After a fantastic dinner experience in Vilnius I was ready to give another restaurant a go. Uoksas in Kaunas serves modern Lithuanian cuisine with the focus on local produce and Nordic aesthetic. I can get definitely behind this. So I booked a table for a six course dinner with wine pairing.
The dining room has a large window front which softens the stark look and industrial feel of Uoksas. Despite an open kitchen concept there was no cooking smell in the air.
The amuse guele was a rye bread chip with caramelized onions and some kind of trout caviar made into a cream underneath. Very crunchy, quite salty but not overwhelmingly, all in all a satisfying first introduction of the kitchen.
More rye bread comes with caramelized butter infused with parsley or so. Not sure actually where the yellow/greenish color came from. It tasted of butter with maybe some lemon in it and salt crystals in it.
The first course was a raw scallop carpaccio which lay on a bed of pesto made with sunflower seeds. Roasted zucchini and fresh tomatoes rounded out the dish. It came at room temperature, even the scallops, which enhanced the taste in my opinion. The scallops paired up with Aligoté wine, some kind of burgundy variety. Very lovely starter, tasted fresh and light.
Prosecco and something called Chow Mein came next. Not sure where it got its name from because the dish had nothing to do with Chow Mein. It was a poached goose egg surrounded by a custardlike potato and truffle foam, fresh asparagus and trout caviar. The caviar was unlike anything I have tasted so far in Vienna. Its bubbles really burst open upon squishing it with the tongue and they had a very fresh taste. A super nice composition, very tasty but also very filling. Half the portion would have been enough as well. But I finished it all anyway.
My next wine was a rosé, I think a French one, but don’t quote me on that. The rosé wine was exactly as described, a lot of strawberry up front with a hint of acidity in the back. Grilled trout with a rich smoke flavor, on a bed of fennel, three rings to be exact, soy beans in a creamy herbal sauce, and morels constituted the fish course. I loved the flavor of the fish, maybe a touch less on the barbecue would have been enough and less beans. The fennel was definitely taking a back seat here.
The main course came with a Rijoa from Spain, a reserve aged for 12 month in oak barrels. The meat course consisted of beef cheeks on a mountain of mashed potatoes. Cream of peas, very small shallots cooked in what I assume was red wine, and a dollop of pepper sauce on top of the beef cheek. The cheek had been roasted for 18 hours. It was quite soft, but I honestly had softer ones before. Nice enough dish, quite heavy though and not the highlight I imagined for the meat course. Also too much histamine in the red wine made me allergic.
Dessert wine turned out to be a wine from the Sauternes, well balanced between sweet notes and acidity and aged in Bordeaux barrels. I can’t say I could detect all the notes, but it tasted lovely. The pre-dessert was blueberry panna cotta with three kinds of cucumber. Pickled ones with vanilla and thyme, a cucumber jelly cream, and some kind of fresh cucumber with lemon ice cream . The panna cotta had nothing of the silkyness of panna cotta but tasted of fresh blueberries. The fresh cucumber didn’t work with the dish at all, the pickled one and the cream were great. But by that time I was already full. Six courses are a lot when the plates are so big.
The final glass of wine was a Ukrainian dessert wine made from quince. Dark chocolate ganache with truffle which was unfortunately disgusting. Maybe only for me, because I dislike truffles. It came with berries, a berry sorbet, and some kind of strawberry cream/ganache. This cream/ganache was quite hard but could still be eaten will a spoon and tasted more like a strawberry butter. Some dark berry sauce sat at the bottom. I ate a couple of fruits and tried the different creams, but that was more or less it for me.
Uoksas is definitely a very interesting restaurant. Some of the dishes were excellent and I really enjoyed eating here. The restaurant needs to work on portion control though, six courses in this size were a bit much. Especially since I finished the ones I loved. Kaunas will be a European cultural capital in 2022, so if you find yourself in the city, Uoksas gets my recommendation. Maybe just take the four course dinner and order your wine by glass. Because the six wine pairings left me slightly tipsy. Yours, Pollybert
Maironio 28, Kaunas
Tel: +370 686 38881
Tue-Thu: 18:00-22:00, Fri: 18:00-23:00, Sat: 12:00-23:00, Sun: 12:00-16:00