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The Hotel Sans Souci Genussabend is a unique chance to try gourmet local products made by their expert chef in an elegant setting – here’s how we enjoyed the night!
The liquid in the glass was as fragrant as wine, but a richer, golden colour, lighter in texture than maple syrup or honey, but thicker than expected, not something I would think to drink on its own. My instinct was to sniff, swirl and dip a finger into the glass to taste. But to drink this straight? That seemed…against all my better instincts.
And yet – everyone in the small but perfectly appointed dining room was sipping delicately from their glasses.
It would be rude not to, right?
Stefan nodded at me encouragingly across the intimate dining table, complete with immaculate white tablecloth, urging me to try.
Blushing in embarrassment from being so terribly uncultured, I sniffed the glass again tentatively. It had a nutty scent with almost peppery-sweet undertones. Ignoring years of trained habit, scrunching my eyes closed and hoping for the best, I swilled the golden thick liquid.
The hazelnut oil slid down my throat like…well like sipping oil straight from the glass.
Let’s back up a little, to find out how, exactly, we ended up sipping tasters of straight oil on a Friday night in Vienna….
Genussabend at Hotel Sans Souci Vienna
As part of my freelance travel writing work for Lonely Planet and Forbes Travel, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to peek inside some of the best luxury hotels of Vienna recently – which is how I came to learn more about the absolutely gorgeous Hotel Sans Souci and their Genussabend events in the restaurant, Veranda.
The hotel itself deserves a write-up of its own, and if I get the chance to stay in one of their rooms, I will definitely share it with you guys. Suffice to say, the hotel more than lives up to its 5 star reputation and is definitely one to stay at, if you are looking for a more boutique luxury experience in Vienna. It’s much more modern and fun as compared to all the ‘traditional’ style hotels in the city.
I must have walked past the corner restaurant and purple lit building by the Museums Quartier a hundred times, but never thought to pop in before my initial visit in January. There are so many incredible places in Vienna just like that, I’m sure, hiding in plain sight! In the case of the Veranda restaurant, I knew after seeing the inside bar and menus that I wanted to take Stefan there for a date night, to experience the quality food and atmosphere.
In late February, we were pleased to experience one of the regular Genussabend event evenings hosted at the Veranda restaurant, where local product makers, from nearby farms and suppliers, create a 4-course menu to be enjoyed with wine and gourmet food.
Over the last few months they have hosted some pretty interesting event menus – a craft beer theme with Brauwerk Wien, a ‘nose to tail’ evening with local bio butcher & grazer Labonca Biohof and a ‘traditional Gansl menu with a twist’ hosted by the vinegar and spirit experts Manufaktur Golles, from Styria.
Knowing the content and menus of the last few events, we were pretty excited to see what our date night theme would really be like.
All about the oils baby
When our Friday finally rolled around, we were intrigued to see how a 4-course menu with a theme of ‘oils’ would be.
Fandler öle were our hosts for the evening and I’m not going to lie to you guys, I never, ever thought oil was good for much more than drizzling on salad, mixing into pasta, or warming a pan to flip pancakes.
That might say more about my culinary skills than the relative merits of oil, but the point is, I really truly didn’t realize there were so many subtle varieties of oil, and how many ways it could be used to make delicious and different kinds of meals.
The main reason I learned all about this, was not just from eating the different meals we were served (more on those in a minute), but from our host for the evening.
Have you ever met those people who just absolutely nerd out completely about the topic they are most passionate about in the world? And listening to them is kind of contagious, because they are so so enthusiastic about their *thing* that you all of a sudden think, ‘hey yeah you’re right sea slugs/quilting/roccoco furniture IS really cool!’
Even if you never had any prior interest, their absolute love of their topic rubs off on you. That’s what it was like hearing about oil from our host.
I never in my life thought I would give a shit about oil, and how oil is made, and what goes into the process, and how it can change the nature of your dish. But we listened to this lovely guy nerd out so hard about oil, with so much pure joy he wanted to share, that it was impossible to resist.
That was one hugely unexpected thing from the Sans Souci Genussabend event – we actually learned a lot, aside from enjoying delicious meals! So thanks, Mr Fandler Oil man for sharing your nerdy passion and dedication to oil with us, because now, we’re looking at becoming total bougie white folk, who tour wineries and oil making farms in the summertime – with genuine nerdy excitement.
It may be the most middle-class thing ever, but knowing the difference between hanf oil and seeing a macadamia oil press shell as our serving platter, was genuinely interesting, so we’ll add that to our ever-growing list of ‘things we now enjoy because we’re in our thirties and like nice stuff!’
The 4-course Meal
While enjoying all this juicy info about oil, we were of course also there to eat and try the dishes.
Le Menu looked promising….
