I personally think there’s no better way to dine than eating great food while admiring a spectacular view… and what could be better than eating lunch in Europe’s highest gourmet restaurant?
Located 3,048 metres above sea level and made of glass, ice Q is not only spectacular to look at but is Austria’s highest located toque-rated gourmet restaurant! It’s no wonder that this incredible work of architecture was chosen to feature in scenes of the James Bond film Spectre starring Daniel Craig. The restaurant was turned into Hoffler Klinik where James Bond meets Madeleine Swann and the spectacular snow chase also begins here when Villain Hinx kidnaps Madeleine and drives down the mountain whilst James Bond chases them in a plane.
The restaurant is owned by Das Central Hotel and is located at the Gaislachkoglbahn in Sölden surrounded by 250 stunning mountain peaks.
Made entirely of glass and steel, the ice Q blends into the background whilst still remaining uniquely incongruous. The restaurant was designed by architects Obermoser and cost a 4.5 million EURO and is energy efficient due to triple glazing and the heat recovery system.
Up so high in the mountains there was such an intense feeling of freedom and the air felt so fresh it is quite literally out of this world!
After leaving Das Central and taking the Giggijoch gondola into first mountain station, we then climbed into a second gondola bound for the Ice Q. I’m not going to lie…as someone who is afraid of heights that climb to the top was a little nerve-wracking, in fact I couldn’t even look out of the window half the time. But when arrived at the top and my feet hit solid ground again, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Before lunch our first port of call was 007 Elements a cinematic installation that looks inside the story of James Bond with specific focus on Spectre. The building itself blends with the natural mountain environment and entrance is through a tunnel that takes you into the ‘Barrel of the Gun’ where you are immediately immersed in the installation seeing the innovative title sequences of James Bond through the ages.
After this we had the opportunity to explore a series of galleries intended to show the signature ‘elements’ of what defines a James Bond film. Hence the name! Now this is no ordinary museum, it’s a total immersive experience designed by Creative Director Neal Callow (art director of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre) and architect Johann Obermoser and Optimist Inc. Head of Design Tino Schaedler. Everything here is totally state-of-the-art and the combination with the stark mountain background is a totally exceptional experience.
I don’t want to give too much away but the ten galleries of the installation chart the journey of Bond through digital theatre. The Tech Lab allows visitors to interact with technology and see behind the scenes footage of how some of the most spectacular scenes in Spectre were created. There were also original props that feature in the Bond film such as the golden gun above.
In the Action Hall we were able to see the front portion of the plane that Bond flies in Spectre as well as a behind the scenes look of the mountain chase. Next in the Screening Room the sequence from Bond shot in Sölden is played so that visitors can see it with all the knowledge that they’ve acquired.
After the thrilling installation it was time head back to ice Q for lunch…
With totally glass walls, the restaurant offers a panoramic view of the mountains. The wooden interiors and Tom Dixon copper lights have a cosy alpine feel contrasting with the ice cold exterior of the restaurant.
We kicked off with a glass of wine – did you know that wine actually tastes better at altitude? Which is why Das Central’s signature wine Pino 3000 is matured here in wooden barrels in ice Q, right at the summit of the Gaislachkogl, at 3,048 metres altitude.
The food by Chef Patrick Schnedl was utterly fabulous as was the service and we enjoyed salmon with avocado for starter followed by chicken and vegetables for main course.
Dessert was an exquisite chocolate and cherry mousse. When we finished we had just enough time to explore the rest of the restaurant before the light began to fade.
Up the stairs is ice Q Wine and Tapas Lounge which also features a sun terrace with a panoramic view – I could just imagine Mr Bond himself enjoying a martini up here!
Our visit to 007 Elements and lunch at ice Q was one of those pinch-yourself magical experiences. And now I can say I have at least one thing in common with James Bond!!
ice Q Restaurant – highest gourmet restaurant in the Alps
(www.iceq.at/en / +43 664 96 09 368 )
Main courses from €24, open 09:00 – 16:00
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Mr S and I were hosted by Das Central as part of a press trip that also included all our meals and activities.