Monday 19 May 2014


Dinner at Bodo's Schloss

Named after Bodo's Cafezelt, the oldest tent at Munich's legendary Oktoberfest - and Schloss, the Austrian word for palace, Bodo's Schloss aims to offer an alpine escape without guests having to set foot outside of London.

As soon as you near the restaurant, which is modelled on an authentic Austrian farmhouse, you know you're in the right place. Charming fairy lights adorn the building's entrance and the rustic wooden interior and checked tablecloths wouldn't look out of place in a real Austrian alpine venue.

Before our visit, friend and I had checked out the menu online, which looked divine, and picked our favourites. However, when we arrived we were told that because of Fondue Wednesday they would only be serving a reduced menu which, incidentally, didn't list any of the dishes we'd been excited to try. This was disappointing, not to mention strange as many of the authentic Austrian options the restaurant advertises were missing as well.

To make matters worse, as I took a sip from my water I nearly cut myself as there was a big shard missing from the rim of the glass. I would've probably noticed this sooner had it not been so dark inside the establishment but either way, Bodo's Schloss and I were not off to a good start.

After some deliberation we chose the seasonal soup to start our meal with, which was a sweet potato one when we visited. We were presented with huge bowls of steaming hot thick soup that could've easily passed for a main course. I enjoyed it, particularly the crunchy pumpkin seeds it was served with as it gave the dish some much-needed texture, but my fiend found it too bland and thought that having a soup made of just sweet potatoes and no other (root) vegetables didn't work.

For my main I opted for the only authentic Austrian dish available on the reduced menu: the Schloss Wiener Schnitzel. I love a good chicken schnitzel and as Austria's unofficial national dish I of course had to give it a try. The meat was properly thin and came with a deliciously crispy crust. It was served with cranberry sauce, which was a good choice as it made what could've been a very dry meal, nice and moist.

The side of a cold potato salad with a few slices of cucumber was adequate, but I did miss some vegetables with the dish. Unfortunately the reduced menu didn't offer any sides at all so I wasn't able to order anything else with the meal. I also wasn't a big fan of how the schnitzel was presented, in the pan it was cooked in, as it made it awkward to cut pieces from it.

My friend's hearty lamb goulash was a bigger success than her starter had been. The pieces of meat were succulent and plenty and the dish was complimented well by the side of crispy spaetzle (an Austrian egg noodle) and crunchy toasted hazelnuts. It was a side I'd never tried before but I had a taste as well and it was delightful.

For dessert my friend chose the apple strudel with custard which didn't do much for her. An excess of raisins made it hard to find the 'apple' and the custard it was served with wasn't very tasty nor did it come with a pouring jug, making it difficult to eat.

While I hadn't been in the mood for the cheese fondue as a main, I did get a taste of the Wednesday specials with my dessert as I chose the chocolate fondue. It came with generous helpings of assorted dippers - from strawberries to marshmallows and Amaretti biscuits to coconut flakes - and I was even told that if I wanted a top up, all I had to do was ask.

This wasn't necessary as there was more than enough for me (my friend even discarded her apple strudel in favour of the fondue and tried some of the dippers as well - there was that much) and I loved every bit of it. Dipping the various fruits and candy bits in the scrumptious hot chocolate was fun (albeit slightly messy as the strawberries kept falling into it) and tasty, making the fondue the undisputed highlight of my meal.

While Fondue Wednesdays are a fun idea we were disappointed that this unfortunately meant that the rest of the menu was considerably reduced and barely catered to. This wasn't made clear on the restaurant's website at all, so it took us by surprise after we'd already been seated and been presented with the small alternative menu.

The dishes we did order, were mostly fine but as they weren't the ones we'd had our heart set on, they were never going to be able to live up to our expectations. Thankfully the chocolate fondue was delicious and managed to lift an otherwise rather disappointing evening considerably. My friend wholeheartedly agreed and as she dipped her final slice of pineapple first in the hot and gooey chocolate and then in the popping candy, she commented it felt and tasted like a party in her mouth.

Bodo's Schloss, 2a Kensington High St, London W8 4PT.

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