Two brothers focus on attention to detail and first-rate service in Werfen
By Mark Honan
The culinary jewel of Werfen—and, some would say, in the whole of Austria—is this restaurant, serving up creative gastronomic transformations of standard Austrian dishes. Meals can be taken either in the shaded garden or in one of several connected interior spaces. Wherever you eat, you'll get attention to detail, top service, and best of all, fabulous food.
Brothers Karl and Rudolf Obauer have traveled widely, and have absorbed ideas and cooking methods from all over the world, but particularly from Asia. They take their food very seriously, but are open to a bit of humor too: the brothers' comically elongated chef's hats have inspired the logo for the restaurant.
Main courses cost €24-36, or you can opt for a multi-course menu (choice of several, for around €32-55), as I did. The brothers have a knack for combining unusual elements but making it work. Trout, for example, is not often presented as a strudel, but it is here. Served with a mushroom puree, it's both light and flavorful. Stuffed duck is an array of taste experiences, with sweet, sour and savory ingredients complementing rather than battling. Desserts, like most of the other dishes, are a work of art on the plate. It seems a shame to tuck into them and spoil the symmetry, but I didn't spot anybody hanging back from doing so.
My one small criticism is that they can be too elaborate. The following morning, still replete from my rich and varied feast the night before, I requested a breakfast of scrambled eggs. I expected and wanted a simple dish to cleanse my palate, but what I got was another surfeit of strong flavors, my eggs arriving mixed with an overpowering accompaniment of chives, other pungent herbs and assorted greenery. I felt that was a bit much for breakfast. I suppose, though, that when you have so many good culinary ideas bubbling over in your minds and saucepans, it's difficult to reign in your creativity. Even for scrambled eggs.
Rating: Quality 18/20, Value 14/20