Finding a quiet place to have a beer and read a book during the European Football Championship is not a trivial task. Demonstrating a common logical fallacy, most pubs decide that if people drink beer while watching football, all the beer lovers must love that stupid game, so they install huge TVs in the beer gardens and expect the profits to skyrocket.
Fortunately, earlier today I googled for “the best beer gardens in Vienna” and found a couple of names that I had never heard before. As a result, having failed to find a seat at my favorite drinking places, I headed to one of the least known to me districts, where Google promised a nice shady garden with a good view and plenty of beer.
I was happy to realize that not only was Google right, but I was also not the only one ignorant of the Schutzhaus am Ameisbach. Its location on a hill between Penzing and Ottakring is so non-obvious and remote, that only a few locals seem to frequent it. Moreover, even though there was a TV showing football in one of the garden’s corners, no one was really following the match. And one of the beers available was my beloved Staro Brno. What a perfect escape!
It took a while (and a liter of beer) until the spare ribs arrived, hinting that the restaurant cooks them fresh rather than warms them up in a microwave. Frankly, I did not expect the ribs to be great – especially since the under-16-euros price tag looked very modest – but was pleasantly surprised to receive two huge and quite appealing racks with roasted potatoes and three sauces.
OK, the potatoes were a bit overcooked – too soft inside and not crunchy on the outside – and the sauces were of the most generic types – garlic, cocktail and hot chili – but the ribs themselves were quite well-marinated and easily edible even without sides or sauces. Most importantly, the meat was tender, free of cartilage and small bones, and not tasting of any animal, partly thanks to the large amounts of black pepper used as a spice.
My only complaint was that the ribs were super-oily. The cook poured so much oil over them that they shone in the sun as it was setting down behind the hills. This did not bother me at first, but as the time passed and I was still struggling with the first rack, I started to blame the oil (and not the beers) for my full stomach. It is a heavy food, so unless you are extremely hungry, you may want to settle for a cheaper “small portion,” which is also available.