Fischer’s is like visiting Vienna without having to go to Austria (thank God)

When I wrote about the Famous Bavarian Village, people complained. I would now like to show you that I take such complaints very seriously...

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

Fischer’s is Austria made safe for liberals, gays, Jews and other Untermenschen riffraff, because it is a restaurant, not a concentration camp, and because it is in Marylebone High Street, not Linz. It is the new restaurant from Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, who opened the Wolseley, the Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel, and it is more profound and lovely than any of them.

There is always a clock in a Corbin and King restaurant, a big old clock from some fairytale train station, poised over the clientele as they stuff and age; for remembrance of mortality, I guess. Or maybe they just like big clocks? In any case, the guests here need it, for they are the surviving remnants of pre-war central European Jewry, who know about time and its meaning and importance, and who used to go to Cosmo in the Finchley Road and then, when it closed, to Oslo Court, a restaurant so ancient it serves crudités with salad cream, and so pink it thinks the Disney Princess brand is butch. They have huge Miami Jewish woman hair and ravaged, very interesting faces; they glide, as if on skateboards, across history. If you can canvass with dining, Fischer’s should be mandatory for Ukip supporters and xenophobes everywhere. It is an advertisement for the benefits of refugees, and it is very beautiful: art deco, well-lit, with polished wood, and long. It has good tablecloths, serious silverware and lots of art, so the wandering Jew can visit Austria in its mind while sitting down, and laugh, or weep, or simply have a panic attack face down in a strudel. I cannot emphasise how wonderful it is for a Jew to visit Austria without actually having to visit Austria; it is comforting. When I last wrote about such matters, and said that the Famous Bavarian Village in the Winter Wonderland theme park was rubbish, because there was no Hitler and he was famous, readers wrote in to complain that a racist Jew who hated Bavarians was writing the restaurant column, and she should be reported to some or other commission to be re-educated in the proper language of liberalism. I would now like to take the opportunity to say that I take such complaints very seriously. On that particular occasion, I laughed for five whole days. Then I wondered if The Spectator’s funds would stretch to sending me to the Eagle’s Nest, which is now the world’s wackiest tea room, so I could do it again. Is the Eagle’s Nest self-service, a buffet, à la carte? I long to know.

There are paintings of pastoral idylls — how idyllic depends on your ethnicity, politics and sexual orientation, I suppose — and men smoking pipes in strange hats, and people looking intense and unhappy in pre-war Viennese apartment blocks, as if about to have angry sex on good rugs, from which they will produce angry children who will hate them. Corbin and King have written a fictional back story for Fischer’s, so guests can play at dining with Freud and Jung, which I suspect sounds more fun than it was. They pretend that it is owned by a Jewish/Catholic couple called Otto and Maria Fischer, who had a restaurant on the Ringstrasse in Vienna, but fled Austria in 1927 (due to anti-Semitism, la!) and so came to Marylebone High Street. I can only wish that KFC had a similar creation myth, involving foxes; in truth this restaurant doesn’t need one. Corbin and King know how to create a hinterland, and I suspect this gift is unconscious. They do not need to try.

The staff are in pared-down Tyrol chic — dark green waistcoats. And they bring, in this order, glorious fat sausages with potato salad, a herring doused in mustard, four vast and golden schnitzels, strudels, pastries, wine. I love this restaurant. To a Jew scared of continental Europe, yet greedy for its pastries, it’s wondrous.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Fischer’s, 50 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 5HN; tel: 020 7466 5501.

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Show comments
  • MikeF

    Oh dear – is Ms Gold on some sort of student placement? This reads like she is. As for the restaurant if I ever go there and find it full of gays and Jews well that wouldn’t bother me. But those liberals can be a real bore.

    • Laguna Beach Fogey

      Obviously the ‘anti-semitism’ of 1920s Austria wasn’t effective enough if the likes of Tanya Gold can still peddle their filth ~90 years later.

  • Mick Norris

    Is it kosher though?

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    A restaurant safe for “liberals, gays, Jews and other Untermenschen riffraff

    Ah, that’s the important thing.

    A future target, I suppose. Thank you, Tanya Gold. (Good English name that).

    Please, may we have a restaurant suitable for civilised white men?

  • Damaris Tighe


  • laurence

    Apologies, Tanya, I’ve read this twice now and still cannot extract any sense. I recognise the words but cannot attach any significance to their order. I have no idea what they are collectively intended to mean and I’ve taught Heidegger, Joyce and Beckett. Thankfully there is a picture. It is, indeed, a pretty clock. Never been keen on bentwood chairs, though, and continental furniture tends to be a bit gaudy, hence its appeal to Americans.

    • Liz

      She means that it’s exploiting the holocaust to sell cakes.

  • tolpuddle1

    It’s difficult to see how greedy people fond of pastries are going to be much use defending liberals, gays or Jews.

    And since when have UKIP attacked refugees, as opposed to economically-driven mass-immigration ?

    Stop crying wolf from the depths of your cafe armchair, Tanya, or you may be landed with a real fascist party.

    BTW, what’s the connection between Miami and the Shoah ?

  • FootLong

    This restaurant critique smacks a teeny bit of Holocaust industry.

    • MikeF

      Definitely ‘teeny’.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Austria tries to make out it was a victim of the Nazis, when in reality it was a willing participant. Welcome to Austria, birthplace of Adolf Hitler.

    • Meh

      Wow! This is the single most idiotic comment I have read this year. So based on your lack of intelligence I will fall into line and go with the comment that because Ted Bundy was born in America you are all murdering rapists?

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Welcome to Austria, birthplace of Adolph Hitler. The country that gave us Kurt Waldheim, former UN secretary general, whose hidden complicity in Nazi war crimes was exposed late in his career. The brave little tyralian republic that imprisoned an ageing British historian not for what he say, but for what he might be planning to say. The country with Holocaust denial laws, where the truth is no defence.
        I realise that some Austrians may be offended by my words. I do hope so.
        Oh, and Beethoven was German, not Austrian.
        Jack, Japan Alps

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Tanya Gold, now would that be an Irish name?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    I always like to see a big clock. Getting so rare these days; can`t even find one in airports, train stations … And wrist watches are so last season now that mobile phones have come of age.

    • rightrightright

      There’s a big and kitschy one in Mecca.

  • Liz

    Is there a factory in China somewhere that makes this restaurant antique tat?

  • Dids

    This is a bizarre badly written article, that overplays the Jewish card and quite frankly is in bad taste and unfairly detrimental to the owners. It is everything that is wrong with Trip Advisor. But hold on a minute, this isn’t Trip Advisor!

  • Mick Norris

    Truth is there is plenty of genuine anti Semitism flying around in Europe. But I find this article silly in bringing it up purely for contrast purposes. My mother apparently goes to that place and says its great. Why not leave it at that instead of bringing up Austria´s well known history of jew hatred.

    Lets not keep crying wolf because it purely detracts from more pressing incidents of anti Semitism existing today in Uk and Europe.