliced veal escalope is tenderised with a meat hammer, then coated with flavour egg and bread crumbs, and fried in clarified butter, served with parsley potatoes. The batter was very light and a world away from the crude version I had eaten the night before at a much more basic restaurant. The schnitzel was dusted with a little parsley powder and rubbed with frozen lemon juice at the table. The veal was excellent, the potatoes very carefully cooked; although this is a very simple dish, here it was elevated to a higher level through the superior ingredients and careful technique (17/20).
A warm damson tart had lovely pastry and nicely acidic damson plums, served with a pair of damson marinated in damson juice and filled with a centre of almond brittle. Alongside was a vanilla and saffron ice cream that had been glazed with a damson juice and port reduction. Saffron is a tricky flavour; if overused it can add a slightly unpleasant metallic taste to a dish, but here it was discernible but controlled (17/20). Finally, raspberry soufflé showed good technique and plenty of raspberry flavour, emptied out from its dish and served with fresh raspberries surrounded by a ring of crisp tuiles; the tuiles were a good idea, adding a welcome texture contrast to the soufflé (17/20).
The chef is Heinz Reitbauer, and his wife Brigit runs the front of house. I found all the waiting staff to be very good, both efficient and friendly. I particularly liked the fact that they were serving Austrian food here, rather than defaulting to French dishes; apparently the evening menu is rather more French in nature, but the Austrian classic dishes are still available of you ask for them. The bill per person, with three glasses of wine was EUR 88, admittedly at lunch. I found this a most enjoyable experience.