Melting Chinese

A relief from the standard “Europeanized” fare of crispy-fried chicken doused in generic sweet and sour sauce: Liounge on Gumpendorferstrasse

The dining room of Liounge on Gumpendorferstrasse in the 6th District of Vienna | Photo: David Reali

For those of us who associate Chinese food in Vienna with the standard “Europeanized” fare of crispy-fried chicken doused in generic sweet and sour sauce, kraut-stuffed spring rolls and fried rice that looks like Risi-Pisi, Liounge offers an intriguing alternative.  Located in the up and coming culinary mile that is Gumpendorferstrasse, this stylish restaurant is sure to win over the hearts and stomachs of foodies looking for a more authentic ethic dining experience.

Liounge’s specialty is the “Hotpot”, an East Asian meat fondue usually served at festive family gatherings.  Much like its European counterpart, this Chinese version revolves around a large metal pot of soup (Liounge offers several soups to choose from and thanks to the two-chambered pot used, you get to sample two of these).  The simmering pot is placed at the center of the table, allowing the diners to cook their food directly from their seats under the patient and knowledgeable tutelage of Liounge’s friendly waiters.

Ingredients are chosen from an all-you can eat buffet offering a generous selection of fine sea food, good cuts of meat and a satisfying array of vegetables.  The buffet also offers a nice selection of appetizers, which I caution you not to load up on, given the size of the Hotpot to follow.  For the adventurous food aficionado, Liounge offers several exotic choices such as marinated Tofu leaves, tripe and pork tongue.

To go along with the originality of its cuisine, Liounge offers a chic-moderne atmosphere that is a great departure from the typical Chinese restaurant. Gone are the paper placemats showcasing calanders and animal years, the wooden chopsticks, the generic Chinese characters that adorn everything.

Liounge is furnished with understated tables and artsy seating places, creating an ambiance that is anything but cliché. Their excellent selection of Austrian wines (a rarity for a Chinese place) is displayed at various places within the dining room, bottles resting in traditional cement wine racks. There are touches of classic European décor, such as a vintage, train station-style clock hanging from a fixture situated on one of the rustic brick pillars.

Located right at the entrance is the bar, which looks more like one characteristic of a Viennese club rather than a Chinese eatery. Featuring a shiny metallic backdrop, the bar is stocked with high quality spirits, such as Stolchnaya vodka, cognac, and good scotch, not to mention a satisfying selection of beers on tap, from Stiegl to Pilzner Urquell. A good selection of alcohol like this is typically foreign to most Chinese places used to serving cheap beer and plum wine. But Liounge delivers, allowing you to enjoy a well-made aperitif while waiting for you table.

Ultimately, the entire combination of culinary originality, modern ambiance and good drinks are brought together by the service, which is highly attentive and exceedingly friendly.

With a group of good friends, you are in a unique, tasty and sociable dining experience at a fair price.

 

Liounge
6., Gumpendorferstr. 29
Tel: 01 5863673
Mo-So: 16:00-24:00
www.liounge.at

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