Sunday, September 24, 2006
Salzburg - Hangar 7 - Ikarus (RedBull)
A few weeks back, we treated ourselves to a special experience. We went to the Ikarus restaurant in Salzburg's Hangar 7. Hangar 7 is owned by Dieter Mateschitz, the co-owner and founder of RedBull, so you can safely consider Hangar 7 a RedBull operation.
Hangar 7 is right next to the Salzburg airport, and it really is a working aircraft hangar, although an extremely fancy one that sports great architecture, and it is clearly built for show. Among other things, it houses the Flying Bulls, RedBull's own air-show team. When you go to Hangar 7, set aside some time to visit not just the restaurant or one of the bars, but the hangar itself, so you can see all the aircraft and automobiles they have on display. Asides from the fighter jets of the Flying Bulls, you can see other planes ranging from the RedBull Air Race sports planes to Tito's "Air Force One" Douglas DC 6.
In addition, all kinds of RedBull sports equipment and machinery is on display as well. In particular cars, such as many of the Formula 1 cars RedBull either owns (after all, they own two F1 teams) or sponsors. They even have an Indy Car. You will find some other oddities as well, such as Felix Baumgartner's wings he used to fly across the channel (UK to France) in one of his insane air-stunts.
Those things are all nice and impressive. However, we were there for the food. After all, Ellen and I had given my parents a gift certificate for Ikarus as a Christmas present. Ikarus is one of those few remaining restaurants where you really have to dress up. It is first-class dining of the traditional kind but in an ultra-modern setting. (It is also pricey... if you do not feel like spending 150-200 bucks or more a person, then you should not go there). It is the kind of restaurant that makes some people feel important and others uncomfortable. I think personally I fall somewhere in the middle there.
Ikarus isn't your average restaurant in terms of their menu either. One of the key ideas behind it is that there is a different star-chef from a different country every month, preparing a different "dream menu", in addition to the standard items. We were there in early September, which featured the Spanish chef Andres Madrigal, who prepared a spectacular menu that fused spanish dishes with many other concepts, each and every item being delicious and - to my delight - sidestepping many of those over-the-top fancy dishes that no normal human could possibly enjoy. The menu we chose had some 13 (or so, depending on how you count) courses. Each course is relatively small, since otherwise, it simply would be way to much food. And after about 10 courses, you realize that nobody leaves Ikarus hungry. At the same time, this isn't a knight's feast or a Brazilian Churrascaria, so you won't end completely stuffing yourself.
Here's the actual menu we had:
And of course there were various other little "snacks" mixed in, such as the freshly baked bread they make, or the pralines from Ikarus' own confiserie. We also went for the matching wines with each course, as well as an aperitif and a digestivo ("before and after" cocktails).
Beetroot with Bacalao-yogurt and vanilla oil
Spit of octopus with spicy corn sauce and baked leek
Sauteed prawn with tapenade of olives and marinated sprouts
Puree of chickpeas with cockles
Tartar of red tuna with garlic sauce and “Osietra” caviar
Lukewarm egg yolk on potatoes, cheese sauce and Sobrasada
Sauteed goose liver on tarte tartin and Tempura herbs
Turbot cooked in salt with carpaccio of langostino and broccoli puree
Mille feuille of red mullet with purple potatoes and Thai sauce
Pigeon in redwine sauce with ceps, pearl onions and Pancetta
Roasted loin of lamb “Nice Style“ with anchovy oil and black olives
Delice of mango, coconut and lychee
To give you an idea of what it is like during other months, the complete 2006 lineup features the following chefs: Juan Amador (Langen, Germany), Gabriel Kreuther (NYC, USA), Vivek Singh (London, UK), Gianluigi Bonelli (Hongkong, China), Frank Zlomke (Paarl, South Africa), Robert Feenie (Vancouver, Canada), Yoshii Ryuichi (Sydney, Australia), Roland Trettl (Salzburg, Austria), Andres Madrigal (Madrid, Spain), Jin Jie Zhang (Peking, China), Jean-Georges Klein (Elsass, France), and Alex Atala (Sao Paolo, Brazil).
I def. appreciate the professionalism, with wait staff who really knows what they are doing. Each table has a number of waiters assigned (I think we had as many as 5 or 6) with each of them being highly skilled. You want a certain wine? They can not only tell you what goes with your current course, but they can tell you exactly where each bottle of wine came from, what its characteristics are, what the area is like that it is grown in, and so on, and so on. I find this very impressive, because they have hundreds of wines, many coming from the region the chef of the month represents which is thus only available during that month. Waiters also know the same level of detail about every course and seemingly about every ingredient. The same is true for the hundreds of aperitifs, digestivos, and other kinds of brandies.
I found this to be a fantastic experience. If you are into food and do not mind to spend this kind of money, then you will enjoy Ikarus. I wouldn't want to do this every day or even every week (I still prefer a Brazilian steakhouse, which - by comparison - is a bargain), but I can imagine dining at Ikarus once or twice a year. If you want to dine there though, make sure you have reservations well in advance, because Ikarus is usually booked solid months in advance.
Posted @ 11:27 AM by Egger, Markus (firstname.lastname@example.org)