As a young cook, Lukas Ziesel learned with the best: including Andreas Döllerer, Heinz Reitbauer, and Hans Haas at the Tantris in Munich. He underwent his baptism by fire and widened his horizons as chef at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai – summoned there by yet another Salzburger, Gerhard Passrugger. Decorated with a number of awards – including “Best Hotel-Restaurant” in Shanghai – after four years he returned to Austria, where he initially provided a culinary pep-up to the “Lisa Alm”, a highly frequented après-ski hotspot in Flachau.
“My real dream was to get my own restaurant up and running close to home”, reveals Lukas Ziesel. And he managed to make that dream a reality on his “30th”, together with one of his best pals from his younger days, Harald Salzmann. With the “Völlerei” in Saalfelden, located in the Pinzgau district of Salzburg, the two of them have definitely managed to get off to a successful start. The beautiful setting for their high-flying culinary adventure is provided by the “Hindenburg”, which has existed, both as lodging establishment and inn, since the year 1494. The restaurant and bar are maintained in separate areas, while between the two is an outdoor Gastgarten that magically drew locals and visitors alike during summer 2017.
The Völlerei doesn’t focus on giant portion sizes. Instead, it offers diners the opportunity to sample and enjoy without regret and without ever having to worry about counting calories. As you might expect, they serve creative-yet-regionally-inspired dishes based on locally sourced ingredients. “Our vegetables are supplied by the National Park Market Garden, fish comes fresh from the Kehlbach fish farm, while the Fürstauer butcher’s in Saalfelden, as well as other area farmers, provide the meat”, says Lukas, listing off his most important local partners.
We began with absolutely brilliant “Alpine Sprats” – actually, delectably cured baby char served with garlic mayo. The minced beef filet with smoked egg yolk, truffle mayonnaise, pickled beets and marinated bok-choy was no less inspired. The beef filet of young Pinzgau bull (aged 8 weeks) was gloriously tender, while sides that included spinach, lettuce, and oven-baked onion with black truffles, matched perfectly. A rice pudding made with hay-milk, a white-chocolate ice cream, a sour-cherry compote and cinnamon added the finishing touches to a completely successful dining experience.
Their herbs for the kitchen and bar grow on the roof of the Hindenburg. Lukas and Harald produce their own rosemary-, elderberry- and lavender syrups, limoncello as well as other liquids. A number of raised vegetable beds might well become an agenda item for Lukas in 2018. “When it comes to gardening, all of our employees lend a hand. For us, it’s important that everyone feels a relationship to our products and develops a respect for the food.” It is always a joy to hear words such as these, since here we clearly see two young chefs with deep local roots and international experience setting a course in the right direction. It will be so much fun to watch how the restaurant and bar continue to develop!
Lukas Ziesel & Harald Salzmann
A-5760 Saalfelden am Steinernen Meer