“Just the thing to quench my thirst”, says the fox eyeing off a bunch of grapes in the ancient Greek fable, The fox and the Grapes, and the same can be said about Vienna’s new modern tapas bar going by the same name – Der Fuchs und die Trauben.
But unlike the poor fox in the fable who is never able to reach those grapes, your thirst will be more than quenched at this handsome tapas bar serving up cocktails, wines, beer and, most importantly for me, tasty food. I never do anything half-assed, so I decide to starve myself before the evening so I can order and try as much on the menu as possible. I also wear stretchy pants and break a rib – I am dedicated to food and this is why I’m fat.
Der Fuchs und die Trauben (which I’ll call Fuchs for brevity) has a comfortable atmosphere, and is styled with a mix of Moroccan-style tiles, wooden chairs and industrial lamps. I particularly love the large wooden table in the middle of the restaurant, which seems to inspire togetherness and familial dining. However, this is why I reserve, because I don’t like talking to strangers.
Fuchs is owned by brothers Ken (chef) and Patrick (bar) Reitermayer, with sous chef Marko Grgas in the kitchen. Ken has a culinary degree from Florence and has worked at a raft of fancy restaurants, including the likes of Ora D’aria, Brunelleschi Hotel, Villa Le Farnete. He’s also worked alongside notable celebrity chefs such as Marco Stabile and Andrea Bianchini. But we’re not impressed by such name dropping … until we try the goods.
We start with cocktails; I chose the orange and thyme daiquiri (I’m trying to add more fruit to my diet) and my dinner date has a pomegranate margarita. Both are potent and the perfect start to the food marathon ahead of us.
In terms of tapas we order the following: gyoza; croquettas, pinchitos (pork kebab), manchego with a fig and brandy chutney, polpette (meatballs in a spicy marinara sauce) and zigarette boerek (pastry rolled with sheep cheese and caramelized onions). The gyoza and croquettas are my favourite, but everything is delicious. We also pair our tapas with different wines that are listed on the wall. We comforted ourselves by saying this drinking is for research, not alcoholism.
We take a break after the many dishes and realise the place has filled up and the staff are busy fulfilling orders. After making space during our break, we order the blue cheese chicken sandwich, but exercise moderation when we decline a side of fries. The sandwich is served on a brioche baguette, and the chicken and blue cheese are a tasty filling.
Because my stretchy pants still had some give, and because Ken has won a star for his pastries, we have to have the chocolate mousse cake with cherries (more fruit! Look at me!). I think we both cried a little – it was delicious.
I’ve already asked for a Stammtisch (regular’s table) to be made just for me. I have no doubt I’ll be spending many evenings crying in happiness over gyoza, manchego and pastries, while swilling wine and winking through the window to the kitchen at the chef.