The Rössle in Innerbraz is an old and dignified building bursting with history and character. Anyone who visits it – be it by car, by train or on foot – immediately senses this unique spirit. Underneath the chestnut trees, by the road, on the doorstep: you briefly pause and take in those around you. They are all as hungry and as jovial as you. The clean lime plaster, the crisp sgraffito on the building corners and window arches, the wrought-iron details of its modern metal sign catch your eye immediately. Albrecht and Bereiter, the young architects in charge of the renovation project, fully embraced the traditional craftsmanship of the 250-year-old building. They have adhered to the premises that govern the cuisine at the Rössle: quality work and a good sense of aesthetics.
Since 1775, the inscription on the wood-panelled tympanum tells us, the Rössle has been a family-run inn. The origins of this Rössle identity were kept in a coffer, the Rössle Archive, until recently. Elmar Bargehr, father of the family, handed over the large collection of certificates and documents to the Klostertal Museum Association and entrusted the inn to his two sons in 2014.
The men who run the Rössle, then, are no longer waggoners; they are no farmers nor politicians. Brothers Valentin and Martin Bargehr have found their calling in their relationship with guests and suppliers and in the local culture. Valentin is the chef and owner. Martin is the maître d’hôtel, a traditional head waiter who sees the human being in every guest. And the entremets served at the Rössle even include the occasional musical and literary performance.
The kitchen culture pays homage to the etymology of that very word – culture, from the Latin ‘colere’, the cultivation and maintenance of farmland, gardens and forests. This interference with nature characterises the cultivated landscape and provides the foundation of all dishes. At the Rössle, it manifests itself in regional partnerships with vegetable and meat producers, with cheesemakers and beekeepers, with hunters and housewives. They bring mushrooms and game from the woods, provide cow halves and freshly caught chars, supply ripe berries and home-cooked jams. All these goods are prepared in accordance with the vision of a chef who has learnt his craft at the Heimspitze hotel in Gargellen, under the wing of the Obauer brothers and the Engadin native Roland Jöhri. His profound knowledge and vivacious spirit are as convincing on foreign terrain as they are in his native cuisine. Once a week, he prepares sushi, bringing East Asia to the Klostertal valley for an evening. Strictly made to order, of course. On all other weekdays, guests get to indulge in Austrian classics – braised and fried treats in gloriously thickened, glossy sauces and savoury soups with Flädle or small liver dumplings. Just as it should be. No-frills culture on a plate, with a second helping never out of reach.