Food is the number one thing for Mr B and I when we go on holiday and when we cruise it is no different.
From Viking we were expecting quality, variety and a focus on local dishes. We got this and we both agree the food even exceeded our expectations.
When I am on holiday I always look forward to a leisurely breakfast.
A buffet is available with a very generous selection which included freshly carved smoked salmon, a selection of cheeses and cold meats, yoghurts, fresh pastries, a selection or breads, oatmeal, a range of cereals, fresh fruits and hot options with eggs cooked to order any way you would like, bacon (English and American) and sausages.
Whilst the food on the buffet looked lovely and I was impressed with the variety, I am personally not a fan of buffets so each morning I ordered my breakfast from the menu. I really liked that you had the choice of buffet or ordering from the menu, or you could do both if there were a few things you fancied.
There were nine juices on the menu. My regular choice, cranberry, was not on there, but from the first morning I ordered it there wasn’t so much the blink of an eye and it was brought to me in a matter of just a few minutes. That was how we found all the service with Viking, no matter what request we had nothing was ever an issue or too much trouble.
One morning I ordered an omelette with mushrooms, ham and cheese – the filling was generous and it was really tasty. Fancying something sweet, another morning I opted for the French toast with maple syrup – the sweet soft fluffy toast was very yummy!
There were two breakfast options in particular which I absolutely loved, so much so I ordered them both four times over the course of the holiday! Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon is my favourite breakfast of all time but, sadly, it can be done wrong – overcooked eggs or a poor hollandaise can ruin the dish so easily. Well Viking did my favourite breakfast proud. Every poached egg I had had a silky, glossy running yolk whilst the generous amount of hollandaise was rich with a gentle hint of lemon. Combined with the smoked salmon it was utterly delicious!
There was a reason when I ordered the Eggs Benedict I restrained myself and only ordered one egg rather than two. It was so I still had room for what I liked to call my ‘breakfast dessert’ which for me was the cooked-to-order buttermilk pancakes. You could order plain, blueberry, banana or chocolate. For me the plain with a side of maple syrup was all I needed – they were so unbelievably soft and fluffy, the perfect pancakes!
A continental breakfast was also available every day on the Aquavit terrace, but we chose to enjoy a full breakfast every morning in the restaurant.
Lunch is served in the main restaurant and also on the Aquavit terrace. Whilst we enjoyed a few lunches in the restaurant the weather was very good to us on our sailing so we got to enjoy quite a few alfresco lunches on the Aquavit terrace. Whilst many of our fellow passengers chose to dine on tables in the shade we always opted for a table for two at the front, sitting in the sunshine. We are from the UK after all – we don’t get much nice weather so we have to make the most of it whilst we could!
The lunch menu has ‘always available’ options which as the name suggests are options which you see on the menu every day. These don’t change and were good lunch choices which we thought were great crowd pleasers, such as Nicoise salad, Cheeseburger, Vegetarian burger, Hot dog and for dessert, Chocolate mouse or fresh fruit.
The other side of the lunch menu changed daily. There was usually a soup for starter followed by approximately four choices for main and a choice of two desserts.
As we always enjoyed a generous breakfast and dinner, Mr B and I tried to restrain ourselves at lunch and just ordered one course. One afternoon, Dani, who was part of the wonderful lunch service team, did persuade us to try the curried cauliflower soup as he said it was too good to miss out on. We both had a small bowl and Dani was correct! It was silky smooth, sweet with cauliflower and had a lovely hint of spice – not hot, but well balanced which added a lovely flavour.
There was a different pasta dish on the lunch menu every day and this was usually my go-to choice. I love pasta and all the ones I had were superb, fresh pasta with a well-made sauce. Some of my favourites were the pappardelle al ragu, spaghetti carbonara and the penne all’ arrabbiata. Some of the lunch choices Mr B particularly enjoyed were the chicken tikka masala and baby back ribs with sweet potato fries.
Whilst we always passed on dessert, it was difficult as there were some wonderful sounding and looking desserts such as chocolate chip sundae, floating island, flan Parisien, peach melba and banana split.
Evenings where always the highlight of the day for Mr B and I. A fantastic dinner followed by cocktails at the bar always completed the perfect days we had on our Viking holiday.
We varied our nights between eating in the restaurant and at Aquavit. The same menu was served at both – we just enjoyed the two different locations. What we did really like about the restaurant was sharing tables with other passengers, sharing stories of what we had all been up to and everyone’s highlights of the holiday.
Like the lunch menu there was an ‘always available’ section on the menu which had the option of a Caesar salad to start and main options such as Angus rib eye steak, Poached Norwegian salmon and Roast chicken supreme with Crème brulee, fresh fruit and a cheese plate as the dessert choices.
