Right off I will have to mention the astonishing building the restaurant is situated in. Not only does Vienna in itself serve you with tons of luxurious an breathtaking architecture, the Palais Coburg most certainly raises your expectations and is not lacking any luxury from the outside.
When we first entered the restaurant, we have been warmly welcomed and got a table outside in the rather unspectacular lounge installation. We were ready and up for the nine course tasting menu, starting with a glass of champagne. Being seated outside and having had to face several questions of the staff about whether or not we wanted to know about the price of this and that, it left us with a bittersweet taste of being like fish out of water.
Nonetheless, the waiters kept being friendly and explained the dishes well. As of the time management we encountered a rhythm that would compare to a rather bad movie (overly fast at first, exhaustingly lengthy in the middle and slightly picking up towards the end without being left with that charming spell). The amuse gueule parts of the menu kept flying in and you did not quite know where to put your fork or when to chew in order to not awkwardly being interrupted by the next little surprise. Then, once the dinner started with the real first course, it slowed down. It really slowed down. I mean it really, really slowed down. Only to accelerate again towards the dessert. If you want to get your head around the slowing down part: I do believe that we had to wait almost up to half an hour in between some of the dishes and the whole dinner took about five hours. That being for nine courses, an extra course that was recommended to us, quite a few starting surprises and the little friandises at the end. Sure, you want to take your time at such a restaurant, but we were getting a bit impatient towards the end, more so as I also have had the pleasure of dining at Alinea back in 2011 and this did not take quite as long for about twice the amount of courses.
As for the dishes themselves, each and every one of them was exceptionally carefully and creatively designed. Every single dish was great in taste and left us with a smile, yet a sort of monotony found its way into the creations after a couple of courses. Looking back on the ten courses plus the extra little specials, we could only name two dishes that really stood out for themselves. Those were the foie gras and the cucumber dish. Yes, foie gras divides nations and it is not well received, but we have to say that Silvio Nickol paired it phenomenally well with other ingredients such as fragolino raisins and nuts, so that every bite was a delight. But we would have to fight about whether the foie gras or the cucumber was better. The cucumber dish is said to be better tasting than it sounds. Cucumber with tapioka, coconut, cilantro and juniper - you get what I mean. But as odd as this dessert course sounds, as surprisingly refreshing and wonderful was its taste. What a lovely little dream!
We did have a little trouble with the check at the end. The staff only charged us with the wine pairing instead of the tasting menu, which lead to not much further complications but an even more time consuming back and forth of the waiters. A pleasant encounter was the chef himself, surprising us with a little chat at the exit before we left the restaurant.
Having left we were sure to be able to say that we had a lovely evening with even more lovely food, but that we did find us in lack of the overall „wow"-effect. It is a sure recommendation if you want to spend the money and quite a good value for the price as well, but you might want to make sure to be seated inside the restaurant for a better feel of the experience in total.
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