There is a Martinigansl and there is a Martinigansl that is prepared specially for you. If you have never tried the latter (and I would not be surprised if you have not), trust me – the difference in taste is such that you would think these dishes were made out of two different animals. The problem is, if during your reservation you tell a restaurant that you want a goose – and that also applies to the restaurants whose geese are available by reservation only – there is no guarantee that the bird will not be precooked and warmed up in a microwave when you arrive.
This is why I was so much looking forward for the “Familiengans” at the Oleander. By definition, this “family goose” is an entire goose prepared for a family of four and served with special scissors to cut through it. (Although for a second, I thought it could also mean a goose who took good care of its family, like a Familienvater.) There is hardly any way such a goose could be pre-cooked and warmed up. In my evil ways, I was almost hoping that Oleander would manage to pre-cook the goose somehow, because that would give me a perfect opportunity to slam the restaurant in a huge way.
Looking at the score below you can see that that did not happen. The Familiengans was great, almost perfect. The skin was paper-thin, crispy and salty, the meat underneath tender and plentiful, and there was not a lump of fat around. To be honest, I did find a piece of a toughish meat deep between the breastbones, but that did not spoil the overall good impression.
I was not particularly impressed by the cabbage, on the other hand. Prepared with oranges and chestnuts, it was slightly overdone and therefore jelly-like, while I prefer it when the cabbage retains a bit of crispiness. The bread dumplings were quite edible, but much softer that usual – not a bad thing, all in all, but sometimes they tasted more like bread than dumplings. The goose also came with a huge bowl of sourer-than-usual berry jam, so much, in fact, that at the end it looked almost untouched.
So there is was – a nearly perfect Martinigansl with average side dishes, which did not really have any negative effect. Oleander serves a “normal” goose as well, but if you go there – and if you like Gansl, you must – try to find three other people to join you and order a family goose. Oh, and don’t forget to get goose liver pâté as a starter – it’s brilliant.