Before the first dishes were served, we had some fresh bread and naturally, spreads made with Fandler oils on the table – ours was a kurbisoil spread that was frankly, addictive and had us clearing out the bread tray in minutes.
Then the real deal – our first course was a creamy bearlauch soup with kurbisoil, followed by a very fancy ‘Austrian Caviar’ dish.
The soup was honestly quite creamy, which buried the oil flavours a little, but quite delicious. The house chef in Veranda restaurant is half French, half-British so the love of creamy soup textures is baked in.
The caviar dish though, was a real surprise, drizzled with Leindotteroil, it had a really strong, but good aftertaste. Of course, because this is still Austria, it was resting on a bed of mashed potato – but very excellent mashed potato!
The next course was the most interesting for me, as it paired Hanföl, an oil I hadn’t heard of until that night (uncultured swine!) with delicious creamy burrata cheese and endive salad.
The Hanf oil was really good enough as a stand-alone flavour, and we dipped our bread into it just to appreciate the taste, but anytime you add Italian cheese to a dish it just goes up a notch, right? Naturally, it was devoured in minutes.
This was surprisingly filling for what looks like a small salad, and we loved the completely unexpected rich but sharp flavours. Hanf oil is definitely one I’d be interested in cooking with more (yes, you read that right, I’m even considering cooking more…I’ve changed guys #thisis30).
The centrepiece meal was this deliciously rich and perfectly cooked roast beef, paired with Hazelnut oil, broccoli and polenta. By this stage, we were preeeeettty full, not going to lie, but when someone puts a piece of meat that delicious in front of you, it must be eaten.
And so it was.
Finally, we rounded out our dessert dish with a pavlova type parfait, paired with mascarpone topping and dabs of mohnoil. Again I think the light oil flavours got overpowered slightly by the richness of the creamy mascarpone, but we dipped and tried just the mohnoil flavour alone and it was superb as a standalone.
Overall – I was bloody impressed that you could make a 4-course menu of entirely different, creative and delicious meals around the theme of the kitchen basic – oil. Who knew!
Date Night Rating
Aside from the creativity of the dishes, one thing we really enjoyed about the night was the atmosphere, the service and the way the staff at Veranda were able to make you feel comfortable, welcome and anticipated your needs.
A lot of people whine about service in Vienna, but honestly, every single team member in that restaurant was genuinely lovely and helpful, ready with a smile and a wine bottle in hand to top you up if needed.
The excellent service meant we relaxed into the evening a little more. I might have mentioned it a few times before, but because Stefan and I have both worked for years in hospitality and tourism, we tend to be hyper-aware of the quality and smaller details when visiting restaurants and hotels. Not in a massively judgey way (ok, not on my side, but watching Stefan rant about shitty service or food is my current fave YouTube channel idea!) but you do notice the difference between genuinely good service and restaurants half-assing it.
For us, when we can sit back and relax knowing we are in capable hands for the evening, its a lot more enjoyable. That was the case with Veranda’s Genussabend, and in my mind it really made up for a couple of experiences we’ve had in Vienna where we paid top dollar for meals and received really, really sub-par service.
As far as a date night activity, the Genussabend was great!
If you are foodies or curiosity couples like us, this event is perfect, for a few reasons.
First, it keeps you guessing about what meal is coming next, secondly, there is a lot to chat about, as the hosts share information about their products in a really fun natural way (no hard sales push, just sharing their passion). Lastly well, there’s the necessary food and wine ingredients for a fun date night.
Overall we had a fun, informative and classy Friday night out together. Not much more you could ask for as a date night in my books!
The price tag is hefty though, so this might be one to treat your partner to for a gift, or take your parents along as a special occasion. It’s not something we would do monthly, but definitely an experience to share as a once off.
- When: You can find the details of the next Genussabend event at Hotel Sans Souci by clicking here
- How to get there: Hotel Sans Souci and the Veranda restaurant are right beside the Volktheater Ubahn and 49 tram stop by the Volkstheater
- Price: €98 per person gets you the 4-course meal, info sessions from producers, all accompanying drinks and access to small private dining area and exclusive crowd. On the night we visited it seemed like an interesting and creative crowd of people so worth the price overall as a one-off treat date night.
- Dress Code: We went quite smart casual. I was in a slinky dress and heeled boots, Stefan in his collared shirt and classic chinos. The rest of the crowd had similar style.
- Age range: Quite mixed, some couples in their 40’s – 60, a few young professionals like us and even a family table with a girl of about 10, so as long as you are behaving appropriately to the 5-star setting, it’s quite open.
We were very grateful for the invitation from Hotel Sans Souci to enjoy their fabulous Genussabend and look forward to returning to Veranda restaurant for more romantic and delicious date nights!
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