Vienna is recognised as one of the historical cultural capitals of Europe and of the world. Artists, musicians and chefs have refined their skills in this city full of aristocracy and rich, educated tastes. Now, more than ever, the good people of Vienna are turning out en masse to enjoy the sweet treats of Indian desert houses.
The luminaries, dignitaries and common folk are equally enamoured with Indian foods. One of the city’s most popular Indian restaurants, Nirvana, has hosted the last Austrian presidents during their terms, who appreciate the eateries traditional style of cooking.
Nirvana owner, Pawan Batra, revealed: “The (Austrian) president is our regular customer and loves the dal makhni as well as the rogan josh and lamb vindaloo along with naan. [My wife] oversees everything to ensure the authenticity of the food and the right flavours. The locals love the stuffed naans, murg makhni, murg tikka masala, dal makhni, rogan josh and many more dishes.”
There has been a natural transition for the people of Vienna, lured in by the sweet Indian desserts to then move onto full meals and more savoury Indian cuisine.
“The traditional desserts have always been cakes and pastries but in the last five years, the number of locals coming here have increased rapidly, particularly swayed by the sweet dishes we offer like gulab jamun, and mango lassi.”
Anil Gupta, owner of Heilige Kuh, believes that a big reason behind the increasing success and popularity of Indian food in Vienna is the nation’s growing conversion to vegetarian diets and Indian food’s natural propensity to produce high quality vegetarian dishes.
“I’ve seen this change. More and more locals are now shifting to a vegetarian diet and they know that the best place to get quality vegetarian food is an Indian restaurant.”
This trend has also brought about a change in the drinking habits of the population of Vienna. Many of the Viennese are now choosing soft drinks such as mango lassi instead of the wine that they would traditionally drink.
Furthermore, the entire eating culture has changed and the Indian style of sharing food has won of the people of Austria’s capital who were previously used to eating only from their own plate.
Ashok Chandihok, owner of Indian Pavillion, explained: “Our culture of placing the curries and vegetables at the centre of the table and then sharing them is something new for the locals who are used to eating their meals individually. They love our style of sharing and eating food.”