“If there’s anything indispensable in this kitchen, it’s butter”, insists a tracksuit-wearing Lucas Steindorfer, chef de cuisine of the celebrated bar and bistro Bruder. Whether emulsified with acid to make a delicious sauce or added at the last minute to coat pasta with an irresistible gloss, it’s a critical component of countless dishes, reliably carrying entire menus for centuries. Beloved celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain even went so far as to argue that, no matter what you’re eating at your favorite restaurant, “chances are, you’re eating a ton of butter.”
But here at Bruder, the iconic ingredient works just a little bit harder. Take, for example, their deceptively simple starter of butter from mountain hay-fed cattle, bread from Joseph Brot and mountain hay salt: the dairy fat conveys the essence of the alpine hay, giving an earthy, herbal aftertaste that defies expectations. To top it off, it’s paired with mountain hay liqueur crafted by chef de bar Hubert Peter, who also serves whiskey infused with brown butter that carries a distinctive nutty taste. The mountain butter is supplied by none other than Peter’s father’s farm in Vorarlberg.
Indeed, family matters at Bruder, even though Steindorfer and Peter are not, as the name would suggest, related – at least not by blood. Rather, the “Trinkbruder” and “Essbruder” are, as they jokingly tell, “unified in spirit.” The two first met at Marktwirtschaft, a former indoor market in Siebensterngasse.While Peter mixed drinks at Barrikade, Steindorfer was cooking hearty meals across the room at Liebe, and so the brotherly love story began.
Specializing in nouveau Viennese cuisine, the cook with Carinthian roots earned his stripes during an apprenticeship with one of the great innovators of the local tradition – Christian Petz, who is best known for breathing new life into offal cuisine by eschewing the fashionable frills, foams and spherifications often attached to such a legacy over the years.
Meanwhile, Bregenzerwälder Peter mixed up the local bar scene with a DIY-approach to ingredients at Kussmaul, a Michelin-starred restaurant formerly located in Spittelberg, before opening his first bar, Barrikade, in 2016. The dedicated forager’s flavors are inspired by the forest’s bounty: He pickles, distills and preserves rosehips, blackberry leaves and pinecones with a passion. All the while, small bites and experimental drink toppings reveal Peter’s culinary roots, having apprenticed in the kitchen of Hotel Post in Bezau.
Buttering Up the Clientele
Finding a way to start their own project came with its challenges. After searching near and far for two years, “asking everyone and hoping for the best,” they finally stumbled upon the former premises of neo-Heuriger Zum G’Schupftn Ferdl – completely by chance. A charming and approachable venue with high ceilings, arched windows and long, rustic wooden tables marked by celebrations past, it was a perfect fit for the generous hospitality Bruder practices, where food and drink share are served with ample Schmäh, as evidenced in the humorous names they give their creations, like Elefant im Porzellanladen (Elephant in a China Shop) or Rüttel am Watschenbaum (Shake the Slapping Tree – beetroot, raspberry, fir and horseradish).
Looking like artefacts from an oceanographic expedition, countless liquid-filled vessels of different shapes and sizes line the windowsills and wall behind the bar, decorating the otherwise minimalistic space. These various essences, infusions and ferments form Peter’s arsenal: Bruder bottles ingredients and drinks throughout the year, allowing patrons to enjoy “the food we love, which is usually more abundant when our visitors are less hungry,” explains Peter.
But don’t get too attached to your favorites: Bruder is constantly reinventing their repertoire. “It’s important to us to be in a constant process of development,” says Peter. Indeed, Steindorfer has never added a dish to the menu twice – with two exceptions: the aforementioned bread and butter and Ernst sei Dank, a bratwurstmade after a recipe by Steindorfer’s uncle, Ernst, and served with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and the cheeky addition of a sardine. “Best served with Hubert’s home brewed beer!” notes Steindorfer.
His freshly developed Veal Tongue with Lentils and Cod Liver Mayonnaise is a reinterpretation of the classic Vitello Tonnato (veal with tuna sauce). In a nod to his mentor, Steindorfer honors “less noble parts” like veal tongue and cod liver, adding that “so many products are not getting the appreciation they deserve.” What unites Peter and Steindorfer beyond their youthful humor and laid-back attitude is their deep appreciation for great ingredients, often hidden in plain sight – whether floating in a giant teardrop-shaped glass vessel or amply doused in butter.
Veal Tongue with Lentils and Cod Liver Mayonnaise
Veal tongue and broth
- 1 veal tongue
- a bundle of soup vegetables (carrot, yellow turnip, leek, celeriac, parsley)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 juniper berries
- A pinch of coriander seeds
- 200-300g green lentils
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large yellow turnip
- celeriac root
- bunch of parsley leaves
- bunch of chives
- neutral sunflower oil
- apple cider vinegar
- 115 mlparsley oil
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- 1 tin of smoked cod liver
- lentil poppadum
- sliced gherkin
- Bruder’s homemade brew
- Place the veal tongue, soup vegetables, coriander, juniper and bay leaves into a saucepan. Season and cover lightly with water. With the lid on, let the broth simmer until the tongue is soft. Set aside to cool, then peel the tongue and refrigerate it. Slice the cold tongue thinly.
- After rinsing the lentils, boil them with 700ml of unsalted water until al dente. Strain. Cut a brunoise (small cubes) of carrot, yellow turnip and celeriac root, then blanch in the simmering veal broth until al dente. Rinse briefly with cold water, set aside. Make a dressing with a little veal broth, mustard, salt and pepper and neutral sunflower oil, then toss the blanched vegetables and lentils with it. Garnish with chives and plenty of chopped parsley, season to taste and let the mixture marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Whisk the egg yolk and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly pour the oil in, whisking constantly to make sure the mayonnaise emulsifies entirely. Mix in some cod liver and a healthy pinch of salt once stable.
- Place the slices of veal tongue onto a bed of lentil salad, top with some gherkin and mayonnaise. Serve with a lentil poppadum and some cold beer from Bruder.
6., Windmühlgasse 20
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