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Glasswing A culinary butterfly has landed

Wednesday, October 04 2023
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Opening Times

Tuesday to Saturday: 6:00pm - 11:00pm

Address

Restaurant Glasswing
Kärntner Ring 8
1010 Vienna-district 1
.How to get there

Contact

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+43 1 221 22 12
.www.glasswing-restaurant.com

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Long-awaited, it finally happened in spring 2023: the luxury hotel The Amauris opened its doors on Vienna's Ringstraße. Fortunately, you don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy Alexandru Simon's creations. The young chef of the adjoining restaurant Glasswing - named after the butterfly of the same name with transparent wings - mixes regional dishes with delicacies from our neighbouring countries. Sometimes classic, sometimes unusual, always surprising.

The love of detail, the fun of playing with conventions, is already evident at the table setting: the bread knives rise into the air like dancing sculptures. A small magnet built into the handle makes it possible. The renovation of the magnificent Ringstrasse building into the luxury hotel The Amauris, which houses the Glasswing restaurant on the ground floor, took almost two years. Chef Alexandru Simon spent almost as long working on the culinary concept.

In his early 30s, he has already had a remarkable career, has cooked in renowned restaurants all over the country, made it to 23rd place among Austria's best chefs and won this year's election for "Newcomer of the Year". Yet he seems modest and beams when he talks about the year and a half of preparations, about the search for the best ingredients: King crabs and scallops, Wagyu and truffles, mushrooms from the Austrian forests and tomatoes from winemaker Michael Andert from Burgenland.

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From these, Alexandru Simon and his team create a changing seven-course menu. In addition, a constant menu offers the best of the best: Austrian caviar, Danube lamb, and seasonal produce from the local vegetable garden. His favourite on this late summer evening: course three, the mushroom tartelette. "Inspired by a walk in the forest, where you always discover something new. I wanted to recreate that with the different layers."

The kitchen at Glasswing is completely visible. Smooth as clockwork, almost wordless, Alexandru Simon and his kitchen crew work. The chef also takes time for a short chat with the guests. While we are still admiring the interior and sipping the aperitif, a creamy rosé champagne, the first greetings from the kitchen are already on the table.

Small works of art, almost too beautiful to eat, they steal the show from the equally artistic interior. The restaurant was designed by Croatian designer Nikola Arambasic, who was also responsible for the hotel's interior design: in keeping with the historical heritage, but still light-hearted and modern. In the Glasswing, muted colours meet magnificent chandeliers, and gold-framed oil paintings hang on the wood-panelled walls - all originals from the past two centuries.

But now, back to the appetisers, which are almost a menu in themselves: Alexandru Simon serves savoury macarons - they should be served much more often! - A mini-mille-feuillle claimed by Tatar, which seems to consist of a thousand layers, beetroot soup and seasonal vegetables - quite puristic because good products don't need much.

There are so many flavours and taste sensations, and yet we're just getting started with the first course! King crab with crunchy, finely chopped beans is followed by a scallop, accompanied by barberries, swimming in a foamy lake of savoy cabbage.

The bread course, called bread breaking here, is a menu in itself: there are four varieties, all homemade, of course, plus two kinds of butter that look as if the chef has been playing with sand moulds.

After taking a walk through the forest and saying hello to autumn and its pumpkin splendour, the grand finale is a pink roasted entrecote of Wagyu beef, streaked with delicate veins of fat, like the marble in the entrance hall. "Meat praline," I note, "like eating a cloud," says my companion. He's just learning German and often searches for words, but I think his description sums it up pretty well.

The wine accompaniment, which is available on request with the menu, makes a detour to Croatia at this point. The focus is generally on local and French wines, including many natural wines, which is still the exception, at least in Austrian fine dining.

The favourite is a lovely, slightly salty white from the Loire Valley. We get a Pinot Blanc Champagne in the glass for pre-dessert, which goes wonderfully with this vegetable-based, subtly sweet plate: Carrot, buttermilk, tarragon.

Of course, there is also a "classic" dessert: a dream team of deep dark chocolate and plum. And, of course, we are not dismissed without a few final sweet bites. Again, they are imagined with loving attention to detail and are almost too beautiful to eat. But also irresistible, and therefore - the souvenir photo taken - nibbled with a bite.

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