I am not really sure where the name Noble Savage for this restaurant was coming from. But also I didn’t ask about it. I asked about the concept of Noble Savage instead. And what I learned is that the chef uses seasonal organic vegetables which come from the Waldviertel. The restaurant is part of a community which supports a farmer. You can either pay or work to grow the vegetables and in exchange you get the fruits of your labour. The restaurant of course gets understandably a bit more. They also take the pieces which wouldn’t find a buyer easily due to their look outside the norm.
The restaurant also buys its meat in Styria if I understood correctly. Old milk cows are usually not something you see on Austrian plates, but as the chef explained ‘as we get older, we get fatter’. The same goes for the cow. So while I was expecting some tough meat, it was instead tender and juicy and flavourful. But let’s start at the beginning which was for me a small beer.
The restaurant offers exactly eight dishes. Two starters, two middle courses, two main dishes and two desserts. So if you come with a friend you can try them all. Which is of course the idea behind it. We started with a beef tartare and a vichyssoise. The beef tartare (also from the old milk cow) is hand-cut, seasoned with a spicy mayonnaise and surprises with bubbles of caviar in between. Oh my god that was so good. When you share that, it’s best to take really small bites of your brioche to savour every morsel.
The vichyssoise arrives warm and the potatoes had to made room for celeriac. Despite that the soup is rich and creamy. The flavor is rich in celeriac and leek. Really lovely dish on a cold evening.
The middle courses were my least favorite. You can see the work that went into each of the dishes but the taste falls flat and doesn’t really come across. The steamed spinach kimchi dumpling looks beautiful the way it is set in front of us. And it does pack a punch. Nevertheless it’s not for me. The filling is bland and the texture weird a mix of crunchy and soft.
The Pithivier (if you don’t know what it is, don’t worry. I had to ask as well), a small pie, comes with a filling of cabbage and a soft-boiled egg. When I was cutting it in the middle the yolk was perfectly waxy. The pastry was buttery rich and had such a nice shine. But the seasoning was missing here and the red onion sauce which was around didn’t do much to help it.
The main courses fared a lot better. The steak from the old milk cow was, as already mentioned, delicious. The salsa verde enhanced the beef flavor and elevated the steak, while the kohlrabi in anchovy butter was sadly just not good. I usually do like stuff with anchovy butter, actually I do like anchovy generally, but here the kohlrabi felt coated with some kind of flour mixture. There was just a weird substance on my tongue.
The second main course was lamb with jus and an onion cheddar soufflé. The lamb was a bit on the dry side but in combination with the jus and the soufflé it worked well. The flavours were perfectly balanced and the jus enhanced the whole dish. Really lovely as well, maybe more jus would have been nice.
And then we were on to the dessert. One was an affogato (espresso with a scoop of ice cream) with a sprizz of Habanero liquor and the other was a burned Basque cheesecake. Both of them were delicious and we ate them with great gusto.
Noble Savage is not your typical restaurant. The chef cooks whatever he likes and also whatever is in season. The menu changes every couple of days, depending on availability and mood of the chef probably. He said the beef tartare and the steak are a staple but the rest is up in the air.
The intimacy of the restaurant is fabulous and I liked that the chef personally explains his menu. He is after all the guy who cooks. Even though there were dishes I didn’t like, all of them were exceptionally well cooked. The dinner at Noble Savage reminded me of the visit of Bror in Copenhagen. Not an easy menu either, but definitely remarkable. How did my friend put it? This dinner was eclectic. An evening you won’t forget. Yours, Pollybert
1010 Wien, Salzgries 15
Tel: +43 664 99498389