Konstantin Filippou

Konstantin - 1In 2013, in a little known area of Vienna’s 1st District, Alexander Konstantin Filippou and his wife decided to open a restaurant with its own identity that would reveal another side of fine dining nonexistent till then in the city. The name of the Austrian chef, son of Greek father and Austrian mother, served as name for the restaurant, in a nicely accomplished gesture of showing himself and inviting his guest to know him through his cuisine.

His history is made of great learning, having inside the influence of the rigour and the technique from Central Europe in sinergy with the passion for the product and the simplicity of the cuisine from his mediterranean roots. He passed through some of the best restaurants of Vienna, like Steirereck; of London, like Gordon Ramsay and Le Gavroche and of the Basque country, like Arzak.

Konstantin - 16Entering the restaurant we easily realize the intent to break all the traditional fine dining etiquette, the decoration is clean and as minimalist as possible, over the tables there aren’t towels or big chandeliers, the room is naked of characterization, focusing the attention in the small counter where the several dishes are finished, in the windows with a view to the kitchen, and above all, in the plates put in front of us.

Already comfortably installed we are received with an excellent bread (always a good sign) and a butter flavored with caramelized onion – the best we tasted during this trip.

Konstantin - 23Amuse Bouche

Followed the usual snacks, in an amuse bouche style, Pomme Souffle with salmon and chives, a Taco of cuttlefish ink with fish tartar and salmon roe, and to confirm the chef’s Greek roots, a Vine leaf stuffed with rice. All very tasty and well prepared, but I must highlight the techinique and subtlety of the pomme souflle and the freshness of the Taco.

Having started the “festivities” we went ahead to the 6 courses menu, being that we tasted two different menus we tried all the dishes of Konstantin Filippou!

Konstantin - 22Crayfish, cauliflower, crumble and Arctic trout caviar 
The crayfish dish was divided in two services, first with the roe and in a tartar style, with two cauliflower textures, having the cream as the connection. A visually appealing dish and full of flavor!

Konstantin - 21Crayfish, lemon, pine nuts and crustaceans sauce
For the 2nd service, the body of the crayfish, flawlessly cooked, moist, with its natural sweetness on the spotlight. Very well accompanied by the delicate and tasty crustaceans sauce, the freshness of the lemon and the more earthy notes of the pine nut. A great start!

Harmonizing was a white from the Loire region, an Anjou Blanc Fragile of 2013, 100% Chenin Blanc. A wine from natural agriculture, with apple and white flower aromas, whose aroma and lightness of palate worked very well with the crayfish.

Konstantin - 20Duck liver, Isabel (grape caste) and beetroot
These two small cilinders, to which the photo doesn’t do justice, showed quite well the technical character of the chef’s cuisine, as well as his intention to cause surprise to his guests. Filling a thin beetroot cilinder we have a duck foie, a sweet and some elements to give some texture, like the isabel leaf. In terms of texture one of the best foie dishes I ever tasted, in terms of palate a delicate mix of earthy notes, the sweet and the fat that explodes in the mouth. Delicious!

In the glass, a Riesling from Alsace, the Grittermatte 2012 of Julien Mayer. A bio dynamic production wine, with good fruit and an acidity plus minerality that balanced the combination quite nicely.

Konstantin - 13 Codfish Brandade, sturgeon caviar
A more elegant and creamy brandade, using the siphon, but with the flavor of the dish very marked and combined with the saffron, also intensified by the caviar that takes the sea notes to another level. Simple and sinful!

To this dish, we tasted another wine from the Loire, this time a Sancerre Blanc Le Tournebride 2014 of Vincent Gaudry. Good passion fruit notes and excellent minerality.

Konstantin - 14Brittany mackerel, anchovy crumble, Txogitxu, cucumber pickle
Once again a good game of textures and flavors, with the constrast between earth and sea working very well betweeen the mackerel and the txogitxu meat. High score for the pickle, the anchovy crumble and the spicy horsradish sauce, which acidity, salty notes and spice elevated the dish to another level. Very good.

In the glass a great Roter Traminer 2011 from Tauss.

Konstantin - 11Pork belly, Gillardeau oyster, kimchi  and horseradish 
Another dish with a careful presentation and extreme technical rigour. The textures again with a major role, from the crackling to the vegetables and oyster itself. Once again, good earth/sea contrast in which all the elements merged harmoniously. Excellent sauce.

This course was accompanied, and very well, of a wine of  Languedoc-Roussillon, a Canta Mañana 2014 from Le Casot Des Mailoles.

Konstantin - 12Red prawn, sweetbreads, ginger and carrot
The dishes of sea/earth contrast seemed to me as the territory that Konstantin most likes to explore, and this dish was no exception. Brilliant contrast between the delicacy and sweetness of the prawn with the sweetbreads, a combination very well connected by the carrot textures and the ginger notes.

Harmonizing, the prawn had the company of another bio production wine, a white from Burgundy, the Vézelay La Piècette 2013 from Domaine De  La Soeur Cadette. Another flawless match.

Konstantin - 10Scallops, chanterelles, tupinambor, plum and white truffle 
If the combination of scallops and mushrooms is not surprising, the used techniques, the textures and the use of the white truffle change the entire view of the dish. Great cooking of the scallop, the unique aroma of the truffle, the connection with the delicate mushroom sauce and the light sweet taste of the plum.

Doing justice to a great dish, the harmonization couldn’t have been better, a white from Loire, 2013, the Les Saules Cour-Cheverny of Domain du Moulin. A wine that combines very well the vegetable and floral nuances and that reveals an excellent minerality in the mouth, slightly salty, working well with the dish.

Konstantin - 8Blue lobster, egg, sea urchin and chervil root 
Another explosion of sea and first class ingredients. Succulent lobster that combined with the sea urchin invite us to a dive into the ocean. The egg yolk gives the dish a unique greasiness, also being the link between all the elements. The chervil root gives that earthy tone we already got used along this menu. Delicious!

To go with, a L’Original 2013 of Clos de L’Origine at Roussillion. A natural wine which structure and acidity worked well with the egg and sea flavors.

Konstantin - 5

Konstantin - 3 Mieral Pigeon, Almond, Celery, Quince 
Another dish served in two times: 1st the livers cooked in an intense and tasty sauce; 2nd, the pigeon’s breast and thigh cooked two different ways, a superb sauce and a great and unusual combination between the almond and the quince, with the celery giving some freshness to the combo. A true Autumn dish!

Harmonizing was a Morgon 2013, of G. Descombes. A 100% Gamay wine, intense colour and a nose with creased raspberry notes in the mouth. The freshness of the fruit was the most visible.

Konstantin - 4Iberian Pork “presa”, black pudding, corn, cheese and Kumquat  
Cooked at slow temperature “presa” and assembled in slices like a tureen. The sides combined very well with the dish, particularly the freshness of the kumquat, the goat cheese sauce and the finest, and technically perfect, pork head crisp. A great dish, both technically and also concerning flavor!

Here the harmonization emerged after our challenge to the sommelier to pair one of the courses with the Redoma Tinto 2013 from Niepoort (the wines we took on this trip to Central Europe). At first there was some reticence of the sommelier, by thinking from the Douro wines he knew and their structure and concentration, there wouldn’t be a dish to pair it with, however, after tasting the wine and seeing the differences between the Redoma and a classic Douro, the choice was obvious, this Iberian pork.

Konstantin - 7The Redoma 2013 is even more elegant than its predecessors, a feature of the Douro wines from 2013, taking to the extreme by Niepoort in the search for greater elegance and lesser extraction. A wine that shows Douro on the nose with a good minerality and a depth we discover in the mouth in combination with an excellent acidity.

Konstantin - 2Yogurt, dill, licorice and peach
In a pre dessert style, a light and refreshing combo, elevated by the notes of the dill sauce.

In the glass, a natural sparkling of Judith Beck, the Pet-Nat Bambule 2014.

Konstantin - 18Passion Fruit, Banana, Sherry  and Coconut 
The trend to when you have an almost perfect harmony between flavor and technique is to expect for the desserts to be a point or other below the main courses, but that wasn’t the case here at Konstantin Filippou, where the freshness and elegance of the desserts revealed as the perfect ending to this meal. Here a coconut meringue, with banana and sherry ice cream, with a white chocolate crisp and nougat and a passion fruit and vanilla sauce. A delicious combination of tropical fruits, in a good game of textures and flavors, sweet enough.

With this dessert we drank an  Apertif Finum of Andreas Gsellmann.

Konstantin - 17Autumn
To end an already long meal, appears a dessert with a fall inspiration, with highlight to the amaranth, the dehidrated red fruits, the Mascarpone cream and a great almond ice cream. A great ending!

We ended with a French wine, the Banyuls 2013 of M. Chapoutier.

The service follows the informality of the restaurant’s image, but with an impressive focus in detail and the quality of the service without leaving any detail to chance. Highlight also to the good work of the sommelier harmonizing all the dishes with a wide selection of bio production wines, with a selection of small vignerons and “out of the box” wines.

The food showed Konstantin’s influences quite well, his Austrian side, subdued by riguor and technique mixed with the soft and delicate flavors of the Mediterranean cuisine.

Final Remarks
After tasting all the dishes that draw up the two available menus for dinner, we left with the certainty that the GaultMillau award of Chef of the Year was very well atributed to Konstantin and that the Michelin star he has is still a very short veredict for the quality they offer, I have no doubt they’ll soon keep company to Steirereck and Silvio Nickol in the two Michelin stars and that the World’s 50 Best Restaurants will come to recognize the merit of this space and this chef. The menu surely had some better and more interesting dishes than others, but there were no flaws, not in cooking, nor in composition, and in two different menus that’s an hard accomplishment.

One of the best meals of 2015 and one of the best in the last years.

P.S.: In the end we presented the chef and his team with a Senior Tawny from Niepoort so they could toast to their exquisite service.

Restaurant Konstantin Filippou
Menus from 68€
Dominikanerbastei, 17 – Vienna
+43 (0)1 51 22 229

 English Version

 Text: João Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses with Sony A7S

– We were at Konstantin Filippou by invitation from the Group, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.
– Niepoort wines, Porto Senior Tawny snd Redoma Tinto 2013 kindly provided by Niepoort Vinhos.

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