Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Restaurant Review - Le Bol (Vienna, Austria) for Breakfast
I hope all of you are well today. It has been fantastic weather here in Vienna, which is quite odd for this time of the year. Most of the Viennese can attest to the fact that at this time of the year, it should be cold and dark to the point where you may want to consider moving. But then you think of all the theaters, museums, music halls, cafes, coffee houses, bakeries, and other indoor establishments and you get happy again. These gems make you remember why you are living in the #1 city in world. Holler.
So to keep things fresh here at our blog we will give reviews of some of the establishments that we frequent here in Vienna. Here is our first installment :-)
(French for "bowl")
Neuer Markt 14
1010 Vienna +43 699 1030 1899
Let me just say that since I have moved to Europe I have really come to enjoy food from all parts of the Euro-zone. From the pizzas in Rome to the perogies in Krakow. But nothing quite compares to the pastries of France. The French have a way of making all their baked goods seem like heaven. Has anyone ever had the fresh baked croissants from Paul in Paris? Nothing quite like it. However, once you take the French cuisine out of France you gotta be careful. Some of the stuff you find outside of France is down right aweful. However, Le Bol is a beacon of French light in sea of mediocrity. We went to Le Bol this past Sunday and we were very happy with our experience.
The best part of Le Bol is the casual atmosphere. It is pretty much a cafe with food. The deco is very rustic with some cool modern and vintage things thrown in (i.e. old French ads, solid oak furniture, and bowls all over the place). I personally liked that the tables look they are taken straight from the French countryside. They were minimally decorated (see picture). Don't you like the little bowl of sugar cubes?
The staff is unpredictable... but you gotta love them anyway. We have been to Le Bol on numerous occasions, and it seems each time they are...very... French :-) Depending on their mood and on the chaos in the restaurant they can be pleasant or just plain rude. But take no offense, it's just how they are. Smile whenever you talk to them, try a few French phrases, and you should be fine. This morning it was nice because we had what seemed like a newer waitress (she had not yet fallen to the dark side). Of course the whole staff speaks French, and I wouldn't be suprised if they were all flown over from their motherland just to waitress there.
We got to the restaurant at around 10:30am, so it was still breakfast. It was busy! Seriously, most places in Vienna are somewhat barren on a Sunday morning (the Viennanese like their sleep and/or their Church on Sundays). Le Bol had people standing waiting for tables, so its a good thing we reserved!
We were seated immediately upon arrival by the new, nice waitress.
Cay and I both ordered the very typical Cafe au lait. Amazing! The coffee was served in a small bowl (nice), and the milk was steamed and frothy. The espresso in the drink was quite impressive as well. I caught a glance of their machine. It reminded me of the ones we used to use at Starbucks, before they incorporated their new-fangled-espresso-monkey-machines that a toddler could operate. It takes skill to operate the espresson machine they had. Needless to say, they had very good espresso.
Next we ordered the food. I had the Grand Le Bol. It was composed of a soft boiled egg, bree, ham, marmalade and butter. I must say that I am now a big fan of soft boiled eggs. I think it's because the yolk is still accessible without having to crack the egg and fry it in oil or butter. It just seemed healthier eating it. Plus it came in a cool little plate. Being an American from Texas, I had little knowledge on how to eat the soft boiled egg, but after a tutorial from my very cultured wife I was able to enjoy the delicacy. The bree was extra creamy and complemented the not-too-salty freshly sliced ham.
Cay had the Petite Dejeuner Francois (just like mine, minus the ham and bree) with a side order of Oeuf a la coque special. The Oeuf a la coque was a small salad made up of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and a hard boiled egg. Although this was not exactly French, it was still quite tasty. The tomatoes were perfectly tart, which complemented the smooth, yet firm pieces of buffalo mozzarella.
Both orders came with a fresh basket of croissants, baguettes and some brown bread. I am not exactly sure if brown bread is a French staple, but it is definitely an Austrian one. Maybe that's why they threw it in there. Either way it was delicious. Plus, the bread was made fresh and you could definitely tell through the crispness of the crusts.
The only critique I have was that the croissants were not as flaky as I would like. A bit too greasy, but hey they are croissants right? They still tasted great. Also, we need to teach the waitresses to smile more. Come on ladies.
Cost (all prices in euros):
Cafe au lait - 3.40 x 2
Petit-dejeuner Le Bol - 6.70
Petit-dejeuner francois - 3.80
Oeuf a la coque special - 3.10
Total: 20.4 (not too shabby)
It was well worth the 20 Euros. I do suggest when you go to this fine cafe/restaurant that you reserve in advance. Also, it is almost well worth it to people watch in this cafe. You have a fabulous mix in here because of the international clientle that come to this spot. Everything from French diplomats to Russion tourists and Asian couples (ourselves). Fine place. Go to it if you are in 1st district in Vienna for breakfast and you will not be disappointed.