There is a saying that sometimes you can’t see what’s right under your nose. I have walked down Bahnhofstrasse in Dornbirn countless times and I never noticed Elfenküche and now I am kicking myself that I have missed a year of this fabulous world of soup . Tucked away on the corner of Bahnhofstrasse and Klostergasse this hidden gem is definitely one to visit, and will not mess up your New Year diet resolutions (too much).
After a work colleague came into my office a few weeks ago with their homemade soup, the smell alone had my mouth watering and therefore we made a date to visit for lunch. This small cafe aims to bring you traditional dishes but with originality, individuality and extravagance. They specialise in soup and stews and everything is homemade, made from seasonal and natural ingredients, even the bread. Their lunch menu changes daily with a soup and another dish on offer, along with some yummy sweet treats.
After having already checked out their specials for the day (rice with bio spicy meat or carrot and ginger soup) we took the short drive there for lunch. Opting for a large portion of the soup with their homemade bread (a portion of rice is also available as a side), we grabbed a vacant spot at the standing bench overlooking the road. Seating is in high demand here, especially in Winter when they have no outdoor tables, and so you may end up getting your food to go. However if you are lucky enough to get a spot, this cafe has a lovely communal feel to it, and somewhere I would feel comfortable both eating alone, or in a group. They also have an open kitchen making you feel right at home.
What can I say, the soup was amazing, but my eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach when I choose a large portion. With the homemade bread on the side (delicious as well) this was an extremely filling lunch and I was pretty annoyed that I couldn’t finish it all. The guy next to me had the rice with beef, which smelt and looked amazing and I was nearly tempted to ask him if I could try it, but still a bit unsure on how welcoming that would be here in Vorarlberg.
Other daily specials have included beetroot soup with cabbage, feta and yoghurt, chickpea korma with ginger and chilli, grilled parsnip soup with sesame seeds, chili con carne with bio beef, potato and wasabi soup and mediterranean potatoes with capers and parmesan.
If lunch just isn’t enough for you, never fear you can also buy a whole range of their soups to heat at home, served in their stylish glass jars. They are prepared and preserved following the principles of making jam and so they last up to 6-8 weeks (so make sure you take a big bag and stock up your fridge).
For me, I love how they offer such a variety of soups and dishes over not just the week, but the month, meaning you can visit frequently and never get sick of eating the same thing, and for people who love to try new flavours, you are on to a winner here. I find I am checking their Facebook page every morning to see what amazing creations grace their daily menu.
If you don`t have time for lunch just pop in for a coffee and mini sweet treat (once you’ve had enough of that New Year’s diet). The only downside I have found is that they are only open Tuesday to Friday (9.00-15.00), and so if you don’t work in Dornbirn you may have to throw a sickie to enjoy their spoils.