11 August 2014

A Special Birthday In Vienna


I think I did a rather good job at making the birthday celebrations last as long as possible this year! Ten days has to be a brand new record! And what a special time it was too.

Last Monday afternoon - the day before my birthday - I flew solo to Vienna to meet Alex who was already out there having driven from a stag do in Bratislava. Austria was a country I'd never visited before and Vienna was a city I was keen to see. We were staying at the Palais Hansen Kempinski Hotel; a building that was originally constructed as a hotel for the World Exhibition in 1873 but is now a modern and elegant retreat in the centre of town.

Our room was stunning and there were a few birthday treats in store for me on arrival too!


Champagne! My favourite! And the flowers Alex chose were just beautiful; what a romantic scene. I have one wonderful husband.


I arrived early evening, did a quick outfit change then we headed downstairs for a gorgeous meal in the hotel restaurant Die Kuche. A lot of it was prepared in front of us at the live cooking station, a little like my visit to Kitchen Table a few days before. Vienna had kicked this visit off in style.


***

Exploring Vienna was a fantastic way to spend my birthday. It's a city where you will find romance, culture, music, architecture and art. We spent hours wandering along the narrow, medieval alleyways and the imperial squares. Vienna has been synonymous with music for centuries and was home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss although, sadly, the State Opera House was closed when we visited. Perhaps we'll catch a bit of opera next time!


Admittedly, a lot of our wandering was with the intention of seeking out somewhere nice for lunch. We stumbled across Tian, a restaurant located down a little street just off the city centre. Alex was dubious as the menu was completely meat-free but with the promise of delicious bread, cheese, pasta and dessert, he was finally coaxed inside.


Tian is proof that vegetarian food never has to be boring. The menu was fascinating, using lovely fresh ingredients presented absolutely beautifully. I began with their delicious take on a Caesar Salad while Alex had a very fragrant tomato soup. My main of risotto of yellow boletus mushroom was very nice and Alex's potato gnocchi was one of the prettiest dishes I've seen in quite some time! 


Feeling that we'd eaten clean enough to warrant a big, chocolatey dessert, we ordered the Expedition Mars to share. It's basically a de-constructed Mars Bar!


What a work of art!

***

There was already something of a food theme running through my visit to Vienna - no surprises there then!

It was my birthday evening and I was all dressed up and ready for a night of fine dining at Steirereck - one of Vienna's most famous and best reviewed restaurants.


You'll find the modern and somewhat futuristic building in the Stadtpark (city park). We were warmly welcomed and settled with drinks and several culinary compliments from the chef!


The bread trolley alone makes this place worth a visit! With my 'no carb' rule well and truly on the back-burner, we listened wide-eyed as he described each flavour, desperately tempted to ask for a slice of each. There were even three different flavours of butter on the table! This was how bread should always be done!


How would we find room for the actual meal?


Of course we found a way and it was all pretty impressive. After we had made our menu choices we were given little placards describing each dish in detail before it arrived in front of us (I liked that idea!). We thought the food was really good - not mind-blowing but really good. The service was incredibly attentive and professional with the exception of one unlikeable waitress who seemed intent on taking away the nicely melted butter just in case we got it on the tablecloth! I almost had to wrestle it back!


It had been wonderful night and a perfect end to my special day.


But as we were speeding through the city in a taxi back to the hotel, I spotted a lively food festival in full swing directly in front of Vienna's City Hall! I love a food festival! We jumped out the cab and went for a look round.


Of course we were far too full up from a ton of bread and three courses of food to indulge any further; we just enjoyed the live music and the vibrant atmosphere!

Well, maybe that wasn't quite true. How could I possibly have resisted these soft little balls of dough served with apricot sauce??


Now that was the perfect end to my day!

