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Although you’d usually associate Vienna with historic buildings and lush green parks, our eye was caught by a sign in Prater Park one night that simply said ‘Rollercoaster Restaurant’ (our attention was grabbed immediately!).
The Rollercoaster restaurant is situated next door to Madame Tussaud’s and owned by the same company (tip – don’t forget to pose for free in the Madame Tussaud’s reception with the waxwork of Austria’s most famous non moustachioed son, Arnold Schwarzenegger), and was one of the more quirky moments of our 2 day Vienna itinerary.
The restaurant is found on the second floor of a very unassuming modern building. TVs on the stairwell give you a sneak glimpse of what to expect when you enter, but it isn’t until you walk into the restaurant that the full effect hits you – a cross between God’s Own Junkyard, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express and the futurist bars of Bladerunner (it wouldn’t seem out of place in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district).
Upon entry, you are greeted by a staff member and given a table number plus a tablet (of the electronic type, not a paracetamol), to allow you to make your food and drink orders. Although we only stayed for some beers, there is a range of food and drink choices available. A very neat touch was that if you order a cocktail, you can actually watch the robots arms actually shake and make the drinks themselves (like an electronic Tom Cruise from the movie ‘Cocktail’ but less smug and taller).
Once you order your drinks, they are placed by staff into mini ‘rollercoaster’ type carriages which then speedily freewheel their way to your table – this is also how your food arrives, neatly packaged up in a plastic container. This is actually the one limitation and downside of the restaurant – because everything arrives by rollercoaster, it limits what they can send to your table so all the dining choices sound very ‘microwave’ friendly, like a smaller diner style menu (as a result, we didn’t fancy anything on the menu). Cocktails arrive in sealed mason jars as to not spill on the journey to your table.
Another nice touch is that every so often, the lights dim and the robotic arms ‘dance’ in a choreographed routine (fun the first time but a little repetitive after that).
During our visit to Vienna, we visited Prater Park every evening and came across the Rollercoaster Restaurant quite by chance – what a wonderful discovery. At last, something a little different and a fun place that young and big kids alike will love. Although this hasn’t reached London yet (and it should!), a branch of this restaurant can also be found located within the Alton Towers Amusement Park Hotel in Staffordshire.
Blog post written by Neil Hassall. Photography by Caroline Keyzor and Neil Hassall, please do not use without permission.
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