On our first night in Vienna, we had dinner booked at Loca: a fine dining restaurant, who pride themselves on an ‘eat better’ ethos. The menu highlights dishes which are local, low carb and low fat and it’s all about eating food that looks good, tastes good and will make you feel good. The walls are covered in infographics and illustrations that emphasise this further and I can honestly say, everything we ate was executed perfectly. We both chose the chef’s choice, a six-course taster menu, at only 44€, with additional wine pairings (28€). Our waiter asked if we had any allergies or dislikes, but I confirmed I’d be happy with anything – that’s always part of the fun with a surprise menu. There’s no obligation to go with the chef’s choice and the a la carte menu was really extensive and all reasonably priced.
We began with the house drink: vermouth with rose lemonade, served in a champagne flute and finished off with lime zest. I don’t think I’ve ever had vermouth before, but it was the most refreshing aperitif. As I sipped my drink, I couldn’t help but people watch and admire the decor – the majority of tables were set for two and the restaurant sat no more than 30. I just loved the holes in the white walls, complete with small plant pots and it was amazing that the only lighting came from the candles on each table. It really helped create an inviting and intimate atmosphere.
Course 1 – salad of burratta, poached pear, walnuts and lambs lettuce
I loved this dish. I don’t eat a lot of cheese and burratta isn’t something I’d had before, but it was soft and creamy, similar to mozzarella – and really complemented the walnuts and pear well. I’d not usually be inclined to order a salad without meat, but this was beautiful, with so many light, but earthy flavours. I’d have eaten it again in a heartbeat.
Course 2 – butter fish in a sesame soy glaze, served on avocado puree and topped with pea shoots
As a lover of both Asian cuisine and fish, this was totally up my street and it was definitely one of my favourites. The fish was light and resembled sashimi. The glaze was both sweet and salty, while the avocado – a surprise accompaniment – totally worked! Even Jake enjoyed it and he’s not the greatest lover of fish, so it must have been good.
Course 3 – cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle
We weren’t too sure what to expect from the soup, as the waiter had called it ‘sancho’ and it resembled the colour of mushroom – but it turns out it was artichoke! It was a really autumnal/winter soup, so warming and truffle completed it nicely. The flavour was rich and earthy, it’s just a shame there wasn’t more of it.
Course 4 – pan fried perch with shitake mushroom, cauliflower florets and garden peas, served with cauliflower puree
Another fish dish which tasted as good as it looked. The fish was creamy, in contrast to the skin which was crisp and well-seasoned. The vegetables were al dente and overall, it was a really pleasant dish. At this point, I have to admit I was starting to tire.
Course 5 – pan fried duck breast with roasted parsnips and sprouts, with a red wine jus
Duck is a meat we often have at home and I was really disappointed that I couldn’t eat much of this dish. I only ever have sprouts at Christmas and really dislike them, but they taste so different roasted and along with the parsnips, were almost caramelised – and yummy! The duck was cooked to perfection: still pink in the middle and the jus was rich enough, without spoiling the dish. I’m still annoyed I was unable to clear my plate.
Course 6 – chestnut cheesecake with chocolate mousse, chocolate crumb and raspberry sorbet
I definitely have a sweet tooth, because after a 20 minute wait (at our request, I must add), I absolutely destroyed the dessert! Cheesecake is one of my favourites and I love chestnut puree at this time of year; it’s something I wish I had more of. The little blobs of mousse were so light and the crumb was amazing. I honestly could have eaten the whole cheesecake!
I can’t remember exactly what each wine was, but we had three glasses of white, one red and a dessert wine, which was almost rose gold in colour. Each wine was specifically paired to each dish and was explained to us by our waiter.
The service was excellent throughout, especially considering the fact there was only one waiter (and two other members of staff) the whole evening. Our waiter did a great job of explaining each course and wine and did well to accommodate all of the dining room. Everything was so well presented and it’s a lovely, relaxing experience – we were in the restaurant for a good three hours. In all, it was a memorable evening; I’d definitely return and would recommend to foodies visiting Vienna.
Love, Lucy xx