Vienna is one of my favourite cities in Europe and it is not a surprise that it took the title of the World’s most liveable city for ninth consecutive year (as at Mar 18). My impression of Vienna from my first visit a couple of years ago was the opulence and grandeur of the palaces, spacious and safe public spaces and an efficient transport system. We had no problem getting around speaking English. We only stayed for two nights on our previous visit and it felt that there are so many things to do that we should return again to explore more.
Having dined in Steirereck Restaurant (undoubtedly one of the best restaurant in the city), we now opted to try out more casual food establishments for a taste of other traditional Viennese cuisine. Amongst which, the one that caught my attention was their renowned meat specialty – boiled beef, or tafelspitz, which was Emperor Franz Joseph‘s favourite dish.
Shortlisted Plachutta as they have a number of branches in Vienna and we visited their flagship restaurant in the first district (Inner Stadt) which is a short walk away from the landmark St Stephen’s Cathedral.
The boiled beef is available in 13 different variety depending on the cut of meat. There is a short description for each variety such as lean and low fat or juicy part of the shoulder etc. along with a diagram of a cow on the menu to show where each cut comes from.
We chose the Tafelspitz – world famous and the Gustostuckerl – three different pieces to choose lean or marbled, which I chose the marbled.
While waiting for our food to be served, the staff placed two warming trays on the table in preparation for the arrival of our two pots of boiled beef. First up was the Tafelspitz with one whole piece of rather lean meat was sitting inside the large copper saucepan filled with root vegetables and a piece of bone marrow. The waiter then scooped out the bouillon into our soup bowl which served as starter.
Frankly when I read that Tafelspitz is boiled beef, it didn’t sound appetizing. Afterall Asians often eat braised beef noodles which sounded much more flavourful than boiled beef. At first sight, the light and clear soup looked plain. However we fell in love with the soup after taking a sip as it was packed with flavours of the beef and sweetness of the root vegetables after long hours of simmering.
The marbled Gustostuckerl had more tendons and looked more juicy. Both the boiled beef were served with fried potato rosti.
Before tasting the meat, the instructions sheet showed that we should first spread the bone marrow onto the slice of toasted black bread and season with salt and pepper. So we did so dutifully. The rich beef bone marrow that is high in fat was an excellent spread over the crusty toast.
Here comes the highlight of the meal – the tender and almost melt-in-your-mouth beef. I was thinking smugly that I made the right choice to choose the marbled cut compared to the tafelspitz (rump) which was lean cut with little fat, which can make it less tender. To my surprise, when I tried the rump cut, it was equally tender.
By the end of our meal, the broth from one of the pots was all slurped up while another left with about 20%. It was our first proper eat out dinner after having humble home-cooked meals up on the ski slopes; and this was extremely satisfying and nourishing!
I certainly enjoy Tafelspitz more than the widely known Wiener Schnitzel.
Earlier Photos Taken:
Second time seeing the St Stephen’s Cathedral and still impressed by its colourful tiles on the roof.
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