Tian – Vegetable dining at it’s best in Vienna Austria – by Bob Batz
If you’re vegetarian or vegan and in Vienna, or if you have a love
affair with vegetables, for heaven’s sake…treat yourself to a meal
at Tian located in Himmelpfortgasse 23 in downtown Vienna. This is
high-class vegetable dining at it’s finest in a refined and elegant
white tablecloth setting. The atmosphere is pleasant and elegant, but
it’s just backdrop for the exquisite food. A six course meal will
run you 104€ per person plus wine (six part wine pairing for an
additional 59€), so give yourself lots of time to sit, savor, relax
and enjoy the places this meal will take you.
I should point out here that the dishes in this restaurant are not
rock’n roll, they are opera…. and like the opera some might describe
the experience as pretentious, but really it’s just about what kind of
experience you’re looking for. The flavors are sometimes subtle and
complex, and not the food demands to be paid attention to in order to
enjoy the full experience, for there’s hardly a touch of home cooking
here. These dishes are the magic of a master chef able to coax out
the essence out of each vegetable, craft divine textures with precise
preparation, and then concoct unique and masterful flavor pairings.
Nor are these simple vegetable dishes, these are complex and well
paired combinations where a single vegetable might be prepared three
different ways on the same dish, like the first dish ‘Spring
Awakening’ (carrot, chamomile nage, hazelnuts) which took carrots
places it’s never been before…or rather it was me that was taken
places I’ve never been before. This is the main reason to eat
here… you simply can’t replicate these dishes in the home kitchen.
This is the kind of meal you want to savor intensely and maybe close
your eyes to see what images are conjured there.
I ate alone here and I’m glad I did. Take a bite, close my eyes,
and let the flavors and textures unfurl across my pallet. Take ‘Cry
Me a River’ for example, the second of my six courses. This is an
onion soup for springtime. Whereas French Onion soup is the essence of
a winter’s day with deep bold flavors of slow cooked onions over
hours and hours, this version was entirely different — delicate but
with depth, soft and ethereal, slightly earthy with the lovely
fragrance of hay. I enjoyed breathing in this dish just as much as
eating it. I took in spoonful by spoonful very slowly, but the
fragrance of this dish engulfed me all at once. I didn’t cry eating
this dish as the name might imply, but staring at the dish upon
finishing it, I was a bit sad realizing that the experience was over.
Fortunately, there were plenty more extraordinary dishes to come.
Tian is not to be missed by anyone that loves vegetables and wants to
experience them at their finest!