The daily menu which had different options every dinner time was split into two sections. At the top there was always one starter, main and dessert which was regional to the port you were in.
Below this there were then two additional starters, three mains and two desserts. You didn’t have to have all three courses from one section of the menu – you could mix and match between all the options which Mr B and I did most days.
Every night at dinner there was always a basket of freshly baked bread on the table and there was a different one each night. From cheese-topped bread to olive bread to rye bread, there wasn’t one bread I didn’t like. In fact most nights I had more than one piece – I’m a sucker for freshly baked bread!
We enjoyed many, many mouth-watering dishes. Some of my favourite starters were the Halaszle fisherman’s soup, which was on the regional menu whilst we were in Budapest as it is a traditional Hungarian dish. Another soup I very much enjoyed was the Tom Kha Gai which is a Thai chicken soup made with coconut milk. It was lovely and fragrant with lemongrass.
Mr B and I both really enjoyed the crab cake and one night I also enjoyed the buffalo mozzarella in baked eggplant rolls with tomato sauce. This was actually on the menu as a main course, but I asked if I could have a smaller portion of this as a starter and of course this wasn’t a problem.
Our favourite starter of the holiday, for both of us, was the Goats cheese soufflé. It was so light but packed full the lovely goats cheese flavour. It was served with a tomato sauce with the sweetness of tomatoes balancing well with the sharpness of the goats cheese.
I was really pleased with the variety which was on offer when selecting a main course. I had many lovely seafood dishes, including a delicious seared seabass fillet with a lemon, caper and parsley sauce.
And a perfectly cooked pieced of herb-crusted Ahi tuna cooked medium rare which was served with wilted spinach, potatoes and a sherry shallot vinaigrette.
I’m a big lover of mushrooms and there were two vegetarian main courses I enjoyed which I couldn’t resist ordering – the mushroom and potato strudel served with a cream mushroom sauce. The pastry was lovely and crispy and packed with filling.
On our last night whilst we were eating dinner on the Aquavit terrace I enjoyed the portobello mushroom risotto with parmesan crisp.
Whilst we were in Vienna one of the regional specialities was the Wiener Schnitzel, breaded Viennese veal with warm potato salad. This was very popular – a lot of our fellow passengers were ordering it too. It was wonderfully thin with a light coating of breadcrumbs. I was worried it would be dry but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t.
Two excellent beef dishes I enjoyed were the beef short rib (which fell apart just using my fork as it was so well cooked) and the outstanding chateaubriand which was accompanied with a bearnaise sauce, gratin potato and glazed vegetables. The chateaubriand was utter perfection, perfectly cooked and oh so tender. It was obviously quite clear how much we enjoyed it as our lovely waiter that night offered Mr B and I another piece and a few moments later reappeared from the kitchen with another portion for us both!
I am one of those people that looks at the dessert menu first before I have even looked at the savoury dishes – it’s safe to say I have a sweet tooth! Viking didn’t let me down with the dessert offerings. Some of the standout desserts for me were the Key lime pie with meringue and caramel sauce, New York cheesecake with berry coulis and the lime cake with white chocolate and raspberry sauce. All were very yummy.
One night I could not decide between two desserts so I asked our lovely server which one he recommended, and he said he would get me both! Of course I did not argue and here is the face of a very happy person who loves desserts and is very happy she was given two . . .
In case you were wondering, the two desserts I couldn’t decide between were carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (a classic and one of my favourite cakes) and Somloi Galuska, a traditional Hungarian trifle (which was also delicious!).
It’s a hard choice, but probably my favourite dessert of the cruise was the ‘Moelleux au chocolat’, aka chocolate fondant. The middle was full of rich molten chocolate which oozed out once I cut into it. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it tasted absolutely divine.
A few nights, when I somehow had room left in my stomach, I also ordered the cheese plate. It does come with accompaniments, such as dried fruit, grapes, nuts etc., but when I ordered mine I asked for it plain – just cheese and some fresh French bread is good enough for me!
As lovers of food Mr B and I were very happy with the food on Viking, especially the focus on local, regional dishes which meant we got to try some dishes we had not heard of before.
Thank you Viking for keeping these two food lovers very happy and full during our wonderful holiday!
Want to know what is included on the Viking Silver Spirits drinks package? Have a read of my below post . . .
Want to have a look inside the ship we spent a week on whilst we enjoyed our Danube Waltz river cruise? Have a read of my blog post below . . .
Read about our 8 day itinerary sailing down the beautiful Danube on my other blog post below . . .