The feisty proprietor of Hotel am Brillantengrund runs a family restaurant and art space with a world-famous hipster hotel attached.
Marvin Mangalino is obsessed with cycling and seemingly at one with his hotel. Since he launched the place in 2010, it has become a mainstay in the Schottenfeld quarter of the 7th district. The hotel has been widely lauded, by the New York Times among others, achieving its renown through a combination of haphazard hipster chic, family run authenticity, and its quiet yet close to everything location. “The food wasn’t even an issue,” says Mangalino. “Everyone says never start a restaurant in a hotel, you’ll just make losses.” At the beginning, his mother Frezida Mangalino just made breakfast for the guests, but as it became clear they had to come up with a gastronomical concept, Marvin trusted his mama’s cooking. “We thought, ‘Let’s risk it!’ and decided to do Pinoy (Filipino) food.”
But the food on offer at Brillantengrund is not just adobo and other Filipino classics. The menu includes plenty of young Mangalino’s childhood favorites, like sisig with fish served sizzling on a cast-iron skillet, or the delicious melon-based refreshment Yo Mama juice and its more health-conscious counterpart Ey Mama juice with Curcuma, lemongrass and honey; when spiked they become No Mama juice (you get the gist). The siopao burger is their own creation: beef, chicken or tofu flanked by the yeasty dumpling dough we know as bao as the burger bun.
While this recipe, the owner’s favorite, is simple enough, nothing compares to Mama Mangalino’s execution of Bistek (Filipino beefsteak), he stresses. Mangalino has also started his own line of cycling fashion, Brilli Brilliant Unicorn, or BBUC, with tricots, jackets, shorts; the works. The place is always bustling with art exhibitions, pop-up flea markets, photographic and coding workshops. “What do they say?” the tireless entrepreneur smiled. “It doesn’t get easier, you just get faster.”
Hotel am Brillantengrund
7., Bandgasse 4
(01) 523 36 62
Rinse rice once and set to boil with one cup of water (the water should reach about 1 cm above the rice). When the water has boiled down, cover the rice and take it off the heat.
Mix soy sauce with lemon juice. Cut meat into ultra-thin slices and marinate in the sauce for at least two hours (preferably overnight). Cut onions into thin rings. Fry meat in a pan with hot oil. Take out and marinate again. Fry the onions in the leftover fat until they reach a golden brown and add them to the marinade with the meat for at least another hour or better yet, overnight. Right before serving, heat the meat briefly in a pan and serve with the sauce and rice.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
½ cup soy sauce
juice of ½ a lemon
200 g beef
(rump or shank)