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Fine-dining hideaway

By Howard Jarvis. 20.10.2010

Old City Boutique Hotel Restaurant

Save to foursquare Teatra 10, Riga Phone: 371 6735 6060

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Located on one of Old Riga’s quieter cobblestone lanes not far from the Opera House, the restaurant boasts one of the city’s most experienced chefs, who prepares exquisite dishes for hungry hotel guests and non-guests alike. The restaurant was recently redesigned and several new dishes were added to the menu, so we went to take a look.

Proceed to the right of the reception of this 4-star hotel, pass the bar and descend some stairs to reach the dining area. Despite essentially being a mezzanine basement room, the restaurant makes use of natural light while glitzy golden pillars, sparkly chandeliers and a rose on each table add a touch of romance.
A cool and classy atmosphere and laid-back jazz lounge sounds set the tone as a friendly, well-dressed, English-speaking waiter or waitress accompanies you to an elegantly laid table. If you can, take a table on the right as you walk in, to sit beneath the skylight. Look up from here and you can see this 17th century building’s unusual steep-roofed shape.
Originally constructed for a prosperous merchant called Johann Reitern, the warehouse was nicknamed the Elephant because of its huge storage capacity. In 1909, it was converted into the Moulin Rouge cinema theater, and in the Soviet period it was a sports complex before partly collapsing from neglect in the early nineties. Extensive renovation has given the building a new lease of life as a hotel.
The a la carte menu is full of tempting dishes that inventively match mouthwatering combinations, such as smoked eel fillet with daikon salad, crunchy rye bread and sour cream-vodka sauce, or Czarskaya fish solyanka with salmon caviar.
Sturgeon caviar, Kamchatka crab meat, duck, ostrich, lamb and beef adorn the menu together fine wines and an assortment of cocktails. There’s a midday business-lunch option too, sure to impress potential business partners.
Once you make your order, a basket of homemade breads is brought to your table. These are alternately baked with paprika, dried apricots and assorted seeds.
An excellent choice for appetizer is the carpaccio of tuna (€8.50), which comes served in a long and heavy, eel-shaped silver dish that the chef brought back from the Netherlands. Chef Andris Andersons, who previously worked at the 5-star Grand Palace Hotel and the upmarket Desiderata restaurant, serves the tuna with a subtly spicy wakame-and-fennel salad. The finely shredded mounds of greens come flavored with pesto, mustard sauce and campari reduction, resulting in a wonderful combination of tastes.
Besides the filling Russian-style solyanka, another soup to try is the cream of tomato (€5), a brightly colored pool in which several delicious ravioli made from salmon, spinach and cheese are dunked. A long stick of dried eggplant poised across the top is a touch of panache.
The health-conscious combination of salad and soup, together with a couple of slices of bread and one of the mouthwatering desserts may be enough for you. But of the mains, the fried and lightly crispy tiger prawns (€9.85), which are served with a curry and coconut sauce, jasmine rice, mushroom ragout and melon balls, are a hit, as are the sea scallops (€13.50), served with cauliflower mousse in quail-egg brioche bread, Hollander sauce and red caviar.
Back to the desserts, though, and the cream of the crop here is the green tea cheese soufflé with strawberry sauce, fresh berries and orange sorbet (€5.50), the chill of the sorbet, the sweetness of the sauce and the crisp sourness of the forest berries competing with the soufflé’s gentle smoothness. There’s no finer accompaniment with your after-dinner coffee.


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