This past weekend was a delight. It was a glimmer of summer to come with lots of sun, friends, a picnic, strolling, ice-cream cones, a lazy mid-afternoon nap, and exploring greater Vienna. I’m back with a few freckles on my nose and some new restaurant discoveries. Let’s start with Zum Franzosen in Perchtoldsdorf.
Where? In case you haven’t heard of Perchtoldsdorf, fret not. I didn’t know much about this town south of Vienna until a few years back, when my husband and I became friends with another couple who call this little medieval Viennese suburb home. In a nutshell? It’s kind of like the Grinzing of the south, and I truly hope that isn’t a faux-pas to say so. (You know Austrians, very loyal to their hometowns. And if within Vienna, their district. And if within a district, their bakery, their Beisl, their street. So ist es.)
To my outsider eyes, Perchtoldsdorf is similar to the little Viennese wine village north of the Gürtel that we all love due to its residential vibe, quaint downtown, history of wine, and overall charm. You can reach it by public transportation from Vienna; it’s perfect for a Saturday afternoon excursion.
We found ourselves in Perchtoldsdorf on Saturday evening to meet up with our friends, and there was no better place for us to do so than over some delicious French fare at the recently-opened Zum Franzosen. Located in a prime spot on Perchtoldsdorf’s main thoroughfare, this modern french cafe (soon to be extended into a cafe+restaurant) is a refreshing addition to small-town dining. We arrived a bit early so at first sat outside for some coffee.
Yes, I just wrote that. We sat outside. (Never mind that we soon had to bolt inside with the onset of a sudden, quick, and summer-esque thunderstorm.) The point is that I dined outside this weekend. That’s a sentence I wasn’t sure I’d ever write again after the great European cold snap that hit us just six short weeks ago. Dramatic? A bit. Traumatic? You know, temperature-wise, this winter really was.
Once inside and joined up with our friends, the culinary adventure began. I started with a tomato soup done oh so right. Served with a sprinkle of baby shrimp, it reminded me of just how difficult it is to actually make a good tomato soup . I’ve tried so many times to succeed with this at home in the kitchen and somehow always end up with mildly good tomato sauce, as in, should go over pasta tomato sauce. Anyhow, this soup? Spot on. Tangy and full-bodied. Wonderful.
Next up for me was the quiche du jour, which of course given the season, was an asparagus quiche. With both white and green asparagus and a flaked-to-perfection crust, this was fresh, filling, and fabulous.
Also on our table? A shrimp and tomato skewer salad.
Husband’s roast beef baguette.
…and the pasta of the week—asparagus, indeed.
The menu was so in tune with seasonal offerings, so of course it changes on a weekly basis. A peek at this week’s online shows a whole new array of equally enticing items. Now is the time in Austria for asparagus and bärlauch, so get it while you can! Zum Franzosen impeccably achieves French flair using locally-loved seasonal favorites.
The adventure continued, of course, as we moved on to dessert. This crepe above was stuffed with chocolate-nougat sauce and bananas. It was technically my husband’s but well, as I always say, sharing is caring! Poor guy.
With full bellies and happy hearts, (made possible in no small part by the restaurant’s lovely elderberry wine spritzers and the generous pours), we sat back, admired the wall lighting (pretty cool, oder?) and reaped the benefits of our southward jaunt to Perchtoldsdorf. We’ll definitely have to head back when the transformation to full-fledged cafe+restaurant is complete.