In Vienna most fine dining options seem a bit overpriced. Although the entourage at MAST Weinbistro is indeed that of a (modern) bistro, the elegant and refined dishes and wines are certainly worthy of the label “fine dining”, but at modest prices. There are 15 dishes on the menu (appetizers, mains, desserts) with prices ranging between 5 and 18 euros. You can sample 12 of those dishes by ordering the “chef’s choice” menu for 59 euros, with a wine pairing for 42 euros. This means you will get six courses of two dishes (half portions) and six glasses of wine.
The amuse bouche is beef and smoked bell pepper tartare on a piece of toast, very tasty with a lovely smoky flavor.
The first wine is a Chenin Blanc from Swartland in South Africa. It is more elegant than the usual Chenin from that area, with great freshness and elegance. It comes with two dishes, the first of which is butternut squash with hazelnuts and physalis (also known as ground cherries, large orange tart berries). It is a nice combination of tastes and textures that works well with the wine.
The other dish worked even better with the wine and was delicious by itself: carp brandade with potato and buttermilk. Very well balanced and complex.
The next wine is a field blend (Gemischter Satz) from Austria that is a ‘natural wine’ (unfiltered and without sulfite). It has a great aroma and is very elegant for a natural wine (which can be very outspoken). The first dish with this wine is steamed carrot with amaranth, parsley, and bone marrow mayonnaise. The latter is very tasty and makes this a very nice dish that works well with the wine.
The other dish with this wine is sauteed king oyster mushrooms with sweet corn and some greens. It is an original combination that works very well and accentuates the nice aromas of the wine.
The following wine was a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blend from Steiermark in Austria from 2006. The first dish served with it is tartare of Arctic char with cauliflower ‘rice’, lemon, and black olive. A nice dish that works well with the wine.
It also worked well with quinoa cooked in beetroot juice with beetroot and goat cheese. A classic combination (beetroot and goat cheese) with the quinoa a nice textural element. This brought out the Sauvignon in the wine.
Next a white Burgundy (Chardonnay), aged in large used oak barrels instead of new barriques. This does make the wine creamy but not oaky. It worked very well with this catfish with sunchokes and bell pepper cabbage (cabbage cooked in bell pepper juice). The fish was perfectly cooked and juicy.
The other dish was celeriac (celery root) with bread cream, celeriac jus, egg yolk, and celeriac chips. This dish really makes the celeriac shine, especially the jus was full of flavor. And no surprises: also this dish worked well with the wine.
Time for a red wine: a Saint-Joseph from the Northern Rhone valley, syrah (shiraz) that was very complex and elegant. It seemed a bit young by itself (2014), but with the dishes the wine was perfect. The first dish was duck leg with red cabbage and Brussels sprouts with peanuts. The duck was nicely tender…
…but not as tender as the braised pork cheeks with broccoli and chanterelle mushrooms. The wine was magnificent with this dish and the pork cheeks were perfect, so tender and flavorful.
The dessert wine was a Riesling Auslese from Rheinhessen, perfectly balanced between sweetness and acidity with a nice touch of petrol. It worked well with both desserts. The first one was French toast with plums and marzipan.
The second one blackberry with malt and amaranth. What was described as malt was some kind of brown cake, not chocolate but with a lighter flavor that was very nice with the blackberries and the wine. When I saw this dessert I thought it may not work with the Riesling, but in fact it did work very well.
This was a wonderful dinner. If you think it was too much food, remember all dishes were shared by two people. There was some very nice sourdough bread on the side. All the dishes were delicious and of a constant high quality. I’ve eaten a lot worse at restaurants with a Michelin star.
The wines were all very good as well. They were also ‘interesting’ wines that you don’t get every day. And the pairings were all flawless, which is impressive considering each wine has two dishes to ‘deal with’.
The service was very friendly and knowledgeable (and they all speak very good English). We arrived earlier and as it got more busy the service slowed down a bit. But because we’d already had our first dishes, that was not a problem. The whole meal took three hours.
As the chef’s choice menu for two is almost the same price as the individual dishes added up, you could also order a la carte and determine yourself how many courses you’d like.
Finally, MAST offers outstanding value for money, so it is very well recommended when you are in Vienna.