o boufés... What a magical night. Ever since throwing myself into the world of natural wine, taste buds first, I've been trying to try as much as possible. Living in Bratislava and working around 10 full time jobs (just kidding but not really), going off to taste all the wonders of the world isn't so easy as much of the wine just isn't accessible. Yes, I'd love to taste natural wine from Spain, France, Italy etc. but where am I going to get it? Thankfully, my options have expanded since the opening of Živé Vína, Bratislava's first natural wine bar. This lovely locále (where I'm redefining what it means to be a regular), combined with my occasional visits to Prague and their natural wine bastions Veltlin and Bokovka, have given me opportunities to taste plenty, but mostly locally. However - I'm still a total newbie. I haven't tasted many wines outside of these two countries that I call my home. And to think so many wineries in Austria for example are only an hour's drive away, if even! I know. It's a shame but I'm trying ok?
So when I first heard of o boufés in Vienna, I knew that a.) I had to go and b.) I had to go as soon as possible. I took a great friend, Kellan, mother of one of my best of friends, Campbell. This was her first experience with natural wine, but she's open minded, so much fun and loves as she puts it, "hip places with good food", so I knew we'd be okay. And boy, were we more than okay.
First of all, I love love love the interior decor. It's simple, grungy but still has this Mediterranean air and atmosphere that distinguishes it from the, in my opinion, all too popular Scandinavian-style-minimalism that's everywhere these days. Two floors, with cool hidden corners and a really spacious front bar that makes you want to immediately sit behind it. I love sitting directly at the bar because you're so much more engaged with the staff, but since Kell and I had a lot to discuss we opted for cozy seating upstairs.
Now - the food. The owner, Michelin star chef Konstantin Filippou is a culinary giant in the local landscape who opened o boufés with the aim of having 'an even more relaxed place' than his original restaurant that would focus only on natural wines. So yes, you expect great food. But I was really taken aback - I love the concept. You get warm food, but smaller bistro size portions, in crazy innovative combinations such as the delicious fava bean, pesto, grapefruit concoction or marinated mangalitza pork with kohlrabi in teriyaki sauce. Warm dishes are something that I always find missing in wine bars because no, I don't want a full fledged meal but something small would be nice! This really drives the point of how well the bistro concept can work together with wine home. AND THEIR HOMEMADE BREAD. Oh my gaaaaad. Probably some of the best bread I've had in my life. The waiter looked at us like we were nuts when we asked if they sell loaves to go.
And of course... Le vino. We had two wines that were different but both exquisite. I first heard of winery Werlitsch from my dear friend Zuzka who tasted it at Czech pop-up wine bar Druzstvo's event in Prague and loved it. Sauvignon blanc, few days on the skins, the wine was everything I would want a Sauvignon blanc to be - vibrant, but so much structure that I had my nose buried in the glass for most of the evening. The wine got better and better with each glass and was just plain delicious. Yes please, more please.
The second wine we tried was "just" by the glass, courtesy of the very nice and sweet somm on duty. Sidenote - the entire staff was very kind and easygoing and I love it when people can pick up on real interest and keep it piqued with steered, interesting recommendations. High five you guys. So yes, back to the wine. The sample was from Styrian winery Sepp Muster, a 2011 Chardonnay. Now - prepare to be horrified winemaking world - historically, I'm not such a fan of Chardonnay as a grape variety. I think I still need to grow into it as a person and wine personality, although I have had the opportunity to taste fantastic samples. That being said ! This one really surprised me. Despite being aged for 2 years in oak, and being as "old" as it was, the wine was fresh with great acidity and a really interesting cream yet mineraly aroma profile (even though I hate both those words, we'll just roll with it). I would have appreciated a second glass for a closer look, but the night was only so long and we both had to get up to work the next day. What a shame.
All in all, a beautiful evening with beautiful food, wines and company. A must visit for anyone who loves natural wine or wants to try them, loves great food and/or digs "hip cool places". You'l have fun either way. Love at first visit.