On a rainy Saturday night passers-by in the centre of Vilnius could see some people shrunk into their coats, knocking on the door of a speak-easy establishment that opened up for the seekers of unusual experiences: one night pop-up restaurant set up in a secret back room called “the library”. Directed by a creative team of cooking studio Čiop Čiop (Chop Chop), the intriguing program promised social affair in a small circle of the the chosen ones.
When I walked into the library I was instantly surrounded by a surreal atmosphere with dim lights, gleaming candles and the sound of violin played by a musician. Long wooden table set up on the elevated platform created a feeling of stepping onto the stage and becoming a part of some kind of performance with no pre-scripted scenario. It was up to every guest to assume the role they felt like acting that night and start the performance.
From the platform everybody were able to observe the action in the set up kitchen, where the chef and a couple of his assistants were preparing the meals. An interesting element of decor, which drew attention towards the kitchen corner was a bizarre sculpture of a huge white rabbit with an axe rammed into the chest, the meaning of which remained a mystery.
It seemed like those who gathered that night came there for a reason. The guests were mingling with glasses of sparkling in their hands and talking food. Well, at least the ones I approached were. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better ice-breaker topic than food and all the things related to it. And the topics were endless: starting with coffee and finishing with food and wine pairing. The actual meals served that night became a nice background for the evening, leaving the interesting conversations as the main course to savour.
The appetiser was served shortly after the guests were seated. Smoked eel mousse with brioche had a very subtle flavour and was slightly on the sweet side. In my imagination a brioche is a thick porous slice of home style bread and the one on the plate looked more like a thin piece of square sandwich bread. I would have preferred it toasted or at least warmed up. Overall, the appetiser could have done with some extra effort in terms of presentation, but it did the job of whetting the appetite and left me looking forward to the main dish.
A saddle of Australian Angus beef for the main course was cooked just right – barely seared on the outside, very tender with not too much seasoning, letting the subtleties of the actual meet flavour to reveal. It was served with potato gratin, a small bunch of baby veggies and some mild gravy sauce. My only wish would have been for the plates to be warmed up, preventing the food from getting cold in the matter of minutes.
Vanilla and white chocolate cheesecake came out for dessert. As simple as it was, the wine paired to it – Barton Guestier D’Anju Rose – did the trick of complementing the flavour, which resulted in a delectable match.
Lithuanian cheese board presented at the end of the dinner was a true hit: five different varieties ranging from mature hard cheese and finishing with elegant creamy white mould cheese made a serious impression on me and my neighbours at the table.
There was no obvious culmination of the performance. It continued on in the main room of One Two bar with creative drink concoctions and some inexhaustable foodie flirt over them until the actors vanished into the dark of the city.blog comments powered by Disqus