Diner’s Diary

Slice of Viennese coffee culture a good excuse for afternoon tea at the Mandarin

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong serves cakes, sandwiches and coffee from Café Central, one of the oldest coffee houses in Vienna. Their names may be a mouthful, but they’re also delicious

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 May, 2016, 2:35pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 May, 2016, 2:36pm

It’s not that anyone needs an excuse to take afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental, but Hongkongers have an extra excuse to indulge - cakes, pastries, snacks and coffee from one of Vienna’s oldest coffee houses are on the menu this month and next.

Café Central’s history in the Austrian capital goes back over 140 years. Originally called Café Vienna, its regular customers included author Franz Kafka, Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky, painter Gustav Klimt and the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.

Diners at the Mandarin Oriental’s Café Causette and Clipper Lounge can have a taste of Viennese coffee culture, thanks to sous chef patissier Johannes Warmuth and manager Kay Froehlich, who recently came to Hong Kong to present home-made pastries and cakes from the coffee house. The most popular are Wiener apfelstrudel, or Viennese apple strudel, made from rolled dough filled with sliced apples, cinnamon, nuts, and rum and served with vanilla sauce, and Sachertorte, the traditional dense chocolate cake with apricot jam that’s covered in dark chocolate.

At the Clipper Lounge, guests can sample the afternoon coffee set for two (HK$498), featuring Austrian-themed savouries such as smoked trout sandwich, mini schnitzel on laugenbrot (lye bread), and omelette sandwich with salami. Desserts include the sweet Esterhazy, a sponge cake with butter cream, sachertorte, and Marmorgugelhupf, a marble bundt cake that isn’t too sweet.

Coffee drinkers will be able to sample authentic Viennese coffee (HK$68 per cup) from Julius Meinl Coffees. Viennese coffee recipes vary according to the ratio of coffee beans to water and milk or cream, Froehlich explains. The Franziskaner is basically a café latte, while the kleiner brauner is an espresso with a small pot of cream on the side. The Mozart Café (HK$128 per cup) is probably the ultimate coffee drink – the double espresso comes with whipped cream and can be spiked with cherry brandy on the side.

The Viennese specialities are available until June 20.

Some of the cakes – the Café Central gateau, Sachertorte, and Marmorgugelhupf – are sold whole (1.36kg) to take away, while the Esterhazy is available by the slice.

Café Causette and Clipper Lounge, M/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central,

Central. Tel: 2825 4000