Brunch was an institution in Australia, and every cafe, on every street would compete to serve you the best food and coffee. After moving here I have really missed this weekend treat and struggle to get excited over the buffet breakfasts/brunches that grace most establishments on the weekends, purely because it reminds me of the continental buffets you get in hotels around the world, which leave a lot to be desired. Really wanting to be proved wrong I was pleased when the girls suggested Bergfrühstück at Schafberg Hüsli (Gargellen). What better way to experience the Austrian breakfast than by enjoying it on top of a mountain, soaking in the fantastic views.
When the alarm went off at 7am on a Saturday morning it was a far cry from the lazy brunches I am accustomed to, however it was to be an experience worthy of the early wake up call and hours drive.
Arriving in Gargellen just before 9am, with stomachs grumbling and in dyer need of a coffee, it was just a short cable car trip to the top where we were rewarded with stunning views and the alluring smell of bacon. It was a lovely day and so we took the opportunity to sit outside, and we were greeted straight away by a waitress offering us coffee. Then we had just under two hours left to take advantage of the buffet (food is served from 8.30am-11.00am).
They have the buffet spread out over two rooms inside the restaurant as well as outside on the terrace, which meant no, or very short queues. The first room was filled with a huge variety of breads, meats, cheeses, and spreads (although no vegemite for our Australians in the group), as well as some salad options. They also had a nice selection of hot dessert style dishes which I eyed off for later.
Deciding that pacing myself was the only way I was going to be able to try everything I wanted, I began with bread with meat and cheese. Then I remembered the hot buffet still awaiting us outside and added some eggs and sausages on the way out. The hot buffet offered fried and scrambled eggs, mini sausages, as well as plain bacon, cheese wrapped in bacon, and fried potatoes in herbs.
I don’t often write about how good the water you get at restaurants is (its not exactly the draw card of many places), however here it’s not tap water, but water straight from the mountain spring and it was so refreshing.
News then reached our table that in the second room they had not one, but three chocolate fountains (dark, milk and white chocolate). Willy Wonka would have been proud. To ensure you don’t just stick your head under one of them they provide an abundance of fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, apples, melon, apricots, peaches, grapes, cherries) to dip in. Not quite ready for that amount of sugar I paired my fruit selection with muesli and natural yoghurt.
As the time neared 11am it was time to head back inside and stock up on some sweets. I filled my plate with a mini crepe, fritters, and a Knödel and drowned them all in vanilla sauce, as by this point they had run out of apple sauce to accompany the fritters. I thought the Knödel I had picked up was filled with fruit, however I hadn’t noticed that they had two kinds and when I sunk my spoon into it chocolate nougat spilled out. This was the best mistake I think I have ever made, it was delicious.
Luckily, literally on the doorstep, is a whole range of hiking options, varying in difficulty, so you can work off some of food you have just consumed. Or if you are feeling up for it hiking up the mountain before breakfast would be a great way to really build up your appetite.
At 2.130m, the location is just beautiful, and the food is extremely good quality, especially considering the amount of people they are feeding. This unique breakfast experience has definitely won me over and I would highly recommend the trip if you get the opportunity.
The breakfast buffet costs € 16,40 (plus the cable car ticket if you aren’t walking up) and is available daily until 13th September. On the weekends you will definitely have to book a table.