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Reserva Iberica This tapas bar serves the "Rolls Royce of hams".

Tuesday, July 12 2022
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Opening Times

Monday to Saturday: noon - 10:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm - 8:00pm

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Reserva Iberica by Paco

Wallnerstraße 5
1010 Vienna-district 1
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+43 1 89 03 785
.reservaiberica.at

Most pigs can only dream of a life like this. Each animal has one and a half hectares of free-range in the fields of Extremadura, which lies in southwestern Spain on the border with Portugal. One and a half hectares, that's just under two football fields. The pigs need this space to find enough food because they feed primarily - in the last months of their lives exclusively - on acorns.

Shining red and streaked with delicate veins of fat is the leg that ham master Roberto cuts open with his long knife in the Reserva Iberica Bar in the heart of Vienna. In 2018, the team set out to bring "Spain's best ham directly to Vienna". Conclusion: It's unlikely you'll find a better one in town than the one Roberto has in his hands.

The leg has that black claw that gave the ham its name: Pata Negra. In the meantime, however, cross-breeds also have this characteristic, which is why purebred Iberian acorn-fed pigs are now called Jamón Ibérico de Bellota.

Reserva Iberica Fotocredit Ina Aydogan (8)
Reserva Iberica Fotocredit Ina Aydogan (7)
Reserva Iberica Fotocredit Ina Aydogan (10)
Reserva Iberica Fotocredit Ina Aydogan (11)
Reserva Iberica Fotocredit Ina Aydogan (2)
Reserva Iberica Fotocredit Ina Aydogan (6)

Only this "Rolls Royce of hams", as manager Dominik calls it, goes under the knife in the Reserva Iberica Bar. Ten to twelve kilos of acorns, bellotas, are eaten by the animals every day during their peak. And because they first have to find them on the one and a half hectares, the pigs run around diligently.

The exercise, the life in the open air, the natural food rich in healthy fats and carbohydrates - all this ensures that the meat gets its unmistakable tender aroma and almost buttery consistency. "Fat is good," says Dominik, as long as it is well incorporated, as in the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota.

It is only cut by hand: the machine's rotation would compress the meat, and the flavour would become rancid due to the resulting heat. What looks so simple requires years of practice. Those who are good bring about 45 per cent to the plate as ham. Because "not a single gram of such a precious product is thrown away", the leftovers are made into croquettes.

Perfect, because what would a Spanish tapas bar be without deep-fried snacks? In addition to the croquettes, the menu also includes fantastic bocarones (marinated anchovies), fine olives and a degustación de queso. The classics - tortilla, pan con tomate and grilled pimientos de padrón - are of course not to be missed. But apart from that, it doesn't take much. The ham is the star of the evening.

To drink, there is a large selection of Spanish wines and all kinds of sparkling drinks. It's especially nice here in summer when the surrounding houses provide shade, and the windows are open. 

Then the tiny pub - the acorn pig would be horrified - is extended onto the street. The atmosphere is familiar due to the narrowness; you quickly start a conversation and can blatantly watch the master at work during the almost meditative ham slicing.

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Reserva Iberica – This tapas bar serves the “Rolls Royce of hams”.
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