A la Colthard: Plachutta
Plachutta is one of the most famous restaurants in Vienna. It specialises in Tafelspitz, boiled beef the favourite of Emperor Franz Joseph. The cut of meat, normally rump, is prepared in a copper dish with onions and vegetables. This produced a delicious meat broth which you eat prior to the piece of meat. The meat is served with a horseradish and apple sauce and further vegetables of choice. I did feel that for all the build-up the actual dish was just boiled meat with sauce which made me hum that old musical song Boiled Beef and Carrots and the end product was not that far removed from an Irish Stew.
For starters both Polly and I had a herring tartare with apple: delicious but filling. Polly in particular is experiencing a constant problem with Viennese cuisine: its richness. God knows what the state of the Viennese arteries are because the most popular alcohol to accompany the food was not wine but large flutes of beer. I had some space left for a lemon sorbet in prosecco. Polly stuck to water but I had two glasses of white, a mini-carafe of red, dessert wine and schnapps. Polly ordered grilled fish. The bill came to €164 which was not unreasonable.
It’s a popular restaurant and I felt rather crammed into one section where our table joined onto the one next door. The couple did not say much but had rather the forced air of their first date. On the other side was a a smoothie with long hair whom our waiter seemed to know and was holding forth to his lady companion. I found the service too familiar.
Walking to the loo I saw on the staircase the photos of the great and good who have visited Plachutta over the years: Pele, Bill Wyman, Bette Midler, Mick Hucknall. It’s that type of institution that attracts a glitzy crowd of overseas visitors. Not that this should put you off. I would ony suggest if you do got here, have a very light lunch beforehand and don’t be too active afterwards!!!