On the terrace of the Esplanade’s iconic Le Bistro, Executive Chef Ana Grgić Tomić presented the new spring collection of signature dishes
Inspired by spring, Ana and the new menu introduce a gourmet explosion of colours and flavours. Asparagus, truffles, baby spinach, seaweed, cucumber juice, nettle velouté, purple potatoes, smoked turbot, Adriatic shrimps, wild garlic, white beans, home-made mango and coconut ice cream - Le Bistro’s new à la carte concept brings a range of fresh seasonal ingredients with a touch of Parisian chic.
A well-known foodie destination among the city’s residents – the Esplanade's iconic Le Bistro – on its picturesque terrace in the heart of Zagreb, with DJ music and enticing live cooking, today presented Ana's new spring à la carte concept, one which brings a range of tempting blends inspired by the freshness of spring. For the occasion, Executive Chef Ana Grgić Tomić, with her team of young and creative chefs, prepared before guests a series of scrumptious snacks, the smile on her face showing just how much she truly enjoys what she does. The presentation of the spring concept was attended by numerous representatives of the media, guests of Le Bistro, as well as a few famous faces and other gourmands, who were among the first to have the opportunity to taste the dishes that are from today available to guests of Le Bistro.
"I hope guests will really delight in my dishes this spring. I really enjoyed creating the new Le Bistro menu, I adore spring and the splendour of colours, textures, and flavours that inspired me to prepare a blend of surprising and nutritionally balanced and healthy dishes. I work closely with great local vendors who send me the best, so it was a pleasure to prepare these dishes. There was no lack of inspiration," said the Esplanade’s Executive Chef Ana Grgić Tomić and added: "While preparing the menu, this time, too, I was guided by the sustainable principle of cooking in order to make the most of all the parts. For example, I use fillets for fish dishes, but the rest is not thrown away. Instead, we use the head and bones to cook a fine fish stock. When creating the menu, I try to get as many ingredients as possible from local family farms, while the herbs are from my garden on the Oleander Terrace, all with the desire to have home-made food and reduce harmful impact on the environment. Sardines and shrimp come from the Adriatic Sea, the lamb comes from Gorski Kotar, while I bet our goat cheese from a small farm near Zagreb."
Spring is an opportunity for Ana to play with ingredients and cooking techniques, and she prepares many of them with her team in her own workshop. For example, she marinates the sardines in salt and sugar to extract moisture, and serves them with home-made parsley pesto and tomato jam, which she prepares herself. The purple potato gnocchi are handmade and come paired with home-made goat cheese and trout caviar. This time, Ana is preparing the tuna as an artsy mosaic – she starts by marinating it in salt, cutting it into strips and coating it with seaweed, then cooking it sous vide and cutting it into slices. The tuna’s freshness is additionally enhanced by cucumber juice, mint, and home-grown watercress. The lightly roasted amberjack fish comes plated alongside caramelised young cabbage, while the turbot is served in an interesting combination with kale and white beans. Artichokes are cooked in herb juice and served with baby lamb.
In addition to creative and surprising pairings, Ana paid attention to having a portion of the dishes adapted for a vegetarian diet and to those who eat according to halal standards, as well as for those who eat gluten-free. Here we should definitely highlight the legendary Esplanade štrukli in their gluten-free version, which are just as tasty as those with wheat flour. "The Esplanade Hotel has always been known for its excellent service, which includes adapting to the needs and wishes of guests. I like to say that we are one of but a few restaurants that can adapt their offer to the needs and habits of guests, while our staff is familiar with the standards of different diets, which is why guests come here with confidence," said Restaurant Manager Ivan Trbušić, who has been at the forefront of Le Bistro for twenty-five years.
His charming and well-established team served guests, during the presentation of the new menu, a selection of excellent wines provided by the Voštinić Klasnić Winery. This interesting winery and gallery cultivates its vineyards on the slopes of Ivanić-Grad, while in a modern space just an hour from Zagreb, in addition to making premium quality wines, it holds regular educational workshops and tastings. This time, guests had the opportunity to taste the well-known Fraktal the first sparkling Škrlet ever made, then labels Unikat, Škrlet, Red and Muškat, a light dessert wine which was served with a selection of desserts.
A creative range of sweet delicacies is prepared by the Esplanade's patissier team led by Mirjana Špoljar. For all those who need to round off their lunch or dinner with something sweet, the spring menu brings home-made mango and coconut ice cream with cardamom and raspberry crackers, mille feuille with white chocolate and pitaya cream, followed by namelaka with white chocolate, strawberries and rhubarb, juicy cake with carrots, oranges and roasted almonds, and the unmissable Esplanade hit - hot chocolate cake, this time paired with strawberries and vanilla and mint cream.
A selection of timeless Le Bistro classics offers dishes prepared according to traditional and proven recipes - steak tartare, Wiener Schnitzel with mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, delicious oven-crisped Esplanade štrukli, and a French classic – French onion soup. These are just some of the ever-popular dishes on offer.
The beverage menu, rich with premium quality wines, sparkling wines and champagnes by the glass, will further complement the dining experience. Le Bistro's permanent offer also includes a Daily Menu – three courses of daily fresh dishes chosen by the Chef, available for HRK 215, and including a glass of house wine and coffee or tea. In addition, this French chic ambience invites guests to every day enjoy a sumptuous breakfast, premium coffee, and a daily selection of delicious cakes. The restaurant offers guests super-fast free internet, Press Reader Hot Zone with free downloads and browsing of more than 7,000 newspapers and magazines, and an à la carte menu available through the Esplanade app with photographs of the dishes.
Ana's attitude to gastronomy, a young and charming team of chefs and waiters, and the pleasant and relaxed ambience of Le Bistro are reason enough to spend time enjoying tantalising dishes and fine desserts in the heart of the city.