Miklošičeva cesta 17, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenia is a very small country with only about 2M of habitants, and as such not well known. Captured between the Adriatic sea and Alps, surrounded by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia and with a quite interesting historical background, it is a fantastic place for the food and wine lovers. Slovenia has quite some great chefs and winemakers, but internationally the best known chefs are two: Ana Ros and Janez Bratovz.
In 2015 I have visited Ana in August (the fabulous lunch at Hisa Franko is published here) and Janez in December. I could describe Ana as a voice of freshness, avantgarde, curiosity. A strongly energetic woman who loves to explore nature and creates explosions of flavours in the mouth. Even if deeply rooted in her terroir, is Ana strongly inspired by her worldwide travels and inspirations. Janez on the other side is the voice of harmony, peaceful beauty, nostalgic memories, softness, a man who is deeply rooted in the past and tradition with outlook into the future, chef who is with each dish, even when using ingredients from foreign lands (like wasabi, ginger etc), capturing the typical Slovene flavour better than even the most traditional Slovene dish ever has.
Janez manages to create dishes which are light also when they don’t seem so, and which are beautifully capturing the Slovene soul even when they don’t look traditional at all. They remind me of flavours from childhood and of traditional family Sunday lunches which consisted of a traditional bone broth, of Sunday roast and potatoes roasted with onion or cracklings which made them specially sweet and delicious. Janez is master of flavours which melt around the palate and express an incredible softness and harmony. His persimmon cream, Jerusalem artichoke, oyster cream, snail caviar is like that – a beautifully melting marriage of earthiness and sea; same intense and creamy, but seducing with another flavour were ravioli with cottage cheese and pistachio, cooked cream, sauce from veal tail, baked pear cream, raw foie gras – a pure ecstasy; same goes for the duck egg yolk with parsnip cream, lovage cream and mangalica pork cracklings – an unusual combination that works wonders. Also the slow cooked aged beef in wine sauce with puff pastry and vegetables was melting in the mouth like butter making us happy with the beautifully sweet intensity of pleasure.
On your next trip to Ljubljana, visit Restavracija JB. You simply can’t go wrong!
by Andreja Lajh