On a recent summer evening I had dinner at El Hans. The outdoor seating was super charming and the cobbled sidewalk helped to make the experience perfect. There was little traffic going through this street so that the conversation never stopped.
The cover charge included a small bowl of olives, bread and olive oil. With a glass of Verdejo it made for a great start. Especially the olives were tasty, I gobbled most of them while my companion talked.
To begin with we had a watermelon gazpacho and pimientos de padrón with aioli. The gazpacho had a wonderful watermelon taste, was rich and creamy in texture. But still managed to be refreshing. The saltines of the anchovies inside was in sharp contrast with the sweet watermelon. Excellent!
The pimientos were good, honestly I don’t think you can do anything wrong with them (except maybe when I cook them myself). I just found them to be quite pricey.
We then shared a sea bass carpacchio with ají amarillo sauce and sweet potatoes. I have only one word for this: “Wow”. The heat from the chilis together with the cold fish and the sweet potatoes worked really well. The first bite was a revelation!
Our two main dishes were hake and lamb. We agreed to share again to get best of everything. We started with the wild-fished hake which was served with mint peas and artichokes. There was a slab of fish on my plate with just a few extras. But the fish was cooked to perfection, so juicy and tender. And the sauce gave it just the right kick.
The lamb shoulder had the disadvantage to be eaten as a second. So the meat was already a bit cooler. Maybe that’s the reason why the meat was not as juicy as the fish. I can’t really say if it was the meat’s fault or our waiting to taste it. In any case the taste combination of the rich sauce which came with the meat, the pear chutney and the caramelized chickpeas was absolutely stunning. I probably need to do this dish justice and eat it again while still warm.
Service was discreet and mostly attentive. It was definitely quick with the drinks, the food took a while in the beginning. Overall a very memorable dining experience. I for one will be back. Yours, Pollybert
1020 Wien, Schmelzgasse 9
Tel: +43/1 968 17 23
Mon-Thu: 18:00-23:00, Fr-Sat:18:00-24:00