Being a self described purist with an unbridled passion for ingredients and awarded a Michelin Star for his work meant that it would be a good restaurant for me to experience on my travels. Lucky enough to get a last minute table, I made my way to Konstantin Filippou’s beautiful minimalistic restaurant in the heart of Vienna.
Once seated, the excellent waitstaff explained the menu for the evening in perfect English, explaining both the theme and philosophy of the menu and restaurant and offered a brief description of the wines available and served. After taking a few minutes to look them through, I settled for “Menu II” with the wine pairing – of course. Drawing from both Mediterranean and Austrian influences, the menu was an interesting creation and certainly did arouse my curiosity
The meal kicked off with an interesting array of canapés some a hit, some a miss – truthfully the only notable one was a Langoustine with cauliflower. The first dish on the menu was a Brandade with Char Caviar, one of Chef Filippou’s signature dish. After one bite of the dish, I was reaching for my wine – so salty, unbelievably salty, overwhelmingly salty! Not what I expected at all! The brandade was not rounded out at all in flavour and just delivered a sharp saltiness that the creaminess and slight sweetness of the caviar could not offset – a disappointment.
Next up was a scallop served with bone marrow and mushrooms. Whereas the scallop was cooked perfectly, the bone marrow was just a mushy tasteless ingredient in the bowl. I missed the slight butter creaminess and velvety texture of the marrow. Pork belly with an oyster, kimchi and radish was served next. Again, another unbalanced dish where there was no real sign of the pork belly at all. This was now getting worrying….
The most disappointing dish for me was the Bretagne Lobster with Beurre blanc and Onion. A restaurant of this calibre should never serve a chewy overcooked lobster. That is simple culinary blasphemy that laughs in the face of the restaurant-goers shelling out their hard earned cash but, mainly, it erodes the reputation of a michelin rated chef. A thorough embarrassment and I can only hope that it was a “one-off”.
The pigeon main course was pleasant with a good array of flavours and textures – tender meat with a nice earthy, gamey flavour with an interesting medlar sauce.
Two desserts were offered, the first being an unrefined yoghurt creation that seemed like various ingredients were just thrown into a bowl – it didnt work and the yoghurt had no presence at all. The second was called ‘Autumn’ which was a refreshing end to a disappointing meal.
A meal at Konstantin Filippou left me confused. Did I simply not get it? Do Chef Filippou and I simply have different opinions on what food should taste like? It was apparent that a lot of effort went into the presentation of the food and the service of the food was excellent but the taste, texture and cohesion was sadly lacking.