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Flavours of Salzburg

Flavours of Salzburg

G. Rouzeau - 2009-11-24

Italian or traditional, Balkan or modern, gastronomy in Salzburg offers great variety. Let's not forget that this Baroque gem and its music festivals attract several million visitors each year from all over the world! This cosmopolitanism is echoed in the cuisine.

 
For a city of this size, Salzburg is impressive both for the number of its restaurants and the variety of cuisines on offer: typical Austrian restaurants (such as the Salzachgrill), quality Italian restaurants (Venice is not far away) or Balkan restaurants whose kitchens are fragrant with paprika... A Baroque city that has remained untouched by the affronts of time, Salzburg is nevertheless not a museum-town for tourists: it welcomes culinary modernity and creativity (there is a considerable number of Michelin star-rated restaurants) as we were able to verify at Ikarus, Carpe Diem and Das Magazin, restaurants which are popular first and foremost with the locals.
 
Ikarus Restaurant, Hangar 7
 
Forbidden in France, millions of cans of the drink Red Bull are sold each year. This formidable cocktail of glucose, caffeine and taurine (an amino acid present in food and also synthesised by the body) has, since its launch in 1987, become the favourite drink of night-clubbers who want to dance all night long without dropping the pace.
 
Bolstered by his success, the boss of Red Bull, Salzburger Dietrich Mateschitz, spares no expense when it comes to getting his company talked about: he sponsors numerous sportsmen and women, and even maintains an F1 stable.
 
The man also finances the purchase and restoration of classic aeroplanes for his fleet, the Flying Bulls, which is on display at Hangar 7, a superb building of steel and glass in the shape of. a wing, of course. The place regularly hosts art exhibitions and the next one, Viva Pintura!, is devoted to young Spanish painters.
 
What has this got to do with gastronomy, you may ask. Well, between the transparent walls of Hangar 7 is the Ikarus, a star-rated restaurant whose unique "concept" is worth the trip. Set on the first floor and offering a magnificent view of Tito's DC-6B, the Ikarus has a different chef each month! Coming from Japan, Hong Kong or South Africa, the chef is welcomed at the Ikarus by an unusual trio consisting of Eckart Witzigmann, the boss, Manuel Lechner, the food and beverage manager, and Roland Trettl, chef de cuisine.
 
The Austrian team starts by importing the chef's favourite products, familiarising themselves with their dishes (with immense photographs displayed in the kitchen) and methods. When everything is ready, the guest chef comes to work for one week at the beginning of the month to carry out the launch, in situ, of their "name" and cuisine.
 
Among the chefs who have already honoured the Ikarus with their presence are Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Jean-Georges in New York), Carlo Cracco (two stars in Milan for his Cracko-Peck restaurant) and André Jaeger (one star for his Fischerzunft restaurant in Schaffhausen).
 
In February 2006, it was the chef from the restaurant of the MoMA in New York, Gabriel Kreuther (from Alsace), who was in charge of the kitchen. We enjoyed his carpaccio of scallops and tuna, his pan-fried langoustine served with a warm pear and truffle salad, his pigeon with foie gras with caramelised ginger sauce and baby vegetables, and his fromage blanc sorbet served together with a lemon cream millefeuille on a garnish of diced exotic vegetables.
 
In March the Indian chef Vick Singh, from The Cinnamon restaurant in London, will be presenting his culinary works. The special tandoori oven and spices sent directly from India have already arrived at the Ikarus.
 
Carpe Diem
 
Set at the end of Getreidegasse right in the heart of the old town, this trendy restaurant, which is simultaneously a bar, lounge and upmarket snack bar, is a temple of micro-gastronomy!
 
Indeed, the chef Jorg Wörther, an enfant terrible and terribly gifted on the Austrian gastronomy scene, cooks with cornets, the same as those used for ice cream. The difference being that those of the Carpe Diem are homemade and available in a multitude of flavours, in order to best accompany their contents.
 
And what contents! Tuna or beef tartare, fillet of lamb marinated in thyme, diced game with foie gras and morel mushrooms, grilled pheasant with cream of kohlrabi, sweet noodles with poppy seeds: there's nothing heavy, everything goes down well, and these micro-portions reveal a masterful touch.
 
As for the wine list, it is firmly anchored in Austria and deserving of praise. It looks good and tastes good, but watch out for the increase to your bill!
 
Das Magazin
 
Beautiful people, modern and functional decor, quality international cuisine: all the ingredients are there to make this former Second World War air raid shelter a fashionable place. We particularly liked the very large table (at least 20 m/65 ft long) in the main dining room where patrons, who don't know each other, happily mingle.
 
Working with the best products, the chef Markus Radauer uses land/sea combinations, blends Italian and Austrian cuisine (the Salzburgers go to Venice every weekend), and is always endeavouring to add a touch of madness to the most classical recipes, just to jazz them up a bit. Fun and tasty, pleasing to the eye and to the taste buds, the menu included a crayfish and langoustine duo, goose foie gras with roast peach, shoulder of veal braised in wasabi with vegetable ravioli, and caramelised pork cheeks served with monkfish. The wine list is sumptuous, with many Croat, Slovenian, Italian and of course Austrian wines.
 
Das Magazin is a global concept, which also encompasses a wine cellar, bookshop, boutique selling fresh products (Italian cheeses, condiments, dishes prepared in the restaurant's kitchens) and a shop selling cooking utensils - it is true that Markus Radauer gives highly prized cookery classes.
 
Salzach Grill
 
Part of the Hotel Sacher, the Salzachgrill is a favourite with Salzburgers, where families and senior executives from the surrounding area mingle at lunchtime. Pale wood panelling, green carpet with the Sacher's red coat of arms (surrounding the old O of the Osterreichischer Hof out of loyalty to tradition!) and pine tables are the setting for traditional Austrian cuisine, which is plain and cheap: spicy salmon marinade with whipped cream served with asparagus, goulash, fillet of perch with pumpkin, Wiener Schnitzel, and cakes straight from the neighbouring Café Sacher.
 
Fingerlos (cake shop - tea room)
 
Set in the modern town, frequented mainly by Salzburgers, this cake shop is showered with honours in Austria and abroad. Countless varieties of coffee, cappucino, caffe latte, hot chocolate and other beverages are available. The petits-fours (the Austrians use the French term) are delicious.
 
Practical Informations
 
Ikarus Restaurant, Hangar 7
Salzburg airport, Wilhelm-Spazier-Str. 7A, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43/662/2197
Hangar 7 also houses two bars, the Mayday and the 360° (made of glass, it is set at the top of the structure and is only open on special occasions), and the Carpe Diem Lounge, serving light meals from the kitchens of the Ikarus.
 
Carpe Diem
Getreidegasse,50, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43/662/8 488000
 
Das Magazin , Augustinerstrasse 30, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43/662/8 415840
 
Salzachgrill , Schwarzstrasse 5, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43/88 977556
 
Fingerlos , Franz-Josef-Strasse 9, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43/0662/874213
 

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