HEINZ REITBAUER « In the beginning he traveled a lot, sat in the car or on the plane every day off and came back inspired and enthusiastic. “Yes,” Reitbauer recalls, “we tried more and more to listen to ourselves, what is on our doorstep, what we have historically and what is maturing in our own heads. No matter where I go, I want to taste the country and the people.” It soon becomes clear what really makes Reitbauer so special: “I’ve always told my employees, no matter what we do, where and how, it should never be based on anything. If we’ve seen a repeat of a product, something that everyone is cooking now, then we were the first to take the product off the menu. We wanted to have distinctiveness.” Today Reitbauer’s kitchen can be considered contemporary - absolutely - and Austrian - of course, but not necessarily to be described as contemporary Austrian cuisine. In 2005 Reitbauer and his wife took over the Steirereck in Vienna, consisting of the dairy, a milk and cheese bar and the Steirereck restaurant. His parents also run the inn in Styria. “Our own farm supplies all three restaurants (“we slaughter several animals every week, from veal to beef, lamb, goat, pig...”) and the close cooperation with the farmers in the area has been maintained for 30 years. We try to source as many things locally as possible, as we have
RIGHT Mountain Trout with Kohlrabi, Pineapple Sage & Mustard Seed.
wonderful freshwater fishes in Austria so why use others that come from far away?” Since the Steirereck in the city park was rebuilt in 2014, it has not been recognizable. “Our restaurant is located in the middle of the centrally located Stadtpark in Vienna. The original building facing the Wienfluss is from 1904 and a couple of years ago we added a modern part that’s more open and airy. There are big windows that can be opened and you have beautiful views into the park. Sitting and enjoying there is a little bit like a small vacation - relaxing and calming.” The design allows an abundance of light to enter the restaurant and create panoramic views of the park outdoors through its floor-to-ceiling windows. “We are in one of the most beautiful places in Vienna, and this beautiful nature coincides with what we do.” Despite the contemporary designs and a chic, cosmopolitan atmosphere in the restaurant, Reitbauer remains completely true to his kitchen and his craft. “We are still a family owned restaurant where my wife Birgit is the front-of-house and I am in charge of the kitchen. We have a lot of people coming regularly to our restaurant, some already for a couple of decades. And we have wonderful teams on both sides; they give their best every day and work hard to serve all our guests to perfection. »