REVIEW – Lunch at Le Monde (Vienna)

*****

Being a keen traveller, I love the concept of Le Monde. With its themed suites, bars and dining areas, the boutique hotel promises the chance to wake up in Sydney, dine in Paris and party the night away in Shanghai.

Sadly, after today’s lunchtime experience, I felt as though I’d been queuing up for left-overs in a backstreet in Bangkok instead.

Although the setting is chic and the staff friendly, the food served in the Vienna bar / restaurant area of Le Monde left a great deal to be desired considering the prices charged.

I opted for the relatively safe option of a beef burger (made with “Orkney Gold” beef mince), whilst my partner chose the slightly more adventurous-sounding “Duck Two Ways”, promising a confit of duck leg and pan-fried breast meat in one of the menu’s highlighted “LMSignature” offerings.

The restaurant area was around half-full, which didn’t explain the inordinate amount of time we had to wait for our choices to arrive. Optimistically, we presumed the “LMSignature” was being lovingly hand-prepared in the kitchen, and gave them the benefit of the doubt.

When the meal finally arrived, my partner was faced with rather an underwhelming platter. Duck is a difficult meat to cook right, and unfortunately, Le Monde didn’t seem to be up to the task.

Where the breast skin should have been crispy, it was limp and pallid; and where the meat should have been pink and succulent, it was dull and dry. The “confit” hid its surprise until half-way through the dish, as it was disguised as an unappetising-looking round brown lump that we mistook for a potato. When cut open however, it revealed strips of stringy and fatty leg meat that bounced off the teeth rather than melting in the mouth as good duck confit should.

My burger wasn’t bad and the meat was lean and tasty enough. Though the spray-coating of cheese on top didn’t seem to justify the additional £1.20 I’d paid; plus the dish was served on a wooden platter that proceeded to spin merrily on the polished table surface every time I tried to touch my food, making me feel more like I was trying to throw a pot than eat my lunch.

The fries I ordered were cooked and seasoned with rock salt. These were too salty for my taste, meaning I had to scrape them with my knife before eating them: as did my dining partner with those I offered her, although she appeared grateful for the opportunity to do something to take her mind off the gristly strips of duck fat on her plate.

We of course made our feelings known to the waitress, who apologised profusely with the defeated manner of someone who has had to make excuses for the food many times before.

The total bill with a couple of soft drinks was over £30.

You can fly to Paris for that (and probably get better food on the plane).

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