Posted by: seasin | July 3, 2009

Tabiet Restaurant, Sofia

This post is about their restaurant accross the street from the Kempinski Hotel. They apparently have another one but I don’t know anything about that one yet.

As most ‘nice’ restaurants in Sofia, the owners made a huge effort with the design of the place-lovely lovely interior, nice garden, nice table ware, proper linen napkins (and paper ones as well on the table-I love that in a restaurant, because I always need to take the chewie out of my mouth before sitting down, so what else am I supposed to do with it, and on the other hand, I hate putting lipstick on the glass and on the lovely cloth napkins-much better to have a paper one to wipe the stuff off). The waiter was attentive and nice (most of the time) yet not overbearing and omnipresent. Food however…the menu is, as always in Bulgaria, very extensive, and includes most Bulgarian ‘traditional’ dishes, scores of salads, but also the odd pasta dish (not typically italian though) and the “fancy” foods of international ‘cuisine’ like the asparagus one of our fellow diners had, or the fileted fish her and her husband shared for a main course. They don’t have wine by the glass, and the only reds they had in half-bottles (my DB and I shared one) are a Tcherga (bog-standard if not sub-standard Bulgarian red), a Chianti and a Valpolicella, both sub-average (at really huge prices, of course, like anything foreing). It was a major let-down, because neither of us has a particular palate for Italians wines, which we mostly find too light, lacking body (for BD) and complexity (for me). Don’t get me wrong, we’re more than willing to believe that there are good italian reds (we don’t do whites, or at least not if we have a choice)-we just haven’t found one yet and after all the failed tastings, we’re not very eager to try again, only to be disappointed again.

DB had a pasta dish (penne with veal ragu)-if that was a ragu, then I’m Albanian-a rather smallish portion with a stray, slightly sad looking basil leave plopped in guise of decoration on the side of the plate. I had a Bulgarian dish, boned veal djolan (a Bansko dish) with allegedly garlicky new potatoes. The potatoes were yummy (albeit only 5 of them made their way onto my plate) but not garlicky at all, and the meat was tender and soft (a bonus for my brand new teeth) but very very salty. I then had a dessert (something called Bacio Nero, or Black Kiss)-it looked awfull but like most awfull-looking desert stuff (think Eton Mess), was quite tasty and would have pleased a chocolate lover (it was little choux filled with what tasted like mascarpone, all covered in a light-beige chocolate-tasting mascarpone cream). Only had about a quarter of it though as I’m not big on desserts and not big at all on chocolate (I only ordered it because again, it sounded soft and I’m bloody constantly famished after the  ten days I spent unable to chew or bite. Enjoy biting into nice big apples while you can, you have no idea how much you’ll miss them when your teeth decide to act up on you!).

The restaurant was blissfully lacking screaming running kids, and the music was very discreet, plus there was no noticeable smoke (although it’s a fully smoking place, I played with the ashtray on our table all night). It is however a nightmare to get to, now with the traffic mess around City Center Mall, AND it’s entirely overpriced for the quality of food they offer (two starters, one pasta dish, two main courses and two deserts, a bottle of white wine and a half-bottle of red, one Jaeggermeister and two espressos-300 leva). I expect much better food and a better selection of wines for 150 euros/four people. I’ll definitely not go again if I can avoid it-overpriced and nothing exciting about the food (don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against paying up through my nose for really fantastic food and I’ve been known to do it once too often, but I don’t agree to pay premium prices for sub-standard food).


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