Zagreb Restaurant Week: How Bistro Lauba ruined our romantic dinner
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Restaurant week in Zagreb just ended last night. This time, we decided to treat ourselves in two restaurants so last week we enjoyed family lunch in konoba Bracera and this Saturday Jaime booked a table for romantic dinner on a budget in a modern Bistro Lauba, or at least we thought.
Lauba became a big hit several years ago. From a failed factory suddenly there was a nice, renovated space for rent , a gallery and also some fashion shows were organized there. Still, I did not really know what exactly Lauba is, what their offer is and the fact there is a restaurant was completely unfamiliar to me, and to many other citizens of Zagreb. So, when I saw its name on the list of participating restaurants, I totally fell for it. The menu seemed nice, especially because I read many praises about their creative bread with different spreads. Soon enough, we had a table booked for Saturday night.
We arrived at 7, while the restaurant was still almost empty. The waiter told us to sit wherever we like, the only problem was they almost do not have tables for two. There were only 4, of which one was right next to the big table of 8 or so which was full, and the other three were in other, “ugly” part of the bistro, completely isolated. Hm, ok. We sat in one of those three, the brightest one. It seemed like they prefer having big groups over couples. More when they started to move chairs from two other tables for 2 next to us to the bigger ones. For a moment they even put something that looked like folding chairs and they were changing them right in front of guests waiting for the table.
Doesn’t matter, we said to ourselves. We liked the modern decor mixed with industrial elements and the chairs were super comfortable. The menu was interesting and it sounded perfect on the paper. In the end, we came here because of the food, not the table in a prime location.
The menu was already on the table so we decided fastly. The waiter came and asked what would we like to drink, brought drinks and left, not checking if we are ready to order. He did not come back for more than 15 minutes. We felt like they forgot about us and we were even consider leaving when he came again.
The starter came fast. The variety of Lauba signature bread with different kinds of spreads sounded fantastic. We are bread lovers and we were looking forward to it, moreover because everybody on the internet was roaming how good they were. One popular foodie site in Croatia even stated as they are the best little bread in Zagreb. We expected a lot and here’s what we have got.
Honestly, I expected something completely different. I imagined warm little buns, fresh from the bread oven. I could even smell it. You know that appealing smell of a fresh bread? Yummy. Well, the bread was neither fresh neither warm. It was cold and in one piece. We needed to cut it ourselves and, needless to say, we made a mess all around.
Besides two pieces of bread (what a variety, huh?), we got four different spreads. I would love to share which kind of spreads they were, but I have no idea. The waiter did not say a thing, either the menu and we did not consider we needed to ask what are we eating, the waiter needs to present each dish in at least few words. I overheard words anchovies and cuttlefish ink when he was describing the dish to other guests and we could taste olives and cucumber. All in one, not what we expected it to be and we ended up quite disappointed with the appetizer.
For mains, we had a duck confit served with bread puree seasoned with blue cheese and beetroot chips. After tasting the best duck in my life in Julija, a wonderful restaurant in Ljubljana, I can say this one was just ok. The bread puree was weird, I think you can imagine how wet bread tastes like haha. We could not feel any taste of the cheese in it, it also lacked salt. The beetroot chips were such an excellent idea, but also without taste – it would be wonderful if it was seasoned well and served with some aceto balsamico. I left the most of it and Jaime ate my duck…
When they brought the mains, they did not clean the table – they left the whole appetizer on the table. There was no way we are going to eat it all and it was just occupying the space. I must mention they did not ask if we would like to keep it or no, they just assumed. This is how the table looked like… and we stopped eating the bread 20 minutes ago.
At this point, we were just waiting to go home. Our table was finally cleared and the dessert arrived. We were scared how is our next course going to look like, so we waited for it covering out face. 🙂 Luckily, served in a cute jar, beneath which was a plate from Ikea, the Lauba sensation with honey and rice flakes was really tasty. The highlight of the dinner, definitely.
To sum up our experience in bistro Lauba I will write just two sentences, which are saying more than the whole this text together. I work in a hospitality industry and we always leave a tip. This time, we did not.*
(*tipping policy in Croatia is way different than in the USA and some other countries. It is not mandatory, neither expected, but it is highly appreciated. Since I am a hospitality worker and I like receiving tips, I also always leave one in the restaurants.)
ps. Photos are the same quality as the restaurant 😀
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