Sridharan aka Roger ended up traveling 7000 miles to fulfil his passion for food. The story goes back to 1986: At the age of 17, he was working part time at a small restaurant in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India. He would finish his college classes and rush to the restaurant to take care of their cash counter in the evenings. All this in return for free dinner at the restaurant and a salary of around INR 2 or 3. Seeing this crazy craving towards food, his brother who was working in Germany gave him an opportunity. An opportunity to do a Hotel Management course from a reputed institute in Zurich, Switzerland.
Sridharan was in a fix. He was thinking “Whether I should leave everything behind and go abroad to study ? “ , “Is it worth to sacrifice my free evening dinners ? “, etc. But as the saying goes fortune favours the brave, he decided to move to Zurich to study Hotel Management.
Once he completed his studies he figured out that it was not easy to work in Switzerland. So he moved to Austria where the work permit was comparatively easily available. He opened a small restaurant in Vienna. Sridharan got the nickname of Roger during his early years in the new land as people were finding it difficult to pronounce his name.
Restaurant Heuberg , the restaurant now owned by Sridharan, has been operational from the 1920s. Sridharan revamped the menu when he took over the restaurant in the 1980s.
This restaurant is situated on the Heuberg mountain & is just 10-15 minutes drive from the Vienna city centre.
Mrs. & Mr. Sridharan oversee the cooking and their culinary skills are really worth appreciating. In this age of Yelp and Zomato, the number of repeat customers that they have tells the story. There was a young guy sitting at one corner of the restaurant who waved to Sridharan. Sridharan told me that this young guy has been visiting this restaurant from the time he used to move around in a pram. This is definitely a different level of loyalty and awesome set of repeat customer.
Sridharan speaks fluent German. But his Indian roots are intact and when I met him we quickly moved our conversations from English to Hindi to Tamil in a matter of seconds. We had a one hour long conversation in Tamil. IPL cricket match was telecasted on their television. During this one hour he placed orders for us which included the local Schnapps and beer to Pakodas and delicious Dosas. I have not seen many Indian restaurants operational in a foreign country serving a mix of Indian food and the local cuisine. Restaurant Heuberg has South Indian , North Indian and local Austrian dishes on their menu. They serve both vegetarian and non vegetarian food.
Their restaurant website describes their speciality as “Fusion Cusine of a different kind – a clash between Austrian and Indian cuisine”
The food tastes authentic and you feel like having it at your home.
Sridharan who also is the head of the Vienna Tamil Sangam (there are approx. 150 Tamil families and more than 5k Malayalees in Vienna, both of them can speak malayalam as well) says that “You provide the basic things in the best possible manner then everything falls in place”. If you are in Vienna on a vacation or work, this is the best place to have Rasam, Dosas, pakodas, chapatis, Sabzi and you can also taste the local cuisine like spätzle, schnitzel, etc. The Range Rover and Tesla parked in front of his restaurant made me realise that “Follow your passion and you can go places “ and my heart said “Roger that” 🙂