Lunchtime delicacies by your personal chef at Mamsell
If you’re not looking for it you’ll pass right by. Mamsell inhabits a tiny storefront on the busy and artist-infested Gumpendorferstraße. Inside we found Nora Kreimeyer, welcoming us from the open kitchen to sit on the wooden built-in benches. It’s so close to the stove it almost feels like sitting in the staff area at a restaurant. Salt, pepper and sugar are adorably arranged on the clothless table in little Weck glasses alongside a fresh vase of tulips and a strip of wall tiles have old-school floral patterns in blue and white. The decor of the place is top-to-bottom inviting.
After her beginnings in Dortmund to various hotel and restaurant gigs in Berlin, Luxembourg and Hamburg, she settled in Vienna and began her one-woman show at Mamsell in 2013. She gets her love of cooking from her mother who now grows 66 different kinds of tomatoes, so plenty of them get dried, canned, made into ketchup, sauce, or other condiments.
“Just soup or the full menu?” Nora’s warm voice inquired.
“Menu,” we replied. That day the offering was a mushroom and dried tomato soup and potato goulash with sour cream and cabbage. We ordered lemonades, from Marchfelder Storchenbräu, a small brewery in the nearby Marchfeld region. There is a small but choice selection of beers from regional micro breweries and Austrian wines.
The name “Mamsell” derives from the french Mademoiselle and is the name bourgeoisie called their in-house staffer who functioned as a maid, cook, and general helper in the household. Ideally they would work cheerfully, be charming, offer snippets of conversation and anecdotes, but remain sensitive to the mood so as never to become invasive. Nora is a master at this.
The meal was glorious. The mushroom and dried tomato soup had a clear broth, julienne zucchini, cubes of mozzarella, fresh herbs and cress. It was garnished with slivers of cucumber and black salsify chips and was the perfect seasonal choice to warm up on a chill winter day. The potato goulash was subtly spicy and topped with a dollop of sour cream and a handful of cabbage seeped in ginger and parsley sprinkled with smoked paprika powder.
Nora has a deep understanding for seasonality and since she’s the all-in-one chef, proprietor and waitress, she never has to compromise. When she realized the most reliable business year-round was at lunch time she rode with it and is only open from noon to 15:30. Don’t be fooled by the size of the place, the quality is top-notch and if you opt for a private dinner with friends you get a made-to-order 4-course meal including wine accompaniment for €60 a head. Not bad.
We were reaching closing time and a patron pushed through the door with a smile.
“Only soup,” chef said. We had finished the last two portions of goulash.
“OK, what are you making tomorrow?”
“I don’t know yet.” Nora smiled. She posts her daily menu on Facebook as soon as she’s written it, usually before 10am. But just drop by, if you don’t like the choices, but are nice about it she might make an exception.
The Verdict: Mamsell is cute, delightful and full of personality, both the chef herself and the establishment. Don’t miss a chance to taste this home-style deliciousness.
Mamsell – Click here
Private dinners on request