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4. July 2015: Restorāns Vincents

| September 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

The “5 course degustation menu” (EUR 90.00) with the very promising description “our chefs offer a degustation menu, an ultimate taste of Restaurant Vincents. It’s a celebration of Chef Martins Ritins finest and most popular dishes utilising the best seasonal produce available” started very promising indeed. The moment you are seated the first course is basically already served. It was non-chalant called “walk in the forest” and basically consisted of a selection of different herbs with – well-hidden – grissini of different flavours.


Once you had decided to go for the 5 course degustation menu “five small greetings from the kitchen” were served which did not only look spectacular in the way they were served but also were quite outstanding taste-wise.


In ascending order, the greetings from the kitchen were “Vincent’s peas in the pod”, “King Crab in lotus root (Bering Sea)”, “Oatmeal basket, F.I. c/s salmon tatare”, “Foie gras rocher, Amadei dark, chocolate, Piedmont hazelnut, leaf gold”, and “Strawberry filled with Dark Cherry Balsamic produced by Massimo Bottura and wrapped in Shisso leaf and apple chips”. The variety of the different amuse bouches was definitely a very lovely start and prepared your palate and taste buds for what came after the initial greetings.


Usually, I would say there was some “bread and spread” served but this time, it was a bit different. Well, actually, it was very different! The bread basket is not only brought to your table but really celebrated as there are five different breads (I tried them all and they are very delicious) but not only that – the butter is, apparently, the best butter in the world. You are not only served both but you are also explained quite a bit about what you are about to eat and there is even a small leaflet left for you to read up on the bread and butter: “Vincent’s Own Baked Bread (Every day we knead flour with water, natural yeast and salt. The natural yeast is 27 years old from the Tishbi Vineyard in Israel, therefore, we look upon our bread as “holy bread”. We let it proof as long as a day and a night depending on the weather and bake the breads just before dinner. We only use organic flour from Latvia and France of different varieties.

The butter Bordier comes from France, Normandy region and is made by Jean Yves Bordier. Only the best quality milk is gathered, aged for 3 days before turning into rich cream and 36 more hours before mixede into butter. Butter is lightly salted and has flower, nut and earth notes in taste. It is handmade by old traditional methods.

Gourmands say that it is the best butter in France and even in the world. This butter is not a condiment, but the main attraction.” Well, I have not really an opinion if it is the best butter in the world but I must admit it was really a great selection of bread and butter – definitely way above average!


The official first course of the evening was “king crab with brown shrimps (Bering Sea), leeks, new potatoes, garden sorrel”. While I am actually not such a big fan of leek I must say the combination of leek with the king crab and especially the garden sorrel was quite refreshing!


The second course of the evening was a bit disappointing. I mean, there are quite different qualities of foie gras out there – some should not even be called like that – but while the idea was lovely and the “12 year traditional balsamic vinegar” was a great addition to the dish, the “foie gras ravioli, truffle juice, 12 year traditional balsamic vinegar, pantelleria raisins” did not really live up to my expectations.


The “Baltic sea flounder, sweet green peas, caramelized lemon” was interesting in taste mainly for one reason – as weird as it sounds, the peas were the special part in the dish. The fish was rather – well, blunt in taste. The hemp was balancing that out quite a bit (I have never eaten hemp before to be transparent though).


The addition of the “almondine ‘sauce'” on top of the dish was providing the dish with a little bit of crunchiness and chewyness which was quite lovely. However, somehow it was not entirely satisfying.


It is quite common to get a “sorbet” served in between the starters and the main course but I must say, I have never had it like that before. The “lime sorbet with green tea matcha” was prepared at the table and liquid oxygent was used to freeze the sorbet …


… which was then finalized with “green tea matcha” which did not add much to the taste but made it nice to watch!


The final product was definitely looking less appealing than the preparation of the product.


When the main course, “grilled duck breast, foie gras, salsify, celery puree” was served it looked a bit boring at first but when the …


… “presse de Canard” was added it looked more promising and it also added quite a bit to the flavour.


Again, a very interesting “pre-dessert” was served – not so much because of the taste but very much so because of the preparation at the table …


… a bit of “marshmallow meringue” on a stick was brought to the table and then prepared with a bunsenbrenner at your table. So you had a roasted marshmallow on a stick to start the dessert time.


The dessert was something I recently already had when in Bruges at “De Reften“, a “White Lady”. This one looked very different from the one in Bruges though – and it was also quite interesting in taste.


When the “liquid chocolate” was poured, it definitely had a nice show effect …


… especially as the chocolate was hot and, therefore, the dish started to kind crash by itself.


I had quickly left the table and when I got back, there was “The Box”. I was wondering what was to be found in “The Box” and soon got to know …


… it hat drawers filled with amazing chocolates …


… and the sad thing was …


… that you were only allowed to pick one single chocolate from all this many chocolates …


… but I must admit the “white chocolate with sage” was – while simple – great.


The place is lovely – to sit outside as well as inside. I only quickly had the pleasure to be inside and while you think the garden is big enough so you would have quite busy waiters, the inside is actually even bigger. And despite the fact that the place was full and the waiters seemed super busy at all times I must say that the service was absolutely flawless. There was always someone at your table when you needed them, your glass of water was refilled and was never to be found empty. However, they were around you but not really so you would not be bothered by their presence. Really one of the best service performances I have seen in the last couple of days.


With regards to the price, I must admit that EUR 90.00 for a 5 course menu is definitely on the expensive side for a country like Latvia, however, it is absolutely worth taking the degustation menu. The experience is outstanding – lovely place, amazing service, really good, high-quality dishes, and last but not least a fair price performance ratio (at least from a Western European point of view) – which also applies to the beverages (i.e. San Pellegrino, 0,75L, EUR 6.00; double espresso, EUR 4.25).


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Contact Details:

Restorans Vincents

Elizabetes iela 19

1010 Riga (LV)

Tel.: +371 67 33 28 30

Cell: +371 29 42 24 46

Fax: +371 67 83 02 06

E-Mail: restorans@restorans.vincents.lv

Homepage: http://www.restorans.lv

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
EUR 226.75 (incl. tip) Filed in: Restaurants, Riga (LV)

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