Relaxed dining in a chocolate box location
Chef: Illario Mosconi
Michelin Stars: 2
‘My List’: To be decided. Solid middle of the table I would say.
Topping the bill for our weekend excursion to Luxembourg came Mosconi, an understated yet elegant waterside restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. It has all the trappings of luxury with the ethereal, dreamy quality of soft muted tones, textured tableware, thick linens and subdued lighting. Despite its accolades, the choice of 3 degustation menu’s (standard, truffle and an exciting pasta option) and the chocolate box setting it’s hard not to sink back into the chair and relax, such is the comforting nature of the environment.
When we originally booked my intention was to try the pasta menu given it’s not something I had seen before but as I flicked through the menu I couldn’t help but be drawn to the primary offering. Beginning with a palate livening Aperol sphere and a selection of snacks to kick the senses into action. As an extra treat, a shining tin nestled in a bed of rice appeared at the table, revealing itself to be a light salad with a slightly set consistency, the vegetables with just enough bite to add another layer of texture.
We began with King Crab, one of the primary draws to the menu, a generous serving of tender, sweet meat topped with dark, salty pearls of Oscietra caviar. Whilst rich in flavour, tiny gems of chewy, candied bergamot and drops of zingy citrus vinaigrette keep things light, refreshing and suitably moreish. Moving on, a silken cream of cannellini beans is paired with seared Foie Gras with the thinnest crust of sticky pan juices, an ingredient that we both enjoy but only in small measures (ethically I still find this a quandary and wouldn’t order it by choice) the bitter chard and drizzle of sharp, aged balsamic vinegar cut through the fatty liver with some welcome acidity.
To my pleasure, the two courses to follow gave us a sample of the pasta making skills of Mosconi, first, a light piquant tartare of citrusy sardine with linguine followed by cappelletti of duck with celeriac puree and shards of strong parmesan. The pasta was impeccable- just the right amount of bite and a velvety texture, it retained its own taste without becoming overwhelmed by the strong accompanying flavours and was an insight in to how the pasta menu would play out.
We ate at a leisurely pace, sampled the wine and snacked on fresh baked grissini and bread between courses (with the obligatory olive oil and sprinkling of butter) as the evening progressed the room hummed with subdued conversation peppered with the satisfied noises of those engrossed in what they were eating. Moments of theatre interspersed the chatter as the trolleys laden with cheese were silently wheeled through the room and presented with delight, drawing the eye (and the nose) was the ceremonial way in which huge truffles were removed from their protective wooden cases by gloved hands to be liberally grated over plates from a height.
I rapidly devoured the next course of flaky Sea bass with a glass like skin that shattered at the slightest hint of pressure, the autumnal pumpkin cream, bitter pumpkin and roasted black carrots signalling the move towards the more substantial dishes on the menu with the contrast of light fish against root vegetables acting as the prefect transitional course. As white wine was exchanged for red our final main course arrived with a cloud of meaty perfume emanating from the plate. A crisp croquette of meltingly soft veal was both hearty yet refined, the dense rich meatiness balanced by sharp onions and a hint of lemon. It’s probably no surprise that the remainder of our bread was used to mop up the very last drop of white truffle infused sauce, leaving spotless plates behind.
On that first glance of the menu, I spotted Gorgonzola ice cream and almost instantly forgot everything else given that blue cheese is a fairly new favourite of mine. Floating in a sea of vibrant persimmon spotted with acacia honey this was indescribably satisfying and I fear it will lead me down a slippery slope of gluttony as I attempt something similar at home and no doubt find myself scooping savoury ice cream direct from the machine at every available opportunity in a not-so-Nigella fashion
As dinner drew to a close, we finished with a soft, seasonal fig, blood red port sauce and a combination of nougat ice cream and almond cream. Much sweeter than the preceding course this is the grown up version of the kind of thing you would want to eat curled up on the sofa under a blanket with the fire on. Elegant and sophisticated the creaminess lends itself to a feeling of indulgence whilst fig and port form a sticky, fruity concoction that somehow feels like home.
Feeling full to the point of contentment (and somewhat lethargic after our early flight) we polished off the final Italian influenced treats and began the languid walk home with smiles on our faces and a bag of cantuccini biscuits as a memento of our visit.
13 Rue Münster, 2160 Luxembourg