Austrian liver dumpling soup. I’ll admit, it doesn’t sound particularly appetising but then neither did a sausage containing cheese, and that turned out to be a delicious component of my ‘hot sausage meal’ at Kipferl Austrian deli in Farringdon. This tiny space accommodates just six tables and several shelves of Austrian wines, bread and countless unfamiliar jars and bottles. You can also buy liver dumplings.

When we arrived for lunch at 12.30pm two of the tables were already reserved and we were lucky that one ‘very regular’ customer was just leaving.

Kipferl serves Viennese breakfast, cakes, cold platters, filled rolls, soups, salads and of course, those ‘hot sausage meals’ which sounded like just the ticket for a rainy January Monday. I hastily ordered the ‘Kipferl special’ with käsekrainer, then caught sight of the sausage with sauerkraut and pickles – a meal that sounds like it was made specially for me – and promptly started sulking.

The owner asked us what kind of sausage we would like. Er… He explained that a weiner would be your standard Austrian wurst (like a Frankfurter), the debreziner spicy and the käsekrainer – a sausage with cheese. CHEESE. It sounded odd, which of course meant that I had to  have it.

It was surprisingly good. Tiny chunks of silky mellow cheese melt as the sausage is heated, creating an uncommonly juicy banger with a milky luxuriance that could easily be sickly if it wasn’t so well balanced. I particularly enjoyed the tight, crisp casing of the käsekrainer, which was so tense that every cut made me lean back slightly for fear of receiving a burst of molten pork fat to the eye. The accompanying salads were, I was relieved to find, lightly soused. This eased my regret at not ordering the sauerkraut and pickles and counteracted the succulent sausage perfectly; meaty lentils, soft potatoes and fresh, dill feathered cucumbers. A slice of rye and a dollop of  mustard were both very welcome guests at the party; the bread enabling a little light sandwich making and the mustard offering a placid, sweet tang.

The liver dumpling soup turned out well too. All you do (according to Kipferl’s owner – oh how I wish I’d asked his name), is plop the dumplings into simmering vegetable stock before garnishing with chives. One dumpling per person or two if you are very hungry. Of course, I did two. The stock I made heavy on the alliums, what with onions and liver being such happy partners. The dumplings taste a lot like faggots but with a slightly finer texture; since a primary ingredient of faggots is pig’s liver, this is hardly surprising.

I could really get into Austrian food. Firstly, they love pork. I think we all know where I stand on that one. Secondly, they love pickles and well, do I really need to repeat the story about me eating so many pickles as a child that my lips would turn white? I’ve not managed to achieve that as an adult but believe me, it’s not for lack of trying.

I highly recommend seeking out Kipferl if you are in the area, but do consider reserving a table. The website also advises that ‘good things take time’ and so if you are in a hurry, they advise calling ahead so that they can have your order ready when you get there.

70 Long Lane
020 7796 2229

Kipferl on Urbanspoon


First make a vegetable stock using two onions, 1 leek (split in half and well rinsed), several cloves of garlic, 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 2 bay leaves, 10 peppercorns, some parsley stalks and any other veg trimmings you have lying around. Add some salt. Cover with water and simmer for about 45 minutes. Strain through a sieve then adjust the seasoning. (Gently frying the vegetables first in a little oil helps to increase depth of flavour but I forgot this time).

Return the stock to the pan before adding two liver dumplings per person. Simmer gently for twenty minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped chives.

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17 thoughts on “Leberknoedelsuppe

  1. And now kipferl! My husband is part Austrian and leberknoedelsuppe is a favorite of us – and our kids!! Thanks for talking up Austrian cuisine! We always say it is a country based on the “3 s’s” – schnitzel, shlag, and schnapps!!

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m really enjoying it!

  2. Gosh what a little gem, I had never heard of them and I live just around the corner, thanks for that.

    Well, if anyone can make “Leberknoedelsuppe” sound and look good, that person is definitely YOU!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  3. Just got back from a week in Austria, scoffing all kinds of wurst and sauerkraut every which way, and don’t get me started on the mustard…bliss. Now I know where I can go to stave off those cravings, thanks! Hoping they do a good pretzel.

  4. I think Chris hit the nail on the head here. I’ll send you a special consignment of my marinade-cum-gravy to help you out. Should go down a treat.

    Comedy aside – this does sound ‘uncommonly’ good. Will try it out.

  5. Kasekrainer! First and last time I had one, the gooey cheese oozed down the front of my coat. Yet another place to check out when I make the long trek to the east.

  6. Biggest Jim – Excellent! I know next to nothing about Austrian food so will enjoy exploring further. I might tap you for more info! I went back to Kipferl for a sandwich today but I was disappointed to find them extremely small.

    Lizzie – Me too! I’m making some at the moment.

    Chris – Nowt like a comedy sausage to brighten up a meal! Now, if only it came served in some of Browners’ special marinade-cum-gravy.

    Mr. Noodles – Do they? Blimey I didn’t even notice. Too distracted by sausages I suppose.

    Billy – No worries. Glad to be of some use once in a while.

    Boo – I want to go to Oktoberfest! I really enjoyed the dumpling soup – extremely satisfying.

  7. I really like leberknoedelsuppe, I had it at Oktoberfest and was pleasantly suprised, Bavaria has a lot of Austrian influenced food. I’d not thought of making it myself but now I see there’s a supplier of good liver dumplings I might well have a bash at making it! I love how it looks with the floating chives

  8. Thankyou very much for posting this – despite working just down the road I never knew these guys were here. My craving for kaesewurst from when I used to live in Vienna may now be finally sated…

  9. This is going to be one of those times where I have every intention of leaving a sober, interesting post about the relevant subject but fail miserably.

    Hot sausage!! And it looks like a penis!!


  10. Sounds good (the place & the recipe). I’ve learned a couple of good Austrian recipes from my GF’s Dad and his neighbour in Austria.

    Weissbrot and Karnter Noodles (http://www.biggestjim.com/DinnersBlog/Entries/2009/2/25_Weissbrot.html and http://www.biggestjim.com/DinnersBlog/Entries/2009/2/27_Karntner_Noodles.html).

    Various types of schnitzel still seem to be pretty popular in their local, family run restaurants and to be honest, who can complain about a piece of meat the size of a dinner plate!


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