Ljubljana has a a lot of interesting restaurants and one of them was Monstera Bistro. I was lucky enough to snag a table for lunch on my first day in the city. My reservation was rather late, but who cares when something great awaits you.
Unfortunately Monstera Bistro has closed its doors permanently. Gregor Jelnikar though, the chef, who manned the bistro at the time of my visit, has moved with his team to a new place called Georgie Bistro. Therefore I have decided to include this review, since the food was amazing and you can still check out his talent. Only at a different restaurant.
Lunch came in form of a two, three, or four course menu and I could choose between three starters, four main courses (the steak was with an extra fee), and two desserts. I decided to go for three courses, I mean otherwise what’s the point of being on vacation.
The amuse bouche was like a dream: a sesame cracker with truffled cream and fresh mushrooms. Despite not really enjoying truffles, it tasted heavenly. The buttery flavor of the cracker, the hint of truffles in the cold cream, and the fine earthy notes of the fresh mushrooms on top. A perfect bite-sized amuse bouche. What a fantastic start into this meal, I couldn’t wait for the rest.
As my starter I ordered the fish course, which was cured trout with cucumber and bergamot granita, trout caviar, and dashi. The cured trout was delicious and I could see it working very well on a hot summer day. But on this rainy day that had only just started to warm up, I felt as if the granita was a bit too cold for the dish. Also I couldn’t detect any hint of bergamot. But a lovely composition and with the warm bread served in a small paper bag on the side it was a great starter. Definitely on the small side portionwise though, even for a starter.
For the main course I ordered beef cheeks with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and chive. The beef cheeks were to die for. Such a wonderful combination full of flavor in different depths. Two big pieces of meat, a real nice mountain of creamy mashed potatoes, a roasted carrot, cauliflower, braised onions with a sprinkle of chives on top. I could have cleaned the plate with the bread if I hadn’t paced myself. But the slow braised cheeks were so tender and the sauce in which they came was just really, really good. It was hard not to lick the plate.
My lunch ended with a buttermilk panna cotta with fig leaves ice cream, figs, walnuts, and caramelized goat milk. The panna cotta was unfortunately not so great. Quite tasty though, especially the caramelized goat milk. But the panna cotta lacked its distinct silky texture and had a rather rubbery substance at the bottom of the bowl. The roasted walnuts and the figs added a nice touch, ice cream itself tasted like regular milk. I couldn’t detect any fig leaves in the flavor.
Overall Monstera Bistro had very quick and efficient service, I was in and out, even with a coffee at the end, in a bit over an hour. I don’t know what happened why the restaurant closed down, but am very pleased to know that it lives on with the team at the new Georgie Bistro. Next time I am in town, I will definitely give this one a go. Yours, Pollybert