Meeting friends after you haven’t seen them for a while is always a joyous occasion. There is always a lot to discuss and news to exchange. If you can agree with that sentiment then the ‘Spelunke’ is not the right place for. My last visit was already five years ago, and already then I had an issue with the noise, ahem the music. This time the lights went out at 9pm, music started and the restaurant emptied out. Not really sure if this is a winning concept. But let’s get on with the food.
Our table sat in the back, right underneath the lovely art installation, beamed onto the wall. Therefore it was strictly forbidden to put any clothes, bags, etc. on the back rest of the comfortable couch seats. All extra items, for which we had no space at our table (it was a rather tight seating arrangement; on the other hand any more space and you would not have even understood your neighbor), were whisked away to an unseen closet. But at least we had a great view on the restaurant and the bar.
A lot has changed in the last five years and not for the better. Nowadays you already pay a small fortune for the cover, which includes bread from Joseph Brot and three kinds of spreads. The bread was a winner, the spreads got mixed reviews. The Mozarella cream cheese tasted suspiciously like a lighter Philadelphia cream cheese version though. Olive tapenade and Verhackertes (bacon jam) made up the rest of the cover.
The menu is again a mix of everything, no fusion though, but also no red line going through it. We had Steckerlfisch, which is a typical Upper Austrian dish. Sweet water fish grilled on a stick and served with a slice of bread and some salad. At Spelunke it comes with Naan bread and a tomato salsa. The comments were not kind at all. The fish was bland, the salsa and bread did not work at all with the fish, but without it the fish was too bland and boring. Yikes, that did not sound at all recommendable. Also the dark lighting didn’t help the diners to find the many bones in the fish. Also, don’t you have the impression that the fish looks rather puny compared to the Naan bread?
The asparagus salad on the other hand fared rather well. A good sized portion with lots of green asparagus, a mustard dressing, and some cured ham on top. It got good reviews except the lack of seasoning. Actually almost every dish lacked salt.
The small portion of handmade gnocchi with nettle was really small. The wild broccoli on the side was a late comer to the table and must have been forgotten in the kitchen. As well as the seasoning for both dishes. Both needed a lot of salt. The gnocchi were light and therefore a nice enough dish in the evening.
The real winner of the evening, besides the green asparagus salad, was the white asparagus with ham from Thum, sauce Hollandaise, and potatoes. The asparagus was exactly right, a real nice portion, especially compared to the fish which was more expensive. you can’t go wrong with ham from Thum. Just the sauce Hollandaise was a bit weird. It came in a small bowl on the side, but when you tried to get it out it deflated by half. Therefore a second bowl was ordered. Overall my friend loved it. This was really good.
I just ordered a small red cabbage salad with smoked duck breast. There was a lot of cabbage and almost no duck breast. It was so thinly sliced that it more like a hint of something smoked. The whole dish lacked something substantial, especially since the yellow pepper had very sweet taste. The salad was just okay, but left me wanting for something different.
After giving the Spelunke five years to up their game I have to say that it actually declined. The food was rather mediocre and the overall issue with the music and the light persists. When we left at shortly before 11pm the place was rather empty. For a restaurant/bar which is open until 2am that is not a good sign. In any case I will only be back for drinks. Yours, Pollybert
1020 Wien, Taborstraße 1-3
Tel: +43 1 2124151
Mon-Thu: 12:00–02:00, Fri: 12:00–04:00, Sat: 10:00–04:00, Sun: 10:00–00:00