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Food, Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

Visit Croatia: Zinfandel’s

January 28, 2019

Zinfandel’s restaurant is one out of the two restaurants which you can enjoy inside of the Esplanade hotel. While LeBistro is more of a laidback “bistro” for a whole day dining, Zinfandel’s is perfect for a romantic night out, foodie experience or the best hotel breakfast you’ve ever had.

Perfect crepes

Let’s start with the breakfast, big variety of cold cuts, dips, spreads, fruit platter, overnight oats, smoothies, numerous cakes, selection of breads… All of those are part of the breakfast buffet table where you can serve yourself and eat as much as you like but if you wish to have something more special like warm porridge, grilled pineapple or poached eggs, you have a a-la-carte menu and the servers will do their best to spoil you with something warm and delicious. πŸ™‚

Breakfast a-la-carte
Breakfast strukli

I would say that you should definitely try the “star” of their breakfast table and that’s traditional Croatian strukli, a dish like no other, which quickly became my favourite breakfast choice. Dense yet “melt in my mouth” dough, filled with the fresh cheese and topped with the sour cream and eggs, baked to perfection in the oven. It’s a well known fact that Esplanade’s breakfast strukli are the best in Zagreb, if not in whole Croatia.

Zinfandel’s got it’s name after a special sort of grapes originating from the South of Croatia. Main chef, Ms. Ana Grgic has been devoted to crafting her special signature at Zinfandel’s for 13 years. What begun as an apprentice in training, developed into something very fruitful and it ensured that Ms. Ana becomes the main chef of Zinfandel’s and LeBistro.

Ricotta gnudi
Carrot risotto with burrata and black olives paste

If you are looking for a delicious lunch with a 5 star service and a cozy, home like vibes, I suggest you to go to LeBistro. It’s a perfect place to try traditional Croatian dishes but interpreted in a “finer” way with a modern day twist to it. What stood out for me were definitely a carrot risotto and ricotta gnudi.

For a dinner at Zinfandel’s, I’d suggest you to leave about 2-3 hours of free time to enjoy all of the beauty of the interior, complex but delicious bites of food and some of the best wines from an extensive drinks list.

Foie gras with truffles and truffle ice cream

It’s impressive to see how much an interior can change from the breakfast to dinner service. From a bright, “comfy” and bistro like vibes in the morning to the luxurious, dimmed lights and candlelit dinner tables at evening. Zinfandel’s menu is changing very often but some of the dishes marked as “Zinfandel’s classics” never go off of the menu and there is a reason for that. Traditional dishes, which don’t need any adjustments and are visually as well as tastefully perfect just as they were years before and will be in years to come.

Rabbit lasagnette

Part of Zinfandel’s a-la-carte selection which does change has been for years putting it’s chef and the restaurant in the top of the Croatian restaurant scene. Loved by the critics as well as by the visitors and foodie enthusiasts, Zinfandel’s have set the bar very high to all of the other hotel restaurants in Zagreb. So far none of them have even got a close to Zinfandel’s in this “silent competition”.

Reindeer with rhubarb and beetroot

I was happy to share this dinner experience with my brother. We went a little “reckless” and have ordered some dishes which sounded interesting and innovative to us. There was no room for the safe options when trying to test and give a grade to Zinfandel’s food.

Starters were foie gras and truffles with truffle ice cream and cocoa cone and open lasagne with rabbit confit and chickpea foam. I must say I have never yet heard of truffle ice cream and esp. not served with the foie gras so I was excited to see how it’s going to be plated as well as what kind of the taste all together will have. Foie gras with truffles was delicious! I suggest putting it on a cracker bread to enjoy it fully. The ice cream part was bit confusing to me as I just couldn’t put/ mix it with the foie gras or eat on it’s own but that’s just the way my taste buds were, maybe you would go nuts about it so don’t hesitate to try something as innovative as this.

