We can see the restaurant on the 18th floor of the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom from a long way off. The 10-metre-high (30ft) windows provide a spectacular view over the city. The bright colours on the illuminated ceiling, designed by Pipilotti Rist, symbolise the four seasons, and if you care to take a closer look, you will notice that the colours of the ceiling change, just like the seasons. It is a beautiful place for a partnership like that of Antoine Westermann and Raphael Dworak, who are two friends that work very well together. We know Antoine from the time he had his three-star restaurant Le Buerehiesel in Strasbourg. He was also a member of Les Amis Saisonnier. Raphael is the executive chef at Le Loft, but the creations they make are a result of teamwork. In this restaurant, tasty dishes from the Alsace are combined with a touch of Austrian tradition. You will recognise the yellowy-gold crust on the sweetbreads from the Wiener schnitzel for example. Moreover, there is wine, which plays an important part of the gastronomy in the Alsace as well as in Austria. The wine cellar, with its tall, glass walls, contains a wide selection of Austrian as well as French wines. The veal that they serve here comes from the Austrian Alps, from a small farmer near Linz.
Soak the sweetbreads for a few minutes in salted water, rinse well and bring to the boil in unsalted water. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 7 minutes. Immerse immediately in iced water. Trim the sweetbreads, compress and set to one side. Clean the different vegetables and cut little balls using a parisienne cutter and blanch separately in salted water. Just before serving, glaze them with a knob of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the sweetbreads into portions, bread them à l’anglaise with egg, flour and breadcrumbs, and fry in sizzling butter until golden brown. Continue cooking them in the oven at 180°C/355°F. Clean the mushrooms and fry in a knob of butter until golden brown. Deglaze with the bouillon and add the green herbs. Clean the spinach, steam it briefly with the shallots and season to taste. Heat the veal jus and reduce it with the cream. Spoon the spinach into a dish and distribute the vegetables and the mushrooms around it. Coat with some veal jus and place the sweetbread in the centre of the plate.
Clean the ribs and season with salt and pepper. Fry in olive oil until golden brown, add the butter, the thyme, the rosemary and the garlic, and baste regularly until the temperature reaches 54°C/130°F. Cover meat and allow it to rest. Clean all of the vegetables and blanch carrots and the Brussels sprouts until al dente. Turn the potatoes, blanch them in salted water and fry in a knob of butter until golden brown. Deglaze with the poultry bouillon. Simmer over low heat and season with salt and pepper. Fry the mushrooms in some butter until golden brown and season to taste with salt and pepper. Glaze the vegetables with a knob of butter and some of the poultry bouillon. Place the meat with some of the veal jus on a plate. Add the vegetables and garnish with a sprig of chervil and a few slices of penny bun mushroom.
Season the goose liver with salt and pepper and fry on both sides in a non-stick pan. Remove from the pan, drain and fry the meat in fat from the liver. Add a knob of butter and the bouquet garni and roast in the oven at 180°C/355°F to the desired level. Take it out of the oven, cover with foil and set to one side. Reheat the liver in the oven for a few minutes. Whilst it is warming, slice the meat and arrange it on the plate. Place the liver on the plate too and brush generously with the warm veal jus. Finish with some truffle shavings on top.