20 Camden Passage, Islington, London
Upon returning from my recent trip to Vienna I sought out London’s Austrian culinary offerings and discovered Kipferl in my new neighbourhood. This laidback café and restaurant serves traditional light and hearty dishes, soups, sausages, breakfasts, and of course, coffees and cakes. Regular specials celebrate other Central European cuisines.
I’ve visited Kipferl a couple of times now and been impressed each time by not only the food but also the polite, friendly service. My personal favourite from the menu is the kasespatzle – panfried noodles with organic mountain cheese topped with fried onions and served with a green salad. This dish is ideal comfort food, satisfying and cheesy. The Wiener (Viennese) schnitzel is another gem; the veal is tender and crisply battered, served with herb covered potatoes and a divine cranberry sauce. The menu offers a small range of different sausage types – we chose the Debreziner (Hungarian, lightly spiced) sausages. These were served warm with chunks of rye bread, mustard and grated horseradish.
As I discovered last month, the Viennese take their coffee very seriously. In a nod to the traditional Austrian coffeehouses, Kipferl’s coffee menu is colour-coded with darkening shades of brown to indicate the intensifying strength of the coffee. My preferred melange (espresso topped with milk foam or whipped cream) is, of course, included. It’s difficult to find cakes such as linzertorte and apple strudel in London so it’s refreshing to see the cake and dessert menus here offering such authentic sweet treats. I tried the sachertorte, a chocolate cake with layers of apricot jam, first created in Vienna in the 19th century. Having missed the opportunity to taste this cake in Vienna, I jumped at the chance to return to Kipferl in order to try it and was not disappointed – apricot is such an underappreciated ingredient in baking!
Whether out of intrigue or nostalgia for a past trip, you should visit Kipferl to try their menu; Austrian food deserves more attention than it receives and I’m yet to find anywhere in London that makes it so well as they do here.