My brother had the open lasagne and before I could even ask him how does he like his dish, it was gone, licked off of the plate. πŸ˜€ He loved them as they were full of taste, creamy… Tomac Millennium Brut sparkling wine was perfect to match with our starters.

Pork fillets with radishes and mustard seeds

Main courses were reindeer fillets with roasted beetroot and rhubarb and a pork fillet with mustard seeds, pickled radishes and Bernaise sauce. Visually, both dishes were perfect but my brother who tested both of the dishes could conclude that the pork fillet was the “winner” out of these two.

Technically they were both prepped perfectly but the reindeer fillets were overpowering with the taste the rest of the food on the plate. Rhubarb and beetroot might be a good combination together in some vegetarian dish or even a dessert but together with the reindeer maybe something else would be a better choice. Pork fillet had nothing to complain about, everything matched well together and mustard seeds were a cherry on top of the taste explosion. Well done!

For the main course wine we were offered a merlot by Krauthaker from Kutjevo. I must say that the sommelier made us really entertained by the whole service of the red wine from out of the bottle to the glass. Very nice “touch” to the whole dinner experience.

Zinfandel’s dessert list consists of 4 equally great sounding options but we have decided to try their brownie and lemon sponge cakes. Brownie was a chocolate and nut dream, it tasted like a sophisticated version of Snickers bar. πŸ˜€ Lemon sponge cake was served with marinated pear and cinnamon ice cream – I couldn’t think of a better , Winter perfect dessert.

Lemon sponge cake with cinnamon ice cream
Peanuts choco brownie

I hope that my detailed description of what you can expect from Zinfandel’s and LeBistro as well as the photos of the dishes have made you consider of visiting them both and experiencing a real food heaven oasis in the heart of Zagreb city.

*This post has been made in collaboration with hotel Esplanade, all of the opinions and photos are my own.

*Thank you to Ms. Sanda and Mr. Ivica for making this collaboration possible.

*Thank you to all of the wonderful staff at LeBistro and Zinfandel’s for giving us a remarkable service during our visit.

Lifestyle, My Work, Outfits, Travel

Visit Croatia: Hotel Esplanade

January 22, 2019

Hotel Esplanade, situated in the heart of the Croatian capital city Zagreb in an old but grandiose building which has been an important part of city’s history as well as one of the, up to this day, most important spots for social happenings, fine dining, jazz nights in the bar or perhaps the place with one of the most beautiful rooftop views overlooking the streets of Zagreb.

Concierge

Hotel Esplanade counts 5 stars and from the moment you enter the hotel, you are being treated as a 5 star visitor. From the doorman and bellboy, over the concierge to the receptionists you feel warmly welcomed and attended to. While you’re waiting for your check in, just a look around will give you a sense of old, glamorous times, back in the time of Orient Express train for instance. Exactly Orient Express train and this hotel have a big connection as the hotel was visited by many passengers from the famous train. Ever since, 1925 to this date, many important politicians, movie stars, musicians, etc. have stayed at the hotel Esplanade creating it’s story which is already long and interesting, a movie could be made about it. πŸ™‚

5 star hotel in every way
Sit down and relax πŸ™‚

Hotel Esplanade’s 208 rooms are all spacious, carefully designed to fit the 5 stars standards while still sticking to the “vintage” vibes. Beautiful marble bathroom, fluffy big pillows or one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in will make you feel at home even if you’re far away from your home.

Hotel lobby

If you wish to get pampered and relax to the max, hotel offers you Spa, gym as well as real Finnish sauna which I had to test first to make sure it’s the real deal and it was. πŸ˜€ I must say that before moving to Finland 11 years ago, I have never been to sauna and have found it even “scary” but once I got into it, I fell in love with how amazing benefits it had on my overall mood, feeling clean and warm. πŸ™‚

Hotel Esplanade guests can enjoy full day dining in two restaurants, Zinfandel, offering a fine dining cuisine lead by a famous Croatian chef