It was hard to choose where to try the famous Sachertorte in Vienna. Should it be had at Hotel Sacher or at Demel? As Lonely Planet describes it “both cafes claim to be a cut above the other; try both and decide”. An Austrian friend had suggested that Demel was worth trying.
As it happened, Demel was planned to go to for an afternoon cup of tea and cake break after some wanders around the beautiful city of Vienna. Being engrossed in the explorations and the bonus of blue skies and sunshine, time was not a factor at all. Walking through the relaxing gardens of Burggarten, taking in the ornate architectural buildings and generally soaking in the day, the afternoon break had become more like dinnertime.
Not wanting to start with dessert as dinner and instead of popping into another cafe for savoury food, Demel was chosen for having dinner and dessert. Entering Demel, the cake slices are displayed on one side. What was good is that they also did mini cakes which meant that savoury food could be hard and there would still be room for a dessert.
There are lovely flower displays colour coordinated with gifts in the shop area. Going past the takeaway counters, there is a bar area and following past that extends to a tea room. Demel doesn’t stop there. Heading up one flight of stairs leads you to the glass walled kitchen. Here you can see the talented staff at work, hand painting delicate flowers for the cakes and rows of other cakes and decorations. It shows that a lot of hard work goes into Demel’s cakes.
Onto the second floor is where there is another seating area. Coming to Demel at the later part of the day gave the chance of having a table on the upper level and not having to queue. Demel has a traditional feel to it. Marble tables, dark wooden furniture and big chandeliers is the tea room. It feels more spacious as all the tables have four chairs. Beautiful show stopping cakes are on display in the tea room.
There is a tranquil atmosphere about Demel. No background music played but there is the gentle chatter of people. The smartly dressed staff were friendly and gave good food recomendations as well as fast service. This is always good when one is hungry.
To start off with, the summer fruits tea was had. This came in a teapot with the tea bag stating the brewing time. A glass of water and a crystallised sugar stick was given on the side. The strawberry and raspberry tea had a good flavour.
The clear soup with dumplings sounded like a lighter food option. But unfortunately, Demel did not do a vegetarian version. Instead, eggs and bread was had. The softly scrambled eggs topped with chives came in a metal dish. Small rye bread slices went well with the eggs. The portion size was just right and it was not over filling. Salt and pepper was given but the eggs did not require any additional seasoning.
Now onto the mini Sachertorte. It was the perfect combination of soft chocolate sponge, a slight fruitiness from the apricot jam and all covered in rich chocolate. A thick chocolate triangle topped the cake. It was engraved with “Eduard Sacher Torte”. This is the name of the son of the Sacher Torte creator Franz Sacher. The Sachertorte was had with fresh whipped cream to make the sweet treat even more indulgent.
As the desserts were mini versions, it gave the chance to try Demel’s apple strudel. This was not too sweet. Pastry filled with slices of apple, a few chopped nuts and a subtle hint of cinnamon made this another great light treat.
Demel did impress with all of its food including the Sachertorte. It was great to have such a wonderful dining experience at this ornate cafe in the heart of Vienna.
A bit of history about Demel is that it started off as an ice cream parlour in 1786. It then went on to create pastries and cakes. But Demel has stuck to its original routes by still offering its ice cream, although it is only available from April to September.
Demel, Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 ViennaRating: