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Posts tagged ‘Cafe Eiles’

Lunch in the Café Eiles (Vienna Muse)

There are times in life when a single moment gains more clarity than the thousand moments before and after; when the significant size of a city space shrinks in the coincidence of two people meeting again and again, quite unplanned, as though destiny had it all preemptively narrated. Such were the moments in Vienna when I, previously untouched by the poetic force of a female muse, found myself repeatedly captivated by a mysterious, delicate girl.

It was a fascination which might not have been so fortified were it not for the repetition of the first encounter. I first saw my muse in the elegant cafeteria of the Kunsthistoriches Museum. Dominik and I had both marked her out, quite independently of one another. We were struck by the purity of her face, quite devoid of artificial make up but alive with a natural innocence, and by her clothing which was different. Her outfit looked almost home-made, but betrayed a feminine elegance in each of its carefully combined components.

I might not have thought of her again, had it not been for the coincidence of a second encounter the following day, some kilometres away on the other side of Vienna, in the Café Eiles. Unable to believe the coincidence of quite independently finding the same girl who had so captivated me in the art museum the day before, my interest peaked and I found myself utterly enraptured by this girl. Again she betrayed characteristic elegance as she went about sipping a tea while writing what looked like a journal, and knitting a rather complex scarf.

Vienna Muse FINAL

Lunch at the Café Eiles (Vienna Muse) (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

By this point I knew that the girl was becoming something of an inspiration to me, and like paparazzi I grabbed for my camera, desperate to capture the sight of this girl who I was sure I would never see again. It’s just that the following day a third encounter, in the same café, occurred. No longer a coincidence of place, but of timing. Another encounter which appeared to defy chance and confirmed to me that the paths of this girl and I were meant to cross. That she was my muse and that I must paint her.

As soon as I saw my muse on that second encounter this painting formed in my head. Now I have created it, complete with the lunch we ate in the cosy Café Eiles as I sat, captivated by my muse, I feel somehow satisfied that my muse has been set down on paper. But I can’t help but feel sad that even now, after three coincidental encounters I know nothing more about the girl who ensnared me. Neither her name, nor her voice, nor even a single thing about her. I just know that to me she was very special. Maybe one day we’ll meet again.

Vienna Muse DETAIL

Lunch at the Café Eiles (Vienna Muse) detail, 2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown

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Enjoying the Viennese Coffee House

Along with the waltz, the Danube, Klimt and the Wein Schnitzel, Vienna can count its famous coffee houses amongst those icons which have come to characterise the city. Dating as far back as the 17th century, and reaching their popular height in the 19th century, the cafes have long been the focus of Viennese society, as a place to read the paper, take a strudel, dig into a plate of sausages and of course enjoy a coffee. And of the latter, a fair number of Viennese specialities have developed alongside the historical cafes, including the Brauner (coffee with milk), the Melange (blended coffee and hot milk), the Kurz (extra strong), Obers (with cream), Kapuziner (double mokka with a hood of cream) and the Schwarzer (black) to name but a few.

Of the many cafes which have come and gone over the centuries, a renowned few have retained their standing as icons of the city, including the Central, the Ministerium, the Museum, the Frauenhuber, the Raimund, the Eiles, the Schwarzenberg and the Zartl. All are unique, but share common trends: a cosy interior with comfortable booths and little armchairs; smoky ageing mirrors, brass lamps and dark wooden furniture; and of course the all important display case in which the famous Viennese cakes are given the attention they deserve.

The famous Cafe Central, and the impressive cafe in the Kunsthistoriches museum

Cafe Centralviennese pastriesimage5

And whichever of the iconic cafes you choose to venture into, the formal etiquette tends to remain the same. Each coffee is served on a small silver tray with an accompanying glass of water. The waiters will most likely be tuxedoed, and it is generally anticipated that you will linger in the cosy surroundings with a paper or a book, long after the last dregs of coffee have been enjoyed.

With ferociously cold temperatures keeping us from the streets, my partner and I were often to be found in a coffee house in Vienna, lured by the cosy interiors and the traditional elegance which each exuded. We never quite made it to the famous Cafe Central, since the queues which seemed to perpetually form outside somewhat defeated the object of venturing to escape the cold. But we did make it into the Cafe Museum and, our favourite of all, the Cafe Eiles.

Enjoying the Eiles


With its eclectic mix of clientele, from the students of the local university to the lawyers and civil servants of the government buildings nearby, we immediately felt completely at home in the Eiles (having personal experience of both sides of the client mix). Its little curved sofa-booths, old fashioned brass lamps and a cream and brown interior felt perfectly traditional, and after several visits we soon got to know that it was the very best place to sample the famous Wein schnitzel, and a range of cakes to match.Best of all, with the accompanying mood of permitted languor, it felt like the best place in which to rest after the mass of museums on offer in the city, to people watch, to warm up, and of course enjoy the coffee.


Photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.