Apologies for the delay in posting this, I wanted it to go live at the same time as my other Vienna posts, but of course, Christmas got in the way! It’s worth the wait though guys, honest!
After an amazing meal at Loca, on our second night in Vienna we had a table booked at Dstrikt: a steakhouse restaurant at the Ritz Carlton hotel. Following my horrendous choice of outfit at George in Prague, the previous month, I decided to dress up this time round and found that the majority were more casually dressed.
We had our coats taken and we were shown to our table, after some confusion due to the hotel guests in front, who assumed they automatically had a reservation – this is not the case, and whether you’re at the Ritz Carlton or not, booking comes recommended. I couldn’t believe how big the restaurant was: the dining room was open plan, with the bar running along one side, with some additional seating. Had I not known, I never would have thought that Dstrikt was part of a hotel. I loved the decor, although it was pretty basic, the cow motifs and diagrams were so interesting – and mirrored those shown on the front of the menu. One observation on the menus: they are incredibly heavy as the clipboards are so large. Unnecessarily large, one might say.
Obviously, having steak, I knew I’d be ordering red wine with my meal – but Jake wanted a starter to share, so I began the meal with a Hugo: one of my favourite cocktails I’d had in Italy, back in June. It was the perfect aperitif to sip while browsing the menu. In my opinion, you can’t go to a place like Dstrikt and not have steak, but there are plenty of other options for those who don’t eat/like beef, including chicken, fish and vegetarian dishes.
To start, we shared the organic ham: a plate freshly carved, served on pieces of beautiful pumpkin seed rye bread. It came served with butter, a lovely spread (no idea what it was, but it was a pinky colour) and grated wasabi. I made the mistake of assuming it was pickled cabbage, before shovelling it on top of my ‘open sandwich’ and getting quite a shock. The plate contained four pieces of bread and a lot more ham, so perfect for sharing – there’s no way I could’ve eaten the whole dish, followed by a main course! Prior to our starter arriving at the table we also sampled some of the freshly baked bread made with hard cheese, which was incredible. The tear and share loaf was still warm and the cheese flavour was so prominent, without it oozing grease everywhere.
As we both like our steak barely cooked, Jake suggested we share the chateaubriand (600g), which we had blue. When it came to sides, there were so many options and we went a little bit crazy, ordering four. This was definitely too many, especially as we ordered two portions of the truffle oil and parmesan fries. They were amazing: skin-on, crisp and full of flavour – but one portion between two would have sufficed. We also went for the creamed spinach with garlic and the onion rings with spicy ketchup. In terms of sauces, I opted for my favourite: peppercorn, while Jake tried the shallot and red wine jus, which smelt divine.
The steak was already off the bone and was sliced at the table, but this wasn’t the only surprise of the evening. We also got to choose our own steak knife! Yes, you’ve read that right. Our waiter came to our table with a box of about 14 knives, some already missing as they’d been picked by other diners. I asked for a recommendation, as I had no idea which knife to choose and was given a dainty silver knife without a serrated edge. The waiter said this would easily cut through the meat, because it was so pink in the middle, it wouldn’t need a sharp blade. Jake chose something very manly, almost resembling a samurai sword. Knives in hand, we dug in. The steak was one of the best I’ve had, it was on par with Hawksmoor in terms of quality and flavour. It was seasoned perfectly and was so good, you really didn’t need to smother it in sauce. The 600g option was just enough for two, especially considering all the side dishes we chose.
To accompany our meal, I decided upon a Spanish red: a Merlot-Malbec blend, something full-bodied to complement the chateaubriand. Our waiter came over just as we started to eat to explain that particular variety had sold out – but he was quick to recommend something else. In fairness, the alternative was probably better than what I had suggested. He apologised for the delay and even gave us our first glass for free; excellent service indeed. We didn’t have a second glass, largely because we’d finished eating.
Despite struggling to eat the main course, we decided to at least peruse the dessert menu. I’d read amazing reviews of their cheesecake on Trip Advisor and Twitter, but definitely didn’t have room to sample it myself. Instead, I just wanted a simple single scoop of passionfruit-banana sorbet. Jake chose the vanilla and caramel ice creams. I really don’t want to be negative, but it wasn’t worth the wait. We were left for 50 minutes, before another waiter came to ask if we were okay. We politely asked for the bill after explaining the situation and our bill was shortly followed by the desserts – with the chef’s personal apology. A minor blemish on what was otherwise a very lovely evening.
It was a shame, as the staff really do go all out for you, suggesting recommendations along the way and making sure everything’s to your liking – without being intrusive. You just needed to see the table next to us, who were celebrating a birthday and received a number of extras (including birthday cake, free desserts, flowers and a bottle of Champagne). Our waiter couldn’t have been apologetic as we collected our coats, even saying (and I quote) “it shouldn’t have been like this”. Up until the dessert, the service was fine. The food was amazing and worth splashing out on. The atmosphere, while lively, was also perfect for a romantic occasion.
I would definitely return to Dstrikt when staying in Vienna – and suggest you do too!
Love, Lucy xx