Tag Archives: Austria

Chez Nico in Innsbruck, Austria. Pure vegetarian bliss!

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Hey everyone and first, a big SORRY for being so blog-lazy the last few weeks. As those of you who also live in the South might confirm, summer is always a bit crazy, full of visitors and travels and if you ever have some time off you rather spend it on the beach than in front of a computer. Anyways, I hope you all had a great summer, too – it’s good to be back!

Today I have to, yes I say HAVE TO on purpose, share my incredible culinary highlight of this week, if not the month with you. My work for SOS Children’s Villages sometimes brings me to my hometown Innsbruck in Austria. Every time I go, my stay is packed with work, meeting family and friends and also one regular date with my old friend A, a food lover himself. A and me have a pact. We promised each other some months ago to, first, always meet when I come to Innsbruck and, second, spoil ourselves with a gorgeous dinner in one of the best restaurants in town. Our choice for the second time in a row was Chez Nico, a restaurant which used to be French but changed it’s direction a while ago to strictly vegetarian due to the beliefs of the owner and chef, Nico himself.

What can I say?? Places like Chez Nico are the reason why I call myself a food lover. I definitely don’t mind to spend some money on food if it’s worth it. Often it’s sadly not the case… but not at Chez Nico. The food offers all which makes a foodie’s heart beat faster… it’s creative, totally unusual, sometimes crazy and is always made with ingredients coming from sustainable sources of best quality.  The different dishes have a twist, combine the normal with the abnormal and offer the wildest experiences through different textures, colors and temperatures.  The restaurant itself is small and cosy, yet cool and simple at the same time. The last key to success of winning my heart is the staff. Nico himself is not only an artist in the kitchen, he’s truly inspiring and ahead of his time (changing from a typical French restaurant to a purely vegetarian restaurant in a city like Innsbruck speaks for itself!). Often he joins you for a chat after finishing in the kitchen and you end up having the most amazing conversations with him and the super friendly main waiter Manni. Also their wines are excellent, served with a carafe of Tyrolean water, what else can you wish for?

There is always one set menu of 7 courses, all light and yummy so better don’t skip courses – it’s definitely worth the price of 60 euros. Chez Nico also offers a lunch menu with two courses at 13 ,50 eur which are a  great way to start the experience or if you work nearby (which I unfortunately don’t).

But enough talk, check out last time’s creations to get a picture yourself….

Chez Nico

Pics from left to right, top to bottom:

Japanese Aubergine with Kombu, Miso, Kuzu and Yuzu

Roasted Beetroots with blackberries, soy sauce, lavendar and horse radish

Ash & Coal with truffles, porcino mushrooms, almonds and hazelnuts

Forest refreshment espuma of Swiss pine, swiss pine & cranberry powder and cranberry granita

Plum & Cabbage with elderberries and tarragon

Tagliatelle of black salsify with lapsang souchong tea, blueberries, nettles and tasmanian pepper

Tobinambour & Honey with beer, bergamot and toffee

To the whole team of Chez Nico: keep up the great work! I hope enough food lovers will find you to show you the appreciation you deserve ❤

Love from Malta,
Nadine xx

Some lovely photos and more info on their website http://www.chez-nico.at/fotogalerie/

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‘ wurstnudeln’ a simple but delicious pasta.

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Do you also hate it to throw away left overs? I really do and that’s why I always try to make out something nice of things left over from a party or a meal. Recently a friend brought some nibbles which were little skewers of cheese, fruit, sausages and ham. Funnily everybody ate the cheese and fruit but not the meaty stuff. So what to do with all these little pieces of smoked ham and the mini sausages? Then I had a great idea – and I just knew my BF would love it too.. it’s more of a male dish, but every now and then I enjoy it too…


In Austria we call it ‘Wurstnudeln’ (pasta with sausages’). You fry a big onion slowly in olive oil and a knob of butter, cut all the left overs of cut meat or sausages (even after a BBQ etc) and add it to the fried onions. What’s really nice is to add a fresh fennel bulb which is cut in very thin slices. This is a thing Italians do in a similar dish but they use Salsiccia instead of the ham and sausage leftovers. Add a gulp of white wine (leftovers in opened bottels are perfect for cooking too!) and let it simmer a bit on low to medium heat. Add some pepperoncino, sea salt and fresh herbs if you have, e.g. parsley comes really nice..  you’ll see it just smells divine!

In the meantime coo the pasta (small ones as Gnocchetti Sardi, Farfalle or Fusilli are perfect) al dente, strain and add them directly into the pan with the fried onion – ham mix. Stir a bit so the pasta can soak up all the yummy juices and enjoy with some grated cheese on top. Lovely with a green salad!

