I’ve been craving for sachertorte for quite a while now. You know, that rich chocolaty piece of cake with apricot jam spread between the layers. Then I heard from a friend about this place, just around the corner from the busy Odéon. It is called Pâtisserie Viennoise and it has been there since 1920s selling Viennese pastries such as strudels, kifli, linzer cookies… and sachertorte! It happens to be a perfect location for a quick lunch as it’s not far from my workplace. It also happens to be an opportunity to eat that long desired piece of cake.
Pâtisserie Viennoise is a tiny place with an entrance you would most likely fail to notice if it weren’t for all the pastries displayed in the window. Yet as everywhere in Paris, no matter how small the shop is there will always be a place or two to sit down and have a bite sur place. The interior of this small eatery is old, with wooden tables and old framed posters on the wall. Rustic and cosy, it is absolutely packed during lunch hour, mostly by locals and students from the nearby universities, Paris Descartes and Sorbonne. Not surprisingly, since having lunch there is probably one of the cheapest options in the neighbourhood.
As in every bakery or eatery of this kind it is popular to take la formule, an offer which includes a main meal, a drink and a dessert for a fixed price. So I opted for a 12 euros formule, choosing a bowl of tagliatelle with zucchini sauce, lemon and basil creme, which came hot and literally without a pinch of salt. Luckily, the lemon gave a good cut on the otherwise tasteless bowl of what could have been a good portion of fine home-made tagliatelle (you simply have to put salt when cooking in pasta, ask Italians). In Austrian spirit my juice happened to be Rauch.
Desserts can be chosen from the window display so I went out for a quick look although already knowing that the sacher was there somewhere lurking to seduce me with its shiny chocolate icing. I took a glance to make sure it was there and ordered a piece. As it came on the plate, a suspicious feeling came to me of a worst thing that can happen to a cake – to be dry. I cut the piece of cake with the fork only to find that my premonition was right and that the cake had nothing of that rich chocolate flavour but was dry and crumbly. The good thing about it was the balanced flavour of not overly sweet chocolate icing and apricot jam. My already deflated enthusiasm was gone in an instant after having tried the poppy seed kifli. Coming from a country where these kinds of pastries are extremely popular and also damn good, I was fairly disappointed. It was probably a day old.
I’ve had better pastries of this type back home so better for me if I stick to French desserts, which shouldn’t be as difficult. And sachertorte? I’m considering an apricot jam topping on a moelleux au chocolat for my local bakery. That should do the trick.
8 rue de l’École de Médicine