Old Vienna, Torquay

Hearty central European comfort food and between-course yodelling at this unique Alpine-style restaurant win over Rosanna Rothery

Sublime slow-cooked duck, steaming veal goulash and tender pheasant – if you’ve a hankering for perfectly cooked Viennese comfort food then put this bijou restaurant on your must-visit list.

Austrian-born Werner Rott’s cooking style references his homeland, as well as neighbouring countries such as Switzerland, Hungary and Germany, and utilises the oven and sous vide to let their mellowing magic transform local meat, fish and game.

VISIT if you believe that food should be a source of hearty, warming pleasure. Werner’s life’s work is to create authentic dishes where each ingredient is judged by flavour rather than fanciness. The result is rich and tasty fare with an emphasis on local game, home-cured meats and sweet specialities like pancakes, dumplings and linzer torte (the oldest cake recipe in the world).

DON’T VISIT if a mightily meaty menu (everything from black pudding to wild boar) isn’t your groove. That said, diners will find some intriguing-sounding veggie alternatives at Old Vienna Restaurant such as kohlrabi schnitzel, and peppers stuffed with wild mushroom couscous.

WE LIKED the chance to sample an often overlooked cuisine in an unpretentious setting (the restaurant has a low-key family-run vibe) with dishes crafted around traditional recipes. It’s a rare pleasure to be able to swap prevailing Mediterranean-dominated menus for one that’s from central Europe and try classics like wiener schnitzel (a veal escalope in breadcrumbs with lemon, anchovies and capers) and apfelstrudel (apples baked under a delicious shortcrust pastry).

And there’s occasional entertainment too: it’s not unheard of for Werner to pop out of the kitchen during service to regale guests with raucous anecdotes about his medal-winning schnapps-distilling ancestors – or indulge in a spot of yodelling.

What we ate (dinner)

Starter

Sauteed sliced venison and wild boar with apple sausages on creamy sauerkraut

Main

Roasted monkfish with roasted vine tomatoes, saffron-infused fish velouté, wild garlic pesto, chorizo

Pud

Classic Viennese warm chocolate and almond sponge cake, chocolate sauce, whipped cream

 

From £23.60 per person

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