The Popeye’s Goose

Location:Wieden Bräu
Address:Waaggasse 5, 1040 Wien
Status:Open (last checked on 7 November 2023)
Eaten:Martini-Gansl, three beers (Wiedner No.4 Das Dunkle)

When a few months ago I passed by Wieden Bräu and found its doors closed – like, seriously closed – I felt rather sad. It is not only because the spare ribs I remember having eaten there had been quite good, but also because Wieden Bräu had been one of Vienna’s few real breweries, whose number kept on diminishing since the demise of the once amazing Nussdorfer Brauerei (google it if you want).

Well, I am happy to report that the rumors of Wieden Bräu’s death were greatly exaggerated. It is back with a vengeance. Or at least back with a very nice goose.

It also offers, you may want to know, a great value-for-money goose. These days a Gansl for under 25 euros sounds like a story from a time-travel science fiction book, yet the one at the Bräu was cheap(ish) without sacrificing the quality. The portion was absolutely sufficient, bigger than average really, and expertly cooked. I would have preferred the skin to be crunchier, but I must say I quite liked it the way it was, not crispy but certainly well grilled to eliminate any unnecessary fat.

Two different dumplings were present, and one of them – strangely the potato and not the bread one – was nicely spiced, meaning that it was more than a mere sponge for absorbing the sauce. (The sauce, by the way, was plentiful and well done.) The red cabbage convinced me less, being too sweet and Christmas-y in terms of spices, and for some unknown reason mixed with berries. A good advice to anyone planning to prepare a Martinigansl in the future: berries are fine on an apple slice or with an orange, but please, never try to mix them with cabbage!

And then there was spinach. It took me a while to recognize the dry green stuff for what it truly was, but it was spinach, no doubt, albeit very well grilled. Did it improve the dish? No, not even a little bit, for the taste of spinach was too distinct from and “incompatible” with the rest. However, it made the Gansl of Wieden Bräu quite unique, in a way its cook had probably never intended.

If you are looking for a competently prepared goose and not willing to spend 35+ euros for the pleasure, you should run to Wieden Bräu right now. The same is true if you love spinach and want to pay tribute to Popeye. From my perspective, whether due to its temporary closure or for some other reason, Wieden Bräu is one of underrated and under-visited restaurants at the moment, and if this review can bring even a few additional customers to it, I would consider my humble mission accomplished.

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