Simply when you are in Austria, especially in Vienna, you can miss out on the opportunity on visiting one of the cafes. Cafes in Austria are not just a place for food and coffee but a way of life for the locals, the Austrians. If you need a good measure of Quality of Life, this is one way you can see how. As a local coffeeshop down the block of the public housing that I have back home here in Singapore, Cafes in Vienna are a good place of seeing how the Viennese life and pass by everyday. The rush every New Yorkers felt every work day when they take the subway to work. The buzzling and steam you felt at a teahouse in the morning in Hong Kong. The slow pace of life with whispers of chat over coffee and cakes in a Viennese cafe or the mens reading the papers over a dose of caffeine. They are a way of life around the world! One of the best place to experience the Viennese way is at Cafe Central Vienna.
Located right in the heart of the city. Right inside the ring and minutes away from the Hofburg and St Stephen lies Central Cafe Vienna. The name might seems ordinary but the glamorous interior and also the history seems to differ. The cafe first open in 1876 in the 19th century where it play host to many important people over the years which includes names like Alfred Polgar, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin. It was also a popular place for chess. The cafe closed at the end of World War II before reopening in 1975. Despite being renovated, being in the cafe still seems to be a little step into the past where guys were dress in tux and the ladies had their hats on them while sipping coffee.
Something that I really like about Cafe Central was it being a true representative of the cafe scene of Austria. Smart dressed waiter, you have it! Traditional dressed waitress, you have it! Grand chandelier, you have it! Impressive decor and ceilings, you have it! The place also have a great selections of meals and cakes. And without surprise, an impressive selection of coffee offerings. I believe this is why I am introducing this instead of the other cafes that I have visited in Austria. There was a slight queue when I visited around late morning on a weekday. The wait was not short since people are probably taking their time here, but it is not as ridiculous and so hype and touristy like Cafe Sacher! Handsdown I prefer this than to Cafe Sacher. The Sachertorte is also not as good as I perceive it to be. In fact, I easily spend at least 2 hours inside, even though I am alone. The pricing was also fair. Coffee drinks range around 4-5 Euros and cakes are around the same price as well. That makes for a decent high tea set of less than 10 Euros. If you are feeling a little peckish, there is a amazing 2 course set lunch on weekdays for 11.50 Euros which is perfect for value. In fact it is the cheapest meal I had in Austria and for this decor and quality. Speechless! Simply salivate at these delish cakes!
Do keep in mind that breakfast is served till 11.30 on weekdays and then 1pm on weekends. I guess smart casual will do the work, although the locals do seems to dress pretty well there. I had a little table by the cake display which was so perfect since those gorgeous slices of cakes prove to be the best company for my lunch. While waiting for the lunch menu to get going, I had a Wiener Melange to start! It cost 4.70 euros. It’s a Viennese style coffee with frothed milk. I like that the coffee is really robust and strong, even though it is a long pull, it does not seems to get diluted. It tasted like a cappuccino but less milk and packs a larger punch. The best part was the frothed milk that seems like whipped cream, but so light and feels much smooth. Nonetheless you shouldn’t find a bad cup of coffee in Vienna.
Time were burned quickly with the bulk of them spent snapping pictures and using my phone. I also had a quick look through the papers as well. After all, heh, I am in a Viennese Cafe, gotta act like it! The set lunch changes daily and is offered on weekdays only, excluding public holidays. It is super worth it since it cost only 11.50 Euros and comes with a soup in addition to the main dish. While there is not an option to choose the soup there are two options for the main dish. One of them would be more carbo oriented and the other being on the protein side. Here is the menu for the week that I visited.
Honestly, the price of the main dish is a good enough reason to come since, come on, where else can you find a main course for 11.50 Euros in Vienna at this caliber of a place. While the soup of the day is Beef bouillon with beef stuffed fritters, the waiter very kindly swap for a vegetarian option for me since I don’t take beef.
For my main, I took the Roaster Butter Fish with smoked risotto and brown butter foam. The name sounds very impressive, yea? I was even more impressive by the dish itself. It came two well seared steak of fish cushioned by the risotto! Then it had this little foam sauce around the dish. Frankly speaking, I did not know what Butter Fish was going into the meal but it turns out to be delish! It is a kind of white fish that is very sturdy very lean. Something like a white tuna I guessed? I expect the portion to be pretty small since the price is really affordable! But damn! Those two steaks were thick! I really like how the fish goes with the creamy risotto and the brown butter foam sauce just add to the savory and smoked charred tasted to the dish. The fish was also perfectly cooked with a nice little crust on the exterior. If I have to complain, I find the dish a tat too salty but the diner me, still polished off all of the sauce and everything. Perfect! It will be better if it comes with a wedge of lemon, I think the hint of lemon juice will kill of the heavy use of butter in it. I also did have a slice of cake after the meal, but I shall not share on it since the greedy me forgotten to take a picture of it before destroying the look!
Let me know how you all find Cafe Central Vienna. Come here! Trust me! Go for the set lunch and a cup of coffee. Try to keep yourself from going crazy at the cakes though! Check it out!