This is not your ordinary mountain hut, it’s a hut for the 21st century. Belonging to the same family as the two best hotels in the nearby village of Maria Alm, this restaurant at the top station of the cable car certainly benefited from one family member’s education as an architect. The exterior and interior are perfectly designed, combining old and new to create something cozy and just suitably kitschy to be fun. The attention to detail is everywhere, yet the service is casual, extremely friendly and very efficient.
The same attention to detail went into the Brettljause. It is perfectly arranged and a pleasure to look at, with many different herbs adding to the look as much as to the taste. It’s not all eye candy, however – this Jause was clearly built by someone who knows what the good ingredients are and where to get them. It is also impressively big. By the time I finished the three thick slices of cheese, two huge portions of cold Schweinsbraten, a herb spread, a Hauswurst and a dozen slices of Speck, I wished I had a longer hike beforehand and was getting worried about my ability to beat the dinner at my hotel later on.
All the ingredients were top class: non-industrial, expertly and interestingly spiced and very fresh. The bread and butter, too, were perfect. If I had to criticize this Brettljause for anything, it would only be for including too much of the same ingredients. I would have preferred two slices of different cheeses rather than three of the same, and fewer slices of Speck but of different types.
During the recent coronavirus lockdown, I had to start cooking, and from time to time prepared a Brettljause or a cheese plate. I hated to notice how easy it was to come up with something that would be miles better than what 95% of huts and restaurants in Austria serve. The trick was to always buy high quality stuff and not to get stingy on the “small improvements” like vegetables and spices. Tom’s Brettljause was very close to my home creations in the spirit but also showed a lot of experience and even love.