In Vienna’s Spittelberg district of artists and tourists, Amerlingbeisl is probably one of the artiest restaurants, while not being particularly touristic. Probably, most tourists simply do not notice the Beisl’s unique selling proposition: its wonderful inner garden, where the dense grape vines ensure that one is always sitting in the shade. I find it a great place to visit in November, on the opening day of Spittelberg’s Christmas market, when the streets are still mostly empty, and one can easily find a table to enjoy a cup of Amerlingbeisl’s special orange-and-ginger punch.
I am quite sure that the Brettljause has been added to the Beisl’s menu only recently, because otherwise I do not understand how I could have missed it before. Well, today I went to Amerlingbeisl to celebrate the year’s longest day and ended up eating one of the smaller Jausen. The cheese, ham, Speck and salami were represented by only about three slices each, and the two spreads – a Liptauer and a Grammelschmalz – were also served as half of the portion that one would normally get elsewhere. A pre-cut roll of white bread was strategically placed on the board to create an impression of bulk, but in reality, the whole dish took less than 10 minutes to finish. And that is by eating really slowly.
To the Beisl’s credit, all the ingredients were of good quality, and the bread was served pleasantly fresh. A couple of more cheese types – especially strong ones – would have improved the dish considerably, however. The way it was served, the Brettljause was too big to be called a starter but at the same time not big enough to suffice as a main dish. Perhaps this is the secret of how the artist types maintain their weight.