Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Mayer’s Restaurant, Zell am See

The last visit to Prielau Castle was more than 18 months ago. But even then I was sure that the next time we come to this area, we will definitely visit Andreas Mayer’s restaurant.

And so, a few days ago, we turned again into the long, tree-lined driveway that leads to Prielau Castle. The car tires leave deep tracks on the gravel with a grinding sound and slowly we recognize the castle on the right and on the left the restaurant, which has been renovated in the meantime. A bright, open entrance area welcomes guests on the first floor, an elegant staircase leads to the spacious lounge and bar area and then finally to the much more classically furnished guest room with lots of wood.

Prielau Castle (photo by Dennis Jauernig)

Andreas Mayer, who after working at Heinz Winkler and Landhaus Scherrer was most recently head chef at Eckart Witzigmann’s Palazzo in Berlin and Munich, was named Chef of the Year in Austria in 2007 and has already earned two Michelin stars with his restaurant in Zell. The entire estate, we learned on our first visit, has been owned by the Porsche family since the 1980s.

Four different menus are available, the aroma menu, the real classic in Mayer’s kitchen, aims to intensify the dishes by matching, previously served perfume essences and thus further enhance the taste experience. But we decide for the six-course recommendation menu (119,- EUR) as well as the vegetarian menu, supplemented by a fish course (89,- EUR).

Already at the aperitif the first greetings from the kitchen are served:

Finger food amuse-bouche to the aperitif with excellent Prielau sausage and tartar of salmon.

The wine (we drink locally, a very light and mineral Grüner Veltliner 2008 from Fritsch) is joined by the second greeting from the kitchen.

Jelly with home smoked trout and pulpo

Before the first course, we then dive briefly into the nosing and tasting theme of the house. We first approach a foam, an essence and a little soup of lemongrass through the nose. I am wavering between the sense and nonsense of this procedure. Due to the rather flabby comments of the service and the presentation of the fragrance on cardboard strips known from discount perfumeries, with a clear tendency to the latter. In any case, the nosing makes neither foam nor essence more exciting, the little brew, on the other hand, would have been absolutely thrilling even without this somewhat superfluous digression. The now somewhat outdated test tube presentation or not.

Amuse variation of lemongrass

I start the actual menu with a chatreuse of Thai asparagus.

Chatreuse of Thai asparagus & quail with mango salad and quail egg

And this is a very coherent and above all visually dreamlike prelude. The very different textures, the fried but inside liquid quail egg and the praline of quail make me almost forget that I am actually not a great lover of dishes in aspic.

Alpine salmon in smoked fish broth with cream cheese ravioli & vegetable pearls

Actually, in this dish, especially the broth is particularly outstanding, it transports the promised smoked flavor particularly intense and thus forms a great base for the stuffed pasta. But even the visually almost identical carved beads of vegetables show the leisure and dedication with which work in the kitchen.

Basically, there was quite a bit of work and tinkering going on around us that evening. The large hall next door was being prepared for a wedding the next day – and so the restaurant, but especially the adjoining rooms, were bustling at times. But maybe we only noticed that due to the fact that we were the only guests that evening from 20:30. Of course, this was an exception, the service assured us. Actually always full. Booked out. And all the festivities. One does not know.

I incorporated Norway lobster and cod into my menu in exchange for a walleye.

Norway lobster and cod fillet on calf’s head with kohlrabi, mustard foam and lobster nage

Maybe it was instinct, maybe it was coincidence, either way this was one of my highlights of the evening. The crab had the desired texture, the calf’s head was discreetly incorporated into a pasta shell, and the lobster nage was extremely intense and laced with a slight dill flavor. The kohlrabi was also accurately carved into shape, as positively noted in the vegetable pearls.

Pinzgauer saddle of lamb with aromatics, spring leek & potato turrets

Of course, the lamb is perfectly crafted and thanks to obvious cooking at low temperature of pink throughout. Still, I miss a slight hint of roasted flavors – but that is, of course, suffering at a very high level.

After an extensive visit to the cheese cart (which, to our great surprise, does not have a single local cheese on offer), we slowly move to the patisserie area.

On my side of the table, a tarte tartin was served with green apple gelée, apple crème and rum ice cream:

On the other hand – and clearly more exciting a warm chocolate cake with passion fruit ice cream:

Both desserts know how to please, the tart is wonderfully crisp, the apple crème rather a bit superfluous. The chocolate cake also turned out well, of course, you might wonder if you want to miss an at least slightly runny center. Actually, however, all these impressions are lost, because one component of the desserts, which did not even make it into the decorative description on the menu, particularly inspires us: The wonderfully intense mango-tasting tapioca pearls, which virtually form a mirror for ice cream and decoration. Great. Fresh and most certainly I will soon approach the first experiments of preparation myself.

Of course, the kitchen doesn’t miss the opportunity to indulge in more delicacies, ending the evening with a small variation of chocolate and cake, sugar foam, more chocolate chips and large, colored cookies.

It is no secret that the Prielau Castle as a whole has very close ties with the Herzog distillery, it is even rumored that the perfume essences are created with the active support of the local master distiller. So we also trustfully place ourselves in his hands and conclude the successful evening with a glass of Xunt.

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