By Sandra P.
It is always exciting when a new restaurant opens in Zagreb and this one was one I was looking forward to. The location is very well known as the former location of very popular Takenoko. The Barbieris are known for great food. Seems like a winner.
It is a Thursday evening and we are a group of six. A lot of dishes to try. I am so happy I did not eat much all day.
We are greeted by a waiter and taken to our table where one of our group is already waiting. We still have two friends and everyone is in a great mood.
The space looks good, cosier and warmer than Takenoko used to be but still modern. I take it all in, take a few pictures, chat with my friends. No drinks. No waiter. The really bad feeling that you want a drink but do not want to wave like an alcoholic maniac to the waiter. So you chat away and try to catch the waiter’s eye at the same time.
Not really working. I do the alcoholic wave. What can a girl do? The waiter comes to save us from a conversation without alcohol. Or not quite. He comes to tell us that the bartender has to take our drink order. He at least comes only a minute after. We also manage to get hold of some menus. Things are looking up. The menu looks good. I like the addition of a nibble menu after 11 pm.
My starter fish soup is boring. I blame myself. Only boring people order fish soup I am thinking. My friend has the Tuna tartar and she looks happy. She is not boring like me and my fish soup.
My pumpkin soup friend is also happy. Although pumpkin soup with goats cheese and roasted pumpkin seeds- seen that done that. In total the starters are fine. Not much wrong with them but also not much to gloat about.
The wine list. Getting one of those would be great. The waiter already gave me a spoon for my soup after I asked only twice for one. Maybe I could also get my hands on a wine list. I can. And it is a nice one indeed. We go for the Bas the Bas. I’m not going to be the boring soup girl all evening. We talk, we laugh. It is hot here and very loud.
There is music which you cant really hear but you also cant hear the people at your table. I have some crowded London flashbacks. The wine is not coming. I really want to love this restaurant. I have this ‘It is me, not you’ feeling. The wine is coming after some time. Our gin tonics long gone. The wine is delicious but I really like Bibich and have his winery very high up on my bucket list. Main courses are arriving.
I have the turbot on cauliflower in beef stock. The waiter brings my plate and ceremoniously pours the stock over my fish. I take a bite. I am the boring fish girl tonight. It is bland and just so boring.
The fish is cooked really well but the whole dish taste like when you are on a diet and are allowed a white fish fillet. I look around the table. Two of my friends have chosen the beef cheeks. They look just not nice. Five pieces of meat, five pieces of palenta.
Not tender, not melt-in-your-mouth-don’t-care-if-I-will-not-fit-in-my-jeans-tomorrow. Both leave three pieces of meat and two pieces of palenta on the plate. The waiter doesn’t even ask why. It is awkward. You know when you want to break up with someone and practice the whole day to not hurt their feelings and than you do it and they aren’t really all that interested why and just shrug their shoulders and go.
My pumpkin soup friend has ordered the deconstructed burger. Sounds good. Looks OK. Tastes nice. She is happy with it but I get the feeling she is trying to convince herself to be happy with it.
Our last friend arrives incredibly late. Long blonde mane waving and all smiling. She is not boring and she gets a drink almost at arrival. Maybe I should have dressed differently? She is very hungry and would like the burger.
We chat away and drink the delicious wine. Her burger arrives with a surprise. She also gets fries. The first burger did not have fries. They forgot. It is hot and loud. My friends agree.
We go somewhere else for a drink and I am so much less smug about not eating much during the day. I am still trying to like this restaurant. I am thinking the lunch menu looked better and I should have arranged lunch. It’s me not you.