Hotel breakfasts are something I normally avoid at all costs when I travel. The predictable boring continental buffet and terrible filter coffee is my worse nightmare, however my recent visit to Hotel Bären in Mellau, Bregenzerwald has turned my nightmare into a coffee lovers dream come true.
Opening it’s doors in October 2015 this beautiful renovated hotel in the heart of Bregenzerwald is not just for those looking for a place to stay, but it‘s cáfe/ deli is a hidden gem in the mountains that you should make the time to visit.
It’s owners Maria and Josef Frick have spent a lot of time traveling and to my absolute delight took inspiration from their time in Australia and New Zealand and the ever increasing popularity of the third wave coffee shops. Therefore on their return their goal was to open a modern, cozy, and affordable hotel that offered a great breakfast, homemade cakes and served the best speciality coffee. Well…. goal achieved!
My love of coffee and poached eggs with avocado on toast is no secret, in fact it is a long standing joke with most of my friends which is why I was recommended to visit Hotel Bären. As soon as I took a peak at their menu online and saw the words poached eggs with a choice of adding avocado (in German obviously) I was beyond excited at the prospect of visiting. So on a grey and misty Sunday morning me and Roger headed into Mellau, but the weather could not dampen my spirits.
Even on this grey morning when we walked into the cáfe it was light and airy yet at the same time cozy and welcoming. I loved the way they used a mish mash of different chairs and had fresh flowers and candles on every table, however the best feature is the beautiful stone arch dividing the kitchen and the cáfe. Even the music got the tick of approval from Roger (which is no mean feat) with the playlist including the likes of Arcade Fire and The White Stripes.
I already knew what I was ordering, but for most people the breakfast buffet is the draw card, as they utilise all of the amazing produce available on their doorstep;
- Bregenzerwalder cheese and honey
- milk, yoghurt and eggs all from Vorarlberg
- meat from Metzerei Natter
- freshly baked bread from Bäckerei Kleber in Bezau
- homemade marmalade’s and spreads
Filter coffee is available, however we ordered a coffee from the machine and when this arrived it came as an Espresso along with a jug of boiling water so that you can make the coffee as strong as you like (perfect). They source their coffee beans from Handle Kaffeewerk in Dornbirn and change the beans regularly to offer different tastes. This had to be one of the best coffees Ive had in Vorarlberg, if not the best (big claim coming from yours truly) and if I wasn’t looking out of the window at beautiful snow capped mountains I could have sworn I was back in Australia. They even have the choice of a flat white, which originates from Australia (or New Zealand, depending on who you ask).
Unfortunately the avocado for my dish was not available on that morning and so I had to substitute it for fresh tomatoes. However I was not disappointed as the eggs were poached beautifully and along with the thick slice of freshly baked bread (which I could have eaten the whole loaf of) and the tomatoes drizzled in oil it was delicious and the closest thing to an Australian breakfast Ive had since moving here.
Once I‘d polished off my breakfast I then proceeded in tucking into some of Rogers (all in the name of research for my blog of course). Luckily for me he had just filled his plate up with their variety of freshly made sweet treats from the buffet like Riebel, cinnamon rolls (Zimtschnecken) and Buchtel (sweet bread with jam in the centre). Needless to say his plate was pretty much licked clean.
Part of the cáfe is also a shop where you can buy coffee, local Bregenzwald products, books and accessories. The hotel also has a pizzeria restaurant for in the evenings and a bar offering both local and craft beer from around the world, good quality wine and my favourite, a good selection of gin.
Hotel Bären is a perfect base or meeting point for hikers, mountain bikers and skiers alike, and offers so much more than just a bed for the night. You will be treated to amazing food and drink, beautifully designed rooms and wonderful hospitality. Sadly for me it is a bit too far to go and get my daily caffeine fix, however for weekend brunch it is definitely going to be a regular, and I recommend you add it to your list as well.
Photo credit @ Hotel Bären