So with an hour to kill on Sunday afternoon, whilst Helena and her Grandmother attended a music concert at the Musik Verein, I thought I would take the opportunity to seek out a city centre coffeehouse and continue my quest for t my ‘perfect coffeehouse’. The problem with this venture was to be that every tourists and local in this particular part of the central ring road area had had exactly the same idea.
Now I don’t mind a ‘small crowd’ but I do know that no matter how good a venue, no coffeehouse will appear in its best light once I’ve had to queue 15 minutes for a seat. Thus avoiding the coffeehouse crowds I widened my search and strolled through the -8C streets of Vienna for a whole 20 minutes before coming to the conclusion that I would just have to retreat to the rather tempting pseudo Irish Pub that I had passed earlier – which would at least provide some live football on the TV and that pseudo real beer called Kilkenny.
However, as I headed for my new destination my eye was caught by something as I passed a side street and on a whim I diverted down this alternative path. Then there in front of me was the entry to a coffeehouse and I passed through its door and curtain. I found myself stepping into a single room establishment and immediately received a friendly greeted from the waiter stationed behind the bar. This one small room venue, I discovered from the menu, was called Cafe Hegelhof and provided the feel of traditional Viennese Coffeehouse but also the snug bar of a more traditional English pub. The eastern Mediterranean smoking pipes on a shelf added a Turkish element to this mix of tradition and local.
Having ordered my coffee I settled down to what was an enjoyable and relaxed forty-five minutes before I was due to return to the concert hall. Customers chatted away happily and some children sat doing their homework at a table opposite me. Wishing as ever to share such a delightful venue with friends I took advantage of the free Wi-Fi and posted a message on Facebook. It is sad to report that one member of England’s political establishment was less than gratefully in his response to my thoughtfulness. It is also true to say that this individual was even less gracious when I posted a picture of Cafe Hegelhof the following morning, which you understand was done only with the intention of brightening his long journey through the cold weather to work.
Cafe Hegelhof may not at the end of my quest be the ‘perfect coffeehouse’ but I have a feeling that I am likely to return more than once.