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5. July 2015: Restaurant Biblioteka No. 1

| September 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Apparently, the Restaurant Biblioteka No. 1 belongs to the best restaurants in Riga. After having had dinner there – I would not agree! Vincents and Valtera are definitely way beyond what the Restaurant Biblioteka No. 1 has to offer. But step by step.

The “9 course degustation menu” (EUR 60.00) sounded lovely – given you get 9 courses for EUR 60.00 which is quite a bargain. However, as my company did not want to have the whole nine courses we talked to the quite young waiter asking him to make it possible to just serve 5-6 courses. He was incredibly not helpful. In the end, as I really wanted these nine courses, we went for the nine courses anyway. As an aperitivo I went for a glass of “Vins Argiolas Meri, (0,2L; EUR 6.60).


The first course of the evening was “kefir with horseradish and pickled beets, dill, parsley, spring onions, raddish” which was an interesting combination of flavours. However, the kefir was way too much and overlapped the flavours of the other ingredients quite a bit.


While we were in the middle of the first course, a “beetroot with horseradish drink” was served. Sounds definitely interesting and entertaining for your palate but serving it during the first course while not announcing that it was part of the dish when bringing the first course to the table is definitely not how it is supposed to work.


The “Madona goat cheese with basil sorbet Iecavas, mint jelly, nuts and salt, beets, herb oil” was interesting. Although the basil sorbet was more basil granita than sorbet – still, the combination of salty, oily, crunchy, and last but not least warm and cold was quite interesting in texture and temperature.


The third course was mainly interesting due to the way it was served. The “Pickled Baltic Herring – apple cider vinegar, horseradish cream, fennel, Grany smith” was served on an ice block in which a herring was frozen. The combination of the apple and the fennel was lovely as it always is, however, the balance between the dishes did not quite fit. And in addition, the “repeating” started. The course before, cream cheese was served – and now again. Also, the course before, horseradish was served in the drink – and now again. Differently though, but again as a drink. This time “vodka with horseradish”. So two repetitive elements after only three courses is not really what I expect of the “best restaurant in Riga”. However, what is even more confusing is the fact that my company did not want to have the wine pairing – and still, you serve alcohol and do not have a non-alcoholic alternative? Really?!


Next in line was the “chicken liver ice cream, smoked sierra cream, wine jelly ruins, rye bread, onion”. The rye bread really added to the dish due to the consistency and texture. The chicken liver ice cream was definitely interesting as it was something I have had for the first time. However, if you have such a huge portion of chicken liver ice cream which is quite an intense flavour, it easily becomes too much. The chicken liver ice cream came with “Lombardy, Ca’ Dei Frati, Prato Benaco Bresciano IGT, 2011” (0,1L, EUR 4.80).


After the icecream, there was a sorbet. I mean, absolutely nothing against sorbets but right after the icecream? Quite uncommon – and does not really make sense if you ask me. However, the “cucumber sorbet, sorrel and apple granita” was a pleasant surprise. The cucumber sorbet was rather dull by itself but in combination with the slight sourness of the apple granita it became quite interesting.


The first main course was the “sturgeon fillet, enoki mushrooms, chicken broth, green tea sauce, onion noodles, black caviar”. The sturgeon fillet itself did not taste like much but the onion noodles were surprisingly aromatic. The black caviar added the respective “special effect” through the “popping” to the dish. It came with a glass of “Lombardy, Ca’ Dei Frati, Rosa Dei Frati Garda Bresciano DOC, 2012” (0,1L; EUR 3.60).


The “milk-fed veal loin, gnocchi with wild garlic butter, truffle oil, turnip, asparagus” did not taste like too much really. However, the wild garlic butter in which the veal loin was served definitely added a nice flavour to the dish. It came with “Lombardy, Ca’ Dei Frati, I Frati Lugana Grand Aunata DOC, 2007” (0,1L; EUR 6.80).


The next course was “strawberry and balsamic foam …


… “with Soir cheese and tapioca malzamico”. While the combination of cheese and strawberry definitely sounded very interesting it was not really anything surprising but a rather ackward taste. It came with “Lombardy, Ca’ Dei Frati, Frati Ronchedone Benaco Bresc” (0,1L; EUR 4.80).


The “beekeeper’s joy, honey, sour-cream snow, pollen, honey sponge, sea-buckthorn gel …”


… “with flowers and their scent” was interesting regarding the way it was served despite the fact that the waiter did not really manage to bring across the message. However, the beekeeper’s joy was also my joy as the sour-cream snow served with the honey sponge was definitely a lovely and smooth combination of tastes. It came with “Lombardy, Ca’ Dei Ca Dei Frati TRF Filer, 2009” (0,1L, EUR 8.00).


The last round of the course were some “chocolates” of which I only felt like trying the white chocolate with the berries – which was definitely good. Nothing surprising but sound.


I went for the “wine pairing” for the menu. The sommelier was friendly and really showed that he cared and wanted to go a good job – however, as he did not really seem to be mastering the English language, I was not really understanding the story behind the wines. A true pity as he seemed – at least in the beginning – very passionate about it.

What was a bit surprising is that all the wines came from the same vineyard (Lombardy, Ca’ Dei Frati) but the selection was still fine. The prices are okay (also for the beverages, i.e. 0,75L water, EUR 5.50; double espresso, EUR 5.00). However, given what you get, it is not really that great! All in all, I cannot really recommend the Restaurant Biblioteka No. 1 – definitely not the best restaurant in Riga.


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Biblioteka No. 1

Terbatas Iela 2

1050 Riga (LV)

Tel.: +371 20 22 50 00

E-Mail: rezervacija@restoransbiblioteka.lv

Homepage: http://www.restoransbiblioteka.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 180.00 (incl. tip) Filed in: Restaurants, Riga (LV)

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