Sometimes I feel we are living in some kind of New Age of Brettljausen. Once exclusively the dish of mountain huts and wine Heurige, Brettljausen are being rapidly introduced into the menus of the restaurants positioning themselves as modern and trendy. Suddenly, Brettljausen are hip and cool. I always knew that, of course; it’s surprising that it took restaurants years to realize such a simple truth.
On the heels of Dingelstedt 3 comes Laurenz 4. Apparently having numbers in the names is another fashion nowadays. Laurenz is a real brewery with a stylish modern look inside and a rather large outside area, which is as cozy as one can get being situated next to a busy street in an area where the relaxed atmosphere of a touristic center gives way to a noisy closeness to railway stations and the hopelessly ugly Gürtel. Under the circumstances, the restaurant does a very good job. The beer is its greatest strength, of course: the three sorts that I tried were very competently brewed, the result tasting like real beer and not some amateur’s first-time experiment (like most “craft beers” do). The menu, while quite pricey, contains good options for beer-lovers like me, including spare ribs and burgers. I can easily come back, and most likely will.
It’s a shame that despite obvious good intentions, Laurenz’s attempt at making a cool Brettljause did not really work out. A part of the problem was the mix of Spanish (chorizo), Italian (prosciutto and taleggio) and Austrian (Wurzelspeck and Bergkäse) ingredients. They simply do not go together very well. The bigger problem was that none of the ingredients tasted particularly interesting. The prosciutto was almost tasteless; the Bergkäse, while strong, was not as strong as one would expect from a cheese maturing for 18 months. Even the Wurzelspeck, which normally has a very intense taste, was unusually dull, as if cut and left unwrapped for several days. A Wurzelspeck from a supermarket would have tasted better. As if knowing that the taste was not the Jause’s strong point, the restaurant served it with a ridiculous amount of industrial mustard, which killed the flavor of anything you put it on, including both types of very fresh bread.
The bowl of olives that came with the Brettljause was ultimately the part I enjoyed most. I wish that instead of mixing everything they had in the fridge, Laurenz would have kept the olives, the chorizo and added a couple of types of carefully chosen Spanish cheese. At its current state, the Brettljause is a bit of an overpriced mess.