Straight Line Classic Viennese Cuisine
Michelin restaurant Walter Bauer is atiny restaurant hidden in a charming narrow street in old Vienna. It is lending itself for a triumphal discovery of a ‘hidden restaurant gem’. The traditional Viennese restaurant has been much hailed by locals, travellers, the media and food guides. As my husband and I storm the restaurant 20 minutes after the time of our reservation, we fall into a cosy dark pink painted room and almost into the arms of Walter Bauer and the waiter. While I am bubbling about difficulties obtaining a parking ticket, we are guided to one of the small white-linen covered tables next to a dark wood panelled wall.
We order from the small menu of mostly Austrian dishes with a European twist and study the antique vaulted ceilings (a former wine cellar, or a garage for horse carriages?), flower and landscape engravings and paintings, and dark pink curtains. The amuse-bouche makes me laugh: Leberkaese with mustard was the last thing I had expected in Michelin restaurant Walter Bauer. While the idea of offering a rustic dish sold at local butchers’ and sausage stands is original, its presentation is less so. My winterly green leafy salad with Balsamico vinegar topped with a long bread stick is fresh and tastes as it should, as is my husband’s celery cream soup.
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The subsequent turbot arrives in a nice arrangement with beetroot, basilicum and green gnocchi, a well prepared and fitting combination. My husband’s duck breast with polenta has equally done its job: the products used are first class, it is well cooked and tastes nice. I start to wonder whether its ambitious star chef Tommy R. Moebius, a meticulous fiddler known for his forwardness, has decided to take it easy. (He left Michelin restaurant Walter Bauer in July and was replaced by well trained chef Mike Feierabend as I learn later on.)
My selection of five cheeses arrives: Again, the bare essentials are done well, the cheeses are soft and cover a spectrum of different flavours. I remember times when cheese was accompanied by nuts or fruit to spark your taste buds, and I remember Michelin restaurant Steirereck‘s overwhelmingly tempting carts of dozens of cheeses and crispy fresh breads.
The selection of wines dwarfs the menu by far and is full of specialties and some rarer wines. Walter Bauer, a wine connoisseur and gifted oenologist, provides excellent advice on the best wines to choose with our dinner selection.
The restaurant team manages to hold back their Viennese charm and extra levels of customer engagement. Everyone is keen to do their homework, servicing guests and dishing up food and drink, and they do get it all done well.
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My conclusion: Michelin restaurant Walter Bauer is a good choice for no-frills gourmets who prefer straight-line, honest classic dishes and who are not up for surprises on their plates, whether good or bad. The same ‘It Is What It Is’ goes for the interiors which are cosy, Viennese style but don’t distinguish between traditional and dated. Likewise, but very comfortingly, the restaurant bill does not stand out, even though we did enjoy great wine.
Price: (3 courses) approximately EUR 80 (excluding drinks)
Location: Sonnenfelsgasse 17, A-1030 Vienna (use map of Vienna to locate address)