Palais Coburg is a luxury hotel in a grand building in Vienna dating back to 1864. The main restaurant is in a conservatory in the grounds, nestling under the impressive pillars of the hotel.The dining room is L-shaped, with a stone floor and glass walls and ceiling. A five course menu in the evening is EUR 65, EUR 98 with wine pairing. If you take the a la carte route then starters are EUR 7-14, mains EUR 14-25, desserts EUR 4 for each mini-dessert that is taken, or indeed each choice of cheese.
The wine list is immense, 145 pages of close-typed choices, representing a cellar with 5,000 separate bins and 65,000 bottles.Examples are Jermann Vintage Tunina 2005 at EUR 92 compared to a retail price of EUR 30, Trimbach Pinot Gris 2004 at EUR 44 for a wine that you can buy for around EUR 15 in the shops, while at the higher end of the list Opus One 1985 was EUR 420 compared to a shop price of about EUR 200, and Antinori Solaia 1986 at EUR 245 for a wine you can buy for around EUR 153. Some of the finer wines appear in literally dozens of separate vintages. The bread, which is made on the premises, was served warm and consisted of slices of white, brown and dark rye (16/20).
I began with a salad of veal and celery, which worked well, the crunchy and distinctive taste of the celery a nice earthy counterpoint to the veal, the good salad leaves having a celery-flavoured dressing (16/20). Beef tartare was served with tofu and cep mushrooms and a garnish of carrot.This was quite a light dish, despite the presence of the beef, and was pleasant (15/20).
I was more impressd with a veloute of duck, fluffed up and having strong duck flavour, carefully seasoned and served with a pair of crisp duck samosas on the side; the key here was how well the flavour came through (17/20). Cod was carefully cooked, served with a slightly spicy ravioli of chorizo and potato and cream of green bell peppers. The peppers were a welcome lift to the slightly bland cod; the bell pepper flavour came through strongly, and again the seasoning was good (15/20).
I enjoyed the main course of pheasant, one piece braised and the other pan-fried. This was served with pumpkin gnocchi and champagne cabbage. The pheasant had excellent flavour, especially the slow-cooked version, and the cabbage was a nice foil to the richness of the pheasant; the gnocchi was just a little heavy, but overall this was an excellent dish, enhanced by a rich red-wine sauce of the cooking juices (17/20).
Desserts here arrive the old-fashioned way, on a trolley. I tried a rich chocolate cake, apple and hibiscus shortcake with white chocolate, and (since I was in Vienna) the apple strudel. These were all nicely made, though not outstanding (15/20). Petit fours consisted of a little plum cake and a pistachio cake, both moist and with good texture (16/20).
Service was extremely good throughout the evening, friendly and helpful. The bill was EUR 123 per person, including the wine pairing and service.The chef is now Martin Kammlannan, the previous chef Christian Petz having left in late 2008. Overall I found this a very enjoyable meal, with an appealing menu and careful cooking.