The Anglo-Austrian couple of Oliver and Petra Lucas offers seasonal casual fine dining
“When Grace is open, I’m in the house,” said UK-born chef/owner Oliver Lucas one recent Wednesday afternoon in his restaurant. It’s quite refreshing to meet a “chef” with a small “c,” a master behind the stove rather than a brand. “I make a point of serving the petits-fours myself, so that I have a chance to talk to my customers.”
With his Austrian wife Petra, Lucas offers casual fine dining in an inviting space – cushioned benches, good service and quality wines at a reasonable price.
There are three pleasing rooms with whitewashed walls, arched ceilings and the dark paneling of the Wirtshaus it once was. Today, these form a backdrop for Scandinavian-style furniture and retro tiles under the sanded wood bar with a matching wooden Kühlschrank (fridge). The wines are handpicked by the experts at Weinskandal and others, from an adventurous Manila by Burgenlander Martin Nittnaus to Jurtschitsch’s classic Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau. The small menu of eight dishes allows Lucas, as he says, to always use fresh ingredients and to change regularly, currently proposing seasonal pheasant and venison. As a trained pâtissier, don’t expect trendy desserts of parsnip or celery. “I want to keep desserts desserty,” Lucas admits. Sweet, rich and creamy.
Rave reviews in 2016 gave Grace a strong start to what is becoming a thriving business with a growing Stammkundschaft (regular clientele). They’ve bought an old school on a hilltop in Styria for a future B&B and cooking school. For now, though, the focus is on the restaurant – for which we all can count our blessings.