23 comments:

  1. Wow! Alex is a great husband! I've never been to Vienna either and your post has truly inspired me with the desire to go! I love the look of the food especially Steirereck...you had me at 'Bread trolley'
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

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    1. Yeah he ain't bad ;) Vienna is a lovely city although I don't think I would have gone for much longer than a couple of nights. But it depends what you're into really - it's great if you love lots of historial architecture and museums. The restaurants were lovely though! Ooh, that bread....
      Cx

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  2. What a beautiful hotel! It looks like such a lovely trip full of lots of treats- those restaurants look amazing- that gnocchi is indeed beautiful!- and great photos! xxx

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    1. I loved that gnocchi! I had a taste of it and it tasted pretty decent too!
      Cx

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  3. This sounds like a perfect way to celebrate your birthday - many happy returns!

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  4. Ohhh Caroline.
    I'm not really sure where to begin... Maybe 'Happy belated Birthday' is a good start!
    But just 'Oh. My. God'. Talk about an incredible birthday (Bravo Mr. M on the effort!)
    Your photos are just stunning, especially of the delicious food. I'm serious craving that Expedition Mars!
    I've never been to Vienna... Definitely one for the hit list.
    What an utterly wonderful birthday treat...
    Emily xx
    My GingerBread Journey

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  5. Happy Belated Birthday Caroline!
    Vienna is definitely one of my favourite places, so much good food in that city that you leave wearing a pair of fat pants.
    I love the dress you are wearing in your hotel room (the lovely first photo of yourself); it's stunning and I want it xx

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    1. Thank you! Here's the link :) http://www.foreverunique.co.uk/all-clothing/kayla-floral-print-maxi-dress/prod_3702.html xx

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  6. Happy Birthday! Your birthday was spectacular! Vienna it's a remarkable city, great way to spend a special occasion. I visit it a few years ago and the Opera House was closed at that time too :))

    Anca @ ancaslifestyle

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  7. Beautiful photos! Looks like a lovely birthday x

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  8. Happy Belated Birthday!! 10 days of celebration, wow! That is probably a world record right there!

    I've never been to Vienna but I've always wanted to! It's high up on my list when I move back to Europe. It just has so much history and looks so stunning!

    {Teffy's Perks} X

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  9. Wow ! Happy belated birthday - looks like it got off to an amazing start!! All the food looks truly delicious, and you look absolutely amazing too :)

    Rosie xx

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  10. Oh my , I died and went to heaven thinking about all those breads and butters. Bread & butter is my fav , so delicious.

    Looking forward to a post hopefully on Trieste !!

    India xxxx

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    1. Yep, next one is on Trieste! :D
      Cx

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  11. Happy Birthday beautiful!

    So glad you had a lovely time, the food looks incredible and Vienna is definitely somewhere that I'd love to visit. Is that a chocolate bread I spy?!

    I have to completely agree, Alex's gnocchi looks incredible!

    Katie <3

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    1. Thank you!

      No it was actually black pudding bread! It was pretty amazing though the pecorino bread was my favourite

      Cx

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  12. flavoured butter? yum.. deconstructed mars bar?? double yum... but did you try a langos? best thing ever! i went to vienna for the xmas markets - post here; http://thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/must-see-in-vienna.html

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  13. Looks like the perfect birthday trip you lucky thing - and good work spreading the celebrations out so long! Next weekend my mum is randomly having her birthday party despite her birthday not actually being till October. Apparently her justification is she wants it outside!

    Victoria
    FlorenceandMary.com

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  14. That deconstructed Mars bar looks incredible, as does everything else. You lucky so-and-so! :)

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  15. Belated happy birthday! Vienna is beautiful and you guys crammed so much in, gorgeous snaps.
    Your backless maxi is completely stunning too.
    M x Life Outside London

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  16. it looks like you had a wonderful birthday! vienna is such a beautiful place - my sister lives there so I've been a few times and always am in awe. you look gorgeous too! x

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  17. Those flowers are absolutely beautiful! As are the rest of your photos. Lucky you :)

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  18. Looks like the perfect birthday celebrations. Gives me loads of inspiration for my own birthday, which is coming up faster than I expected it to!

    Sandra | Cake + Whisky

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