You’ve discovered Bratislava for a weekend away in Bratislava Part 1, now in part 2 we recommend places to eat and drink while on your weekend break.
EATING AND DRINKING
Typical Slovak cuisine is influenced by Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary – you should definitely try the bryndza dumplings with bacon, and the garlic soup is a firm favourite among citizens. But there have been leaps and bounds made in Bratislavan gastronomy, with a few key places that offer visitors the chance to experience fine dining at its very best – and pay half of what one would expect from this quality in London.
Standing for Unique Food Offering… no, not really – although UFO’s tagline is ‘Watch, Taste, Groove’. It’s impossible to miss the location of this incredible restaurant, found inside the space-ship shaped architecture across the main bridge that spans the Danube. Catch a lift to the top and take in the spectacular views, then turn your attention to the food.
The menu is divided in half – on one side are Slovak specialities with a special twist, while the other offers a fusion of exciting Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. For those wanting to get the full experience then go for the degustation menu – seven courses that include the likes of pork knuckle broth, venison rack with glazed chestnuts and Mangalitsa tenderloin with potato dumpling. There are also wine pairings to set the menu off perfectly, and the gastronomic wizards are right now coming up with a special cocktail menu that will see the likes of pumpkin puree and leek essence used in unconventional fashion.
The restaurant itself is amazing, with a white-tiled bar, sweeping windows and an emphasis on aesthetic design from the chairs to the back bar. Watch the sun set as you sip a coconut mojito – you’ll have been in good company, as Jay-Z and a number of ice hockey stars all rate UFO.
View website here
Fans of gastronomic excellence cannot leave Bratislava without a visit to the temple of Pan-asian wizardry that is Fou Zoo. Literally translated as ‘Wind’ and ‘To Create’, this is not only a lesson in food artistry, but also a chance to experience the harmonious atmosphere created by Tomáš Šajgal and his Fou Zoo team. The interior itself inspires calm and restfulness – laid out like a zen garden, it has a smooth, rock-like bar, touches of bamboo, and fabulous wooden slats to represent the movement of the wind.
The menu showcases the best of Pan-asian cuisine, with an emphasis on the freshest of sushi combined with specials such as Wagyu Fillet Steak and Black Cod. Every now and then dashes of molecular gastronomy will also become apparent – a stunning amuse bouche saw us enjoy foie gras that had been frozen with liquid nitrogen then shaved and placed on a cracker of sushi rice and squid ink. From there on it it was morsel after morsel of mini taste bombs, all imbued with that essential umami deliciousness.
Again, cocktails play a large part, and there is a stunning Liquid Kaiseki menu available, showcasing some intriguing and unique mixology techniques. And don’t forget to try their sake – they’re the only restaurant that imports it, and it was the nicest we’d tried outside of Japan. In fact, for a while you might forget you’re in the tiny city of Bratislava, as Fou Zoo is most certainly a lesson in whisking your taste-buds to another place altogether.
Visit website here
Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar
For those in the mood for hearty, typical Slovak cuisine (and when we say hearty, we mean HUGE portions!) then you can do no better than this olde-worlde beer house located on a slope just removed from the heart of old town. Inside it is a warren of warm, cosy rooms, with lots of wood and the sounds of laughter and hubbub filling the air. Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar is famous for the beer – they brew their own, and you can see the large copper still in an adjoining room. So for Bratislavan beer there’s no better place to come. It’s refreshing and crisp, with a pleasant sourness to the finish, and at 4.8% is a little stronger than other lagers. Perfect accompaniment to some of the snacks on offer – we had the grilled sausage ‘Wurst’ served with onion and mustard, which took us straight back to those glowing nights of funfairs and carnivals from the delicious grilled onions. The Pickled Ermine cheese is also one speciality you should try, mopped up with the homemade onion bread that the chefs prepare each day – this is home-made comfort food at its very best.
Visit website here
Grand Cru Wine Tasting
‘Slovakian wine?’ we hear you say. ‘Surely not?’ But hold a minute, because wine from these regions is actually world class and absolutely delicious. However, the fact many of the producers are so small means they can’t often compete in todays market and so these great grapes don’t get to our shores enough.
Still, visit Bratislava and it’s possible to try a variety of top-class tipples in the form of a tasting sessions – wander the city and you’ll happen upon many places promising a chance to experience Slovakian wine. We loved the intimate setting of Grand Cru, tucked on a cobbled side street. Martin will guide you through the wines, and give you a commentary on what you’re drinking. We tried a rather special Tramin Cerveny – crisp, dry and aromatic, while lovers of sweeter wines might enjoy the Devin, which is bursting with tropical fruit flavours.