The end of July and beginning of August have been a bit of a whirlwind of travel, first Vienna followed by a brief stop at home to do a little laundry and eat some salad (I'm loving Terry's Salad Samurai) and then I was off again on a camping trip. I'm back home now (for three weeks!) and I'll be blogging about Cornwall soon but first things first, Vienna.
I first visited Vienna back in 2009 for a vegan meet up, people I knew online from The PPK forums gathered in Vienna to hang out, eat food and get to know each other better. It was a great trip for many reasons but my favourite is that I got to meet Carmen and Melanie who I'm still really good friends with today. Since that trip they've visited me in Brighton, I've visited them in Vienna and we've travelled to Barcelona and Zagreb together. I've had some awesome times with these ladies and after not seeing them for a year and having heard about the changes that have been happening in Vienna's vegan scene since my last trip back in 2011 I knew it was time for a re-visit.
Just like last time we met up at Eissalon am Schwedenplatz, it's opposite the Schwedenplatz U Bahn stop so it's easy to navigate to and y'know, they have ice cream so it's the perfect fist stop.
I always go for the soy milk based Almond/Pistachio but they were out so I picked the new rice milk based Coconut/Pistachio instead.
This was refreshing but the coconut overpowered the pistachio and I probably wouldn't order it again.
The next day for breakfast Melanie and I met up to eat one of my favourite breakfasts, the wholewheat, raspberry jam filled, chocolate dipped croissant that is at least the size of my face if not bigger. It's wonderful, I would be very happy to eat it every day.
You can buy these from Waldherr organic bakery which you can find either at Naschmarkt (a must visit destination anyway) or on Marc-Aurel-Straße which is close to Schwedenplatz.
Vienna doesn't just have one place you can pick up a croissant though, oh no, there's also Tart'a Tata.
This more traditional croissant can be found a short walk from Neubaugasse U Bahn station and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I was to compare traditional croissants from around the world the one I ate at Chaostheorie in Berlin would win but that shouldn't put you off trying this one if you're in the city.
I was even more excited than usual when I heard that Carmen and Melanie knew of a place we could get Onigiri. I've been craving it ever since mine and Nick's trip to Japan and this spot was perfect. Metcha Matcha is located in the 4th district and it's adorable on both the outside and the inside.
You can pick up onigiri to go but we decided to sit at the bar to eat.
After a close encounter with some miso soup (hint, it's not vegan) we decided on three onigiri each. I chose two Furikake, one mixed vegetable and one shisoume, as well as the California Vegan.
These transported me back to Japan at first bite, simultaneously different in presentation but similar in taste the shisoume became my favourite but then I tried the California Vegan and it became a tie. I loved them both. I would definitely make sushi at home more often if avocados were less hit and miss and I would love it if a place like this opened in my area. The vegan onigiri options at Metcha Matcha are marked on the back of the menu with a star.
As well as having friend reasons for wanting to re-visit Vienna I also had ice cream reasons. Veganista, Vienna's new all vegan ice cream joint, had opened since I last visited and after seeing numerous pictures of their amazing sounding flavours on Instagram I knew I needed to get there asap.
Ice cream aside Veganista is gorgeous. I love the design but I was quickly distracted by the twenty different flavours waiting for me beneath the counter.
Choosing two flavours from a varied selection which included Maple-Pecan, Cookies, and Hazelnut was a real challenge but I eventually settled on a scoop of Matcha and a scoop of Brownie.
This proved to be a wonderful decision as both flavours were delicious. The brownie stood out though and I went back for another scoop later in the day.
It was rich, creamy, super chocolatey and filled with chunks of brownie. I'd like to see more of this kind of thing in vegan friendly ice cream parlours around the world.
We managed to squeeze in one more trip where I tried both Basil and Hazelnut.
The basil was interesting, I definitely enjoyed it, I love the Strawberry, Basil and Black Pepper Sorbet from Boho Gelato in Brighton and before ordering I guess I assumed it would be somewhat similar but it was nothing like it. The basil really had a chance to shine here and I loved the creamy texture. Hazelnut is always a favourite flavour of mine when it comes to ice cream and this one was no exception. I would advise everyone to drop what they're doing and head to Vienna immediately, it's summer and Veganista is the perfect place to be.
Veganista is not the only new spot to have opened since I last visited though, far from it. Next Melanie took us to one of her new favourite coffee spots, Brass Monkey, where they make delicious vegan cupcakes. Flavours that day were Peanut Butter Chocolate and Sachertorte, now I like PB Choc but nothing beats Sachertorte in my mind. It's also traditionally Austrian so of course this was the perfect place to order it.
This little cupcake was delicious and I devoured it pretty swiftly. I loved the ganache topping which made a nice change from buttercream and the apricot jam was inside rather than spread across the top, this is how I make my victoria sponge cupcakes and it's definitely my preferred way of getting jam into a cupcake.
