Cantino (Gourmet Chick in Austria)

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In Vienna the home of classical music, opera and of course the Viennese waltz, it seemed almost compulsory to make a visit to the Haus der Musik. Well, to be honest I only visited the restaurant in the Haus der Musik, Cantino. Set on the top two floors of the Haus der Musik, Cantino has one level with a bar where you can smoke (they are truly wild and rebellious in Vienna with indoor smoking still) and an upstairs that is the restaurant proper. It is all fairly modern with dark parquetry floors, black leather seats and good quality table cloths.

We began with a glass of the 2007 Gruner Veltliner which is an Austrian wine. It must have been pretty good as I seem to remember having quite a few glasses over the course of the evening. Entree was a sort of antipasto platter offering peppers stuffed with herb mousse and dried tomatoes, smoked breast of duck with Waldorf salad and dog fish with cauliflower panna cotta. It was all quite nice although I must admit that I had suspicions about the dog fish and cauliflower panna cotta. I had never had dog fish before, however it turned out to be quite tasty although my suspicions about the cauliflower panna cotta were well founded. It was quite a bizarre taste sensation.

A main of butter fish with black olive crust, zucchini and potatoes was fantastic. The fish was silky and luxurious. The lamb knuckle in thyme sauce was also popular at our table and looked suitably dense and rich. However dessert was another strange flavour combination. I had the chestnut mousse which was served with pumpkin compote and dark chocolate. I know that most Americans will disagree with me, but in my view pumpkin just does not belong in dessert: it’s a vegetable. I was truly bewildered as to its appearance in my perfectly good chestnut mousse. Perhaps it was a Halloween trick or treat.

Good quality food and beautifully executed however just that little bit strange at times. Maybe not so strange for the Viennese.

Details: 1010 Vienna, Seilersatte 30, Austria (Ph 01 512 54 46)

Damage: Reasonable

7/10

Other tips for Vienna

Zum Scharzen Kamel (The Black Camel) – a Viennese institution that has been around since 1618. Pour into the bar for a glass of wine and some Viennese style tapas. (Bognergasse 5, Vienna, Ph +43 (1) 538125)

Hotel Sacher – the home of the Sacher torte – unmissable for a slice of cake and cup of tea or coffee (Philharmonikerstrade 4, A-101o Vienna, Ph +43 (0) 1 51 456 0)

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