You just have to visit Vienna, not just for the sights, but for the food!
It has a lot of Michelin Stars for one city and a lot of great restaurants offering the worlds entire cuisine inventory.
History is told everywhere about the Austrian/Hungarian connection brought about by Sisi and her love of Hungary where, in addition to being Empress of Austria, she eventually became queen.
So we decided to seek out the best authentic Hungarian culinary experience we could find before leaving this wonderful city.
We had heard that the locals eat at an establishment called Mini…. I know, a bizarre name, but certainly easy to remember.
It lies just a mile and a half from the Hofburg Palace accessible by underground, tram or by foot stands in an area past the Nachtsmarket, another tourist hot spot. This is where authenticity lives.. something that is lost along the well worn tourist trail.
We were shown to a table in the garden by Chris our Hungarian well spoken waiter. I love the attire of smart black trousers, long black apron, white shirt, black tie and black braces. With sleeves rolled up it gave a feeling of professionalism and knowledge, something he definitely had.
His confidence in what he recommended, along with suggestions of wines to accompany various courses was impressive.
I have never been to a restaurant with such a huge variety of wines to choose from sold by the glass! The cellars here must be massive, but this was to our delight as Chris was able to introduce us to an array of distinctly individual quality Hungarian wines.
Firstly I had never tasted wines from Hungary, secondly I did not know that they actually made any wines and thirdly Chris informed me that this was because only 5% of Hungarian wines are actually exported. Another great reason to try this restaurant.
As we were here to try Hungarian cuisine we decided to share a couple of starters, commencing with the Goose liver brûlée.
Ok I have tasted Goose liver before … but not like this! It was smooth, almost creamy with a caramelised top and dressed with basil crisps.
We tasted the aubergine dip too which is worthy of a mention, followed by a sampling of Hungarian Soup that had small pieces of meat, veg and potato in a warm paprika based soup, just classic!
Chris described one of the most popular dishes in the restaurant to be the duck breast. Sounded impressive from his description, but all too often duck is so often over rated, being tough or lacking in flavour.
Let me make this very clear.. this was the best duck I have ever tasted. It was succulent, prepared with skill, full of flavour and cooked to perfection.
Our main courses were the Salmon Trout and the Rack of Lamb, both beautifully cooked and presented as expected in such a top quality restaurant.
At 10pm we were asked to retire into the main restaurant from outside due to local rules. Actually the temperature was dropping now and sensing the chill in the air, one of the waiters offered a much appreciated blanket to my wife to place around her shoulders… nice touch.
The interior of Mini is quite small on the ground floor, but as we got chatting to Alex, who turned out to be the owner he informed us that in fact there was more seating downstairs.
Vienna offers something for everyone and exploring this city is essential if you’re from out of town or not, but whatever your taste in food, place the Mini restaurant right at the top of your list for somewhere great to eat.
Whilst eating in the garden we spoke to the five people at the table next to us. We got chatting with them and I asked where they came from and what they did for a living. They were all speaking English and turned out to be from different countries from around the world, all working in different departments at the United Nations.
I asked why, given all the places in Vienna that they could eat, why did they choose Mini. The answer… “because it’s definitely the best Hungarian restaurant in Vienna.”
If you’re interested in booking this fab place or just want to look at the menu you can always visit the Restaurant Mini website.