Where the walls, dishes and wines speak
" dinner comprised a cold starter, two hot courses, sorbet, main course and dessert "
Dinner at Restaurant PEN KLUB, situated in a villa where the Slovenian Writers' Association and the Society of Translators of Slovenia are located, is an event of a special kind in itself.
My generation, since high school years used to go to a restaurant (often secretly, due to random meetings with professors) that we didn't call PEN, but rather said “let's go to Miki”. The restaurant got its unofficial name after the legendary Marjan Miklič, who, with his wife Oli directed what was undoubtedly the best restaurant in Ljubljana at the time.
The evening commenced with tasty “greetings” from the kitchen and sips of sparkling wine. First, two types of bread, herb butter and chicken pâté with roasted onions. This was followed by baked but cold whitebait. The last “greeting”, which was truly notable, was an imaginative and above all delicious interpretation of a typical Slovenian beef soup.
After the “greetings”, Chef Mojmir Marko Šiftar and his brigade presented a six-course dinner comprising a cold starter, two hot courses, sorbet, main course and dessert.
The cold appetizer was a slice of Adriatic wild greater amberjack. The dish was not only flavourful but was attractively presented on the plate too.
The next plate brought chicken velouté on which floated shrimp tails sprinkled with smoked lemon crumble. Another warm course followed, which lifted us up somewhat with its spiciness. Creamy polenta, cooked in fish stock with saffron, was topped with pepperoni, mussels and razor clams.
Prepared with ginger, Cointreau and orange peel, the sorbet was not only excellent but extraordinary. We haven't tasted such a fine tasting sorbet for a long time.
For the main course, ribs of Spanish Iberico pork were fried pink and sprinkled with breadcrumbs. The meat was accompanied by cream of kale and fermented persimmons. An excellent Chardonnay by Marof in Kramarovci was the well-chosen accompaniment.
Concluding the menu, an excellent composite dessert wowed us. It consisted of milk chocolate foam, spruce ice cream, blackberry gelatine and dried pomegranate. Wonderful pralines were served with the coffee.
Adapted from a text written in Slovenian by Conseiller Gastronomique Prof. Dr. Janez Bogataj
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