Buon appetito!

Vienna – Always a culinary pleasure.

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As much as I love living in Malta, always when I come home to Austria I just can’t wait to dive into all the culinary options Vienna is offering you…

It all starts with a…  No, this time it doesn’t start with a kiss.. a perfect day in Vienna starts with a lovely, lavish and luxurious breakfast 🙂 I can’t tell you how much I miss this ritual on going for breakfast on a lazy weekend day. The choice in Vienna is really hard, there’s an uncountable number of cool places, some stylish, some old fashioned, some which are open the whole night and welcome late party people as well as early birds.. but something they have all in common: a great choice of breakfasts. This time we were lucky to have a friend for Malta with us, so the weekend ended up in a tour of going to our favourite places as well some typical Viennese stop ins. Here the highlights…

Sacher Torte @ Café Demel

Who hasn’t heard of the world famous chocolate cake which originally comes from Vienna? People all over the world love the simple but delicious cake which is one of the most popular presents you can bring somebody from Vienna airport.

Austrians say different things about the Sacher Torte. The original version comes from the Patisserie Sacher, yes – but people say the version of Demel is even better, a bit moister and not as sweet as the same looking competitor. However, if you stroll around the Vienna city center there’s nothing better than fighting throught the masses of tourists to reach one big goal: a fresh Sacher Torte with cream and a lovely cup of coffee. Original Viennese you would order a melange which is a cappuccino with a tiny bit of fresh whipped cream on top.A glass of fresh tab water comes complimentary for sure 😉

What’s really beautiful is stopping by at the see through kitchen where the patissiers make the fresh cakes and other lovely sweets just in front of you. This is really when food becomes art…

Dachboden Lounge @ 25hours Hotel
Read about this new, little  boutique hotel in some magazines and was really looking forward to check it out on my next visit to Vienna. They not only offer some really cool, individually designed suites in the heart of the city centre, but also a lovely roof top lounge with a gorgous view over the city and a cosy, retro looking inside lounge with comfy sofas and chairs…

I was a bit afraid it could be one of this wanna be cool places but ended up to feel extremely relaxed and “at-home” there. Not too crowded, pleasant atmosphere and very reasonable prices! We had a lovely bottle of Austrian red wine (Zweigelt Unplugged, recommended!) for an unbelievable price of 17,- Euro! Stunning for such a cool, trendy place in the middle of the city. Definitely a place to come back, especially in summer and on Wednesday when they have a live session of my favorite radio station FM4.

Funny anecdote: as the place is pretty new, the kitchen hasn’t been opened yet. The easy solution: just order in some take away food, even the menus have been provided. Funny, refreshing way to fill that gap in the meantime!

Neni @ Naschmarkt

…one of my all-time favorites. When we still lived in Vienna this was a must every second week at least. Neni doesn’t only have a lovely design, it’s cosy and cool at the same time, the waiters there are just super nice and always up for a nice chat and some fun.

But this wouldn’t be enough if the food wasn’t great. It’s a mix of oriental flavours, all created by the owner Haya Molcho who originally has Israel from Israeli roots and blends her nation’s classics with influences of all her travels. So how can a Saturday get any better than hanging out there, tasting some lovely Austrian wines, have a yummy platter to share and watch the world pass by at the multicultural lively Naschmarkt (which literally means something like nibble market). Whatever you planned after.. Cancel it and just stay there and enjoy a lovely dinner from the small but fine menu. (Also great for breakfasts by the way.)

What made me really happy this time was to discover the Neni cookbook at the bar which just came out recently. Like this I don’t have to miss it when I’m back in Malta and makes waiting for the next trip easier 🙂 Can’t wait to try out the recipes back home soon!

Breakfast @ Café Kunsthalle

If you wanna experience a blend of arty cool young crowds, this is the place to be. Based in the city center at Karlsplatz (what a tribute to our dear friend and neighbour 😉 it’s easy to reach and offers a huge, sunny terrace in summer.

Café Kunsthalle is buzzing when you enter it. As in Malta you should always book a table in advance to avoid queuing (how likes queuing in the morning????). The breakfast menu is big and different, and everything is served in a lovely way of presenting it. This time I had a Croque Madame with fresh spinach and grilled tomatoes and was whishing once more to bring all those cool breakfast dishes to Malta!

So far so good… stay tuned for the next blog post.. will probably be about Tyrol as I was just sitting in the train heading to the west when I wrote this…. Cu soon & enjoy your life 🙂