By Howard Jarvis.
For truly high-class dining in a secluded retreat, it’s hard to beat Renommé at Riga’s only “five-star superior” hotel. This French-accented restaurant recently introduced a menu of “Latvian modern classics”, and we decided to try them out.
Gallery Park Hotel exudes luxury with its antique furniture, countless original oil paintings and heavy statues bought from auction houses, and stunning guest suites. Reached via a quiet courtyard and elegant lobby, smartly attired staff will lead the way to the restaurant. This 19th-century mansion has an illustrious past and was the headquarters of Latvia’s biggest shipping company until the Second World War.
If you’ve decided to splash out on a treat with business partners, friends, or a loved one, this is the place to impress. Don’t feel ill at ease amid the décor’s excessive ornamentation. It’s easy to relax here in good company, especially over a bottle of fine wine. We couldn’t fault the Château de Berne red from Provence with its distinctive four-sided bottle.
As an entrée, the fried caraway cheese pieces, carrying an aromatic flavor of cumin, with a deliciously leafy fennel salad was a great choice. The main course, calf liver in a creamy sauce made from mustard and white wine, came with cookies made from millet, a healthy and underrated grain, soft but crispy on the outside. The waitress brought it to the table covered in a steel dome, which she lifted off with a flourish.
Other mains include fresh takes on traditional Latvian dishes including salmon slow-cooked for no less than 20 minutes, and yellow peas with mushrooms and lots of local flavor. The chef, Kaspars Klīms, has been at Renommé since it opened together with the hotel in 2009. Allow yourself a little luxury in his capable hands.