Another new spot on Vienna's vegan scene is Veggie Burger which, as I would hope you can ascertain from the name, is a veggie burger joint. It has an all vegan menu and shares space with a regular meaty burger spot. I guess this would be cool if you were travelling in a mixed group as you can order from either menu. The burger menu is expansive and overwhelmed with options I ended up choosing the first thing on the menu, the Classic Vegan Burger. I chose to have this with the mock meat patty rather than the other option of a vegetable burger patty. It came with cheese, cocktail sauce and the usual salad suspects, tomato, gherkin, lettuce and onion.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best burgers I've ever eaten. It was so good that I ate it twice in four days putting it up there with the cheeseburger from Arlo's in Austin (I'll be reunited with you soon my sweet!) and the mac & cheese burger from White Owl Social Club in Portland. The mock meat was succulent, the cheese and sauce to burger ratio was spot on which to me means there was a tonne of it. I ordered the sweet potato fries once and the home fries once and the home fries (pictured) were the clear winners. Sorta like a cross between a thin cut chip (not a fry!) and a puffy crisp these were wonderful. The only thing to bear in mind is that Veggie Burger charge €2 for ketchup...yeah, that blew my mind too! What the hell Veggie Burger?! Burger €8.90, Ketchup €2. Not cool!
The sixth new spot on our eating itinerary was Mark's, a relaxed but more upscale kinda spot with plenty of vegan options on the menu. These are highlighted by two stars. Carmen ordered the Roast Pepper Tofu Steak which she'd enjoyed previously but was disappointed by on this occasion.
It comes served with pak choi, pomegranate seeds, steamed jasmine rice and plum soy sauce. It certainly looked good but I guess the sauce is a little hit or miss. I went with the crowd and ordered Mark's Döner which at €11.60 with french fries is on the pricier side for a burger.
Served on a fancy bun alongside hand cut skin-on fries the homamde seitan and fresh tomatoes paired well with the Indian style coleslaw which everyone else said was super mild. I know you can't really trust my opinion on such matters but I certainly didn't think it was mild. I enjoyed the flavour the cumin imparted and I'd go here again if I was travelling with vegan sceptics who wanted to stop somewhere with meat on the menu or with vegans fancying a swankier experience than that offered by Veggie Burger.
One place I would have breezed right past was Freiraum Deli. Located right on MariahilferStraße, one of Vienna's main shopping streets, this little deli is chock full of vegan options. I was sucked in by the popsicle menu as they use almond milk for the chocolate dipped lollys.
They were so pretty!
I took a little vegan tour before I chose my flavour and spotted two kinds of vegan sandwich as well as chia pots, mini loaf cakes and cookies, all clearly labelled.
Eventually I panicked and did an "I'll have what she's having" and walked away with an Acai, Blueberry and Banana popsicle dipped in chocolate.
Good call Carmen! This is totally not what I would have picked myself but let me tell you this gourmet lolly was perfection. I loved both the fruity flavours and the light crackly chocolate coating. I wish I'd had time to eat another before leaving the city and I'll definitely be visiting Freiraum Deli again next time.
As well as wanting to try new things both for fun and also to keep you all updated on current hap's in Wein there were a couple of favourite spots and dishes that I just couldn't skip. Firstly the Formosa Pancake at, you guessed it, Formosa. It comes stuffed with veggie ham, vegan cheese and vegetables but it's so much more than that. Behold.
It's even two pancakes! The herbs are cooked into the light pancake and it's covered in both a miso dressing and something akin to a sweet tonkatsu style sauce. It's out of this world. I could eat this all the time!
My second never-miss spot is Rupps, despite hating Irish bars with a passion (unless they're y'know, in Ireland, or at the very least run by Irish people and not populated by bellends wearing Guinness hats and appropriating Irish culture) I can't help but love this veggie pub. It's a little dark and kinda gloomy (as an ex-goth these bars will always be my fave'), they have a great jukebox, friendly staff, decent beer and a great selection of vegan bar snacks. They also allow dogs which is great as my friend Barney is a dog!
I always order the Haustoast, a grilled cheese with chopped onion, garlic and tomato inside. I'm not gonna lie, I totally ordered this for dessert too.
I also tried the hash browns and the potato salad.
The hash browns were a total win. Who doesn't want to eat fried potato alongside their pint of radler? The potato salad was less of a hit, whilst I was expecting vinegary rather than mayo-y this was a little too vinegary for me. The potatoes were perfectly cooked though so you should totally give it a whirl if it sounds appealing. I can also highly recommend the garlic soup (it was just way, way too hot for me to even consider it) and the spicy Doppeldecker sandwich which is always a popular order with every group I've visited with. They also make classics like veggie burgers, soya burgers and goulash which I'm yet to try but it's on my list. If you're visiting Vienna I'd say this place is a must visit.
Next time I'll be writing about Vienna's vegan supermarkets (yup, plural!) and Austria's fun accidentally vegan snacks. See ya soon!