Croissants aren’t French.
They actually find their origins in 13th century Austria, when the crescent shaped pastry was called a kipferl. They’re just one of the many delicacies that the Austrians are quietly proud of, and like to remind us of in subtle ways. Like naming their restaurants Kipferl.
And if you want to try one for yourself, you just need to head down to Islington’s buzzy Camden Passage, where you’ll find one of the city’s finest Austrian restaurants. Granted, there isn’t a gigantic amount of competition for that title – in fact, Kipferl claim to the “the only authentic Austrian restaurant in London” – but that doesn’t mean they don’t bring their A-game.
Step inside, and you’ll be met with a tastefully understated rustic-ness, all drawing its inspiration from traditional alpine chalets. Wood-panelled walls are adorned with a Sound of Music poster, photographs featuring the likes of Austrian icons Niki Lauda, Hedy Lamarr and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even a bighorn sheep head-mount to really hammer home the sheer Austrian-ness of it all.
Like any decent Viennese coffee house, this is the sort of place you could breezily drop into at any time of the day (they’re open from breakfast until late). You may struggle to pronounce most of the items on the menu, but don’t let that stop you from attempting to cure your hangover with a hearty helping of Bauernfrühstük (a traditional bubble and squeak-style dish of potatoes, onion and eggs), linger over coffee and a fat slice of Sachertorte (Kipferl confidently claims it to be the best outside Vienna) or indulge in a three-course feast complete with cheesy Spinatknödel dumplings, Wiener Schnitzel, organic pumpkin seed ice cream, and a bottle of crisp Grüner Veltliner to wash it all down.
In fact, the wine list alone is a significant drawcard, with each of the 25 or so drops carefully selected by Kipferl’s Austrian owner Hubert Zanier and imported directly from top Austrian winegrowers. Prices are reasonable, mostly hovering within the 20s & 30s, but there are a few tipples priced upwards of £50, for when the occasion calls for it. On a sunny day, you can nab a table on the pavement outside and enjoy a spot of people watching with a cold glass of Winzersekt (that’s Austria’s own sparkling wine). There’s also a selection of fruity spirits from award-winning Austrian distillery Gölles, cocktails with delightfully on-brand names like Hugo and Helga (white wine spritzers with lime and mint plus elderflower or raspberry cordial, respectively), and a variety of Austrian and Bavarian beers.
NOTE: Kipferl is open now. You can find out more, make a booking, and even buy a cake for delivery at their website right HERE.
Kipferl | 20 Camden Passage, N1 8ED
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