Manastirska Magernica

http://www.magernitsa.com/

We went on a Sofia Tour around the city and ended up at their Tourist Information. We asked for a traditional restaurant and the lady quickly circled on the map for us one not too far.

We got a bit confused and walked all the way down the street to see there is no such place, then walked back and decided to re-interpret the map and ask for directions. This is always hard to do on on an empty stomach.

APPEARANCE

traditional, dusty bottle, intense ruby colour

Small cobble stone road lead to the stone-looking fence, traditional red ceramic roof and wall of folk images. The restaurant wordmark is in old-cyrilic style alphabet, wooden letters not op of a wooden plank in a classic rainbow.

NOSE

herbs, red forest berry fruits

Ok, we entered someone's backyard patio. Trees, umbrellas, red granite chunks  pavement, white table cloths, metal ornamented chairs, folk rugs on the walls and other random homy ornaments here and there.

SWIRL

a bit of spice and light oak, heady

We were told to sit where we wish. We picked a secluded sunny table by the house. The menus came - unique wooden covers with a second piece of wood glued on top and illustrated. They somehow gave cheri an English menu without even asking. So much to choose from..

The menu switches to older dishes half way, and prices grow. But overall, you can hardly find a dish as much as the regular $20CND.

The waiters were a bit serious but great. I asked if they could make us a mixed dish of appetizers and they were more than happy to create one for us.

We also ordered their 5 cheese mixed dish toped with honey and walnut, as well as a dish of beef tongue in butter.

We asked for their recommendations of wine in glass, but essentially we ended up ordering two smaller bottles for each one of us. I knew Muscat is famous for Bulgaria, but no idea what else..

PRE-PALETTE

unique, exciting, intimate

It took some time for the glasses to arrive. We ended up getting a dry red mix of Syrah and Merlot - a bit oaky, and light in fruit. The white one was a mavrud - nose of cherry and rose, but then rather crisp with a hint of frost berries.

Both of us tried to find the washroom, which is strategically upstairs on one end, so people can explore and get lost inside the adorable house. Once you go up the carpeted stairs you enter a big dark room with a pork chop roasting on ashes, kind of in the open (behind is probably the kitchen, I thought). Seriously, walking around was nosing around different private dining rooms with a table or two inside.

PALETTE

full-bodied, rich, elegant

Our appetizer plate arrived - full with colours and flavours - vegetables, mixed cream and marinate salads, cheese, olives (which to my surprise were not salty at all), some traditional dried meats… Not only did it look great, but everything had so much flavour, it was so real.

Briefly after came the cheese plate, all of them melted on their own side. I was able to pick out four type - an opinionated goat cheese, two cow ones, and hints of a blue one. The dish had two dried dark fruits in the middle, possibly plums.

Lastly the tongue made its way, in an interesting black pan with a very tall handle. It was hot, lightly greased in butter with paprika on top. It was beautifully tender and soft.

FINISH

the substantial tannins and alcohol made the aftertaste subtle and slow

Just like most Bulgarian restaurants the portions were large so we spent some time enjoying.

There was no music playing, it was serene. We also came at around 3, so we were one of the few tables there.. perfect

overall.. a one-of-a-kind Mavrud (from a family owned winery)

Le Trou Normand

Three Coins Open Kitchen