Nothing short of a foodie legend, Restaurant & Hotel Taubenkobel’s quirky 19th century Austrian farmhouse is the iconic culinary destination of Austria - and beyond.
Serious pilgrims of food flock from far reaches of the globe to this tiny gourmet hub of creative flavour.
Named after the rickety dovecote in the back garden, Restaurant Taubenkobel is the true originator of farm-to-table eating, winning top marks in Gault Millau, Falstaff and Michelin, as well as being ranked one of Forbes’ 16 must-dine restaurants of 2016.
This is a sanctuary of the simple life forged by the sweet Pannonian goodness, where the humble is made wonderful.
Chunky lime-washed walls play host to a culinary theatre of locally foraged herbs, a vegetable garden full of freshly picked organic bounty and heaps of creative imagination, the kind of which conjures up such intensely truthful flavours that can be found only here.
Taubenkobel’s puritan simplicity sees the original farmhouse, stables and outhouses lend their rustic dna to beautifully frame the combo of boutique country chic and modern zeitgeist.
Chalky white eggshell tones blend with stone walls while pockets of zingy floral colour blocks, inspired by the surrounding meadows, sing alongside vivid artworks and gallery installations, all igniting the beamed sloping ceilings of this old twisted house of food.
Outside in the moss-green meandering cottage gardens, a scene of pruned bushes, mature trees, oversized hydrangea and herbs gather around the circular natural swimming pool, a perfect chillax corner in which to digest your culinary delights – especially perfect for post-dining curled up with a glass of the good stuff to hand, close to the outdoor kitchen fire.
For a drink, a bite and a shop, the restaurant’s boutique neighbouring Greisslerei is a tapas-style reverie where local clay plates, jewel-like pots and long handled wooden spoons line up as rune-like mementos against the wall and floor - almost sacred reminders of this most coveted of dining experiences.
Taubenkobel is a lovely family affair carefully crafted over the years, a gourmet restaurant and boutique hotel that wonderfully hawk back to the times of the good life’s slow lane – a culinary philosophy of keeping things simple that is itself a taste experience, and makes it well worth every foodie pilgrim of taste’s journey to the little hamlet of Lake Neusiedl.
Taubenkobel sits to the west of Lake Neusiedl in the beautiful little village of Schützen am Gebirge, an hour’s drive south of Vienna (and 35-minutes from Vienna International Airport) and with its own train station, Bahnhof Schützen am Gebirge.
Tucked in Austria’s famous wine region, Burgenland, Taubenkobel is famed for celebrating its Pannonian produce and locality – Pannonia being an ancient Roman province reaching from Eastern Austria over into Eastern Europe.
The village of Schützen am Gebirge is surrounded by meadows, sheep, rolling hills and of course, Lake Neusiedl and in the neighbouring town is the Oggau wine estate, one of the most interesting biodynamic wineries in Europe and owned by Walter Eselböck’s daughter Stephanie – as well as the source of Taubenkobel’s wine list.
First opened by Walter Eselböck and his wife Eveline in 1992, Taubenkobel and its seasonally changing menu is a legendary foodie institution in Austria, and despite being lauded by countless culinary awards; Michelin, 18 points in Gault Millau, 96 in Falstaff, it is its legacy of patrons that really confirm its celebrated standing. Taubenkobel is famous for its regional, nose-to-tail approach to cooking and its modern celebration of local Pannonian cuisine.
Having no previous culinary training, Walter one day decided to pick up a pan, and the universe intervened; from then he took to his calling, pioneering the farm-to-table movement that is now so frequently seen today. Having now handed the culinary reins to his daughter Barbara Eselböck and her experienced French chef husband Alain Weissgerber, a more modern gastro twist has descended on these terroir kitchen dishes, but one that of course stays true to Taubenkobel’s ethos - sourcing regional, organic produce from surrounding hills and meadows, like wild amaranth, coriander and even fresh pondweed from Lake Neusiedl.
Filled with an incredible abundance of taste nuances and hidden subtleties of flavour, eating at Taubenkobel is like starting afresh, tasting for the first time, and truly adoring your new-found home of Pannonia.
No meal is complete without wine, and this tipple is another a huge part of the Taubenkobel dining experience. Sourced from the (similarly exciting) boutique biodynamic winery, Gut Oggau, run by Barbara’s sister, Stephanie, many menu packages come complete with wine pairings, and if you are going avant-garde, then a big blackboard in the restaurant tells you what’s on offer.
A born creator, maverick and imaginative old-soul, Walter Eselböck was first inspired to pursue his eponymous farm-to-table style of cooking by a self-sufficient grandfather who operated the ‘donkey-mill’in nearby St. Margarethen, back in 1961.
It just seemed the obvious thing to do. Responding to a heaven-sent calling, his culinary eye for detail and eye for the un-assumed extends from the kitchen in Taubenkobel out in to the rooms, which he also personally designed himself.
With a true understanding of his surroundings and the old ways of doing things, this visionary built up a legend before passing it on to his daughter and her husband, two accomplished chefs in their own right.
Today Barbara Eselböck and her French chef husband Alain Weissgerber continue Walter’s legacy, bringing the taste of real food to those who pass under their beamed doors: “When a guest closes [their] eyes, bites into a dish, and then knows that he is sitting in the mountains something has succeeded.”
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