Katharina Schinner-Krendl of Heu und Gabel has a missionary’s zeal; when she rhapsodizes about the sourdough bread from the Waldviertel’s Kasses bakery or the tender ham from Vienna’s storied butcher Thum, you find yourself instantly craving a ham sandwich.
A former deputy on Vienna’s municipal council, she knows how to captivate, placing her skills of persuasion in the service of the deli and Stadtheuriger on Meidlinger Markt which she opened with her husband in August 2020. The timing was fortuitous: In recent years, the formerly hardscrabble market has left culinary no man’s land and become a favorite haunt for gourmets. Heu und Gabel fit right in, preaching a gospel of high-quality local fare, sold to go or served on site. “We want to create awareness for healthy, seasonal food from the immediate region,“ say the Schinner-Krendls. In the months before opening, they scoured Vienna’s surroundings, visiting farms and producers in search of the very best. From time to time, you might spot one of their suppliers dropping off fresh goods, which go straight to the shop – or your plate.
Stepping into the bright interior of their market stall, your gaze is drawn toward a steel slicer, where a rosy ham hock proudly rests. “It’s much better when you slice it freshly by hand,” Schinner-Krendl explains. Behind the counter are Kasses’ crunchy bread loafs arranged in picturesque baskets, while the display counter is filled with smoked fish from Freiner Biofisch, Hansi Bauer’s prosciutto coppa and spicy cheese from the Hilkater dairy in Bregenzerwald. The indoor tables in the rear grant a glimpse into the small open kitchen, while their outdoor seating is perfect for watching the hustle and bustle of the market, especially in the summer.
Food is served throughout the day, starting with their small, but popular, breakfast selection of classics like Birchermüsli, egg dishes and pastries. To gain an overview, try the “big breakfast” – it proves that simple trumps elaborate as long as the ingredients are superb. Only the fruit salad, a tiny glass of chopped fruit, could do with an upgrade.
Equally straightforward, yet delectable, are their Brettljause (cheese, cold cuts and homemade spreads) and open-face sandwiches like Schnittlauch (butter and chives) or Grammelschmalz (lard and pork cracklings). My favorite, however, is the Ofenzitrone – An oven-roasted lemon stuffed with feta and tomatoes. I have a soft spot for all things gratinated, and the combination of grilled cheese and lemon fused to sweet and creamy perfection… heavenly!
In addition, they also have daily dishes like beetroot risotto, wagyu cheeseburgers and baked potatoes as well as seasonal specials – usually high-quality takes on traditional favorites like roast goose or Weisswurst (quite passable, even for my native Bavarian standards).
As befits a Heuriger, Heu und Gabel also boasts an extensive selection of regional wines, with the focus on natural, biodynamic cultivation. A nice idea: The Kostquartett, a tasting selection of four different wines to get you started.
To set the evening mood, they occasionally host events – pandemic willing – like wine tastings, small concerts and DJs during aperitivo hour, befitting the cozy, unpretentious attitude of the market. With its friendly staff and family atmosphere, where baby cribs are wedged between tables (the owners have two kids) and granddad helps out on busy days, Heu und Gabel stands out among the new arrivals in Meidling, inviting you to linger with gourmet fare hitherto unavailable this far from the city center.
The other day, we went there for brunch. At half past two, we were still sitting there – two glasses of wine in front of us.
Heu und Gabel
12., Meidlinger Markt
0664 852 1426