Austrian Imbiss near Marble Arch

Hirter Korchl dark lager
Hirter Morchl dark lager

UPDATE May 2012: the Imbiss sadly closed at some point in 2010 or 2011.

Who opens an Austrian cafe in London? Seriously?

Imbiss is hidden away on Seymour Place, a back street near Marble Arch, in London’s West End. It’s next door to the Carpenter’s Arms.

Stepping inside is like travelling abroad. The staff are distinctly Germanic; there’s a huge display of various lurid leberkaese (meat loaves); and baskets full of pretzels. It’s minimalistic and bright, offering quite a contrast to the wonderful but gloomy Zeitgeist.

The food tastes authentic, too — i.e. processed, meaty and bad for your health — and it’s pretty reasonably priced, making Kurtz and Lang‘s overpriced sausages look a bit redundant.

The authenticity continues into the beer selection. Stiegl lager and wheat beer are available on tap, both fairly bland but crispy fresh, and much nicer than Stella Artois and Erdinger respectively. There’s a rotating range of bottled beer from Austria, too, including a selection from Hirter Morchl, whose dark lager we’ve enjoyed in the past. A quirky organic hemp beer is also on the menu.

If you’re jonesing for Mittel Europa but can’t get away from the UK, this is the perfect substitute, and deserves more custom than it seems to be getting.

It’s closed on Monday, but open until 11ish the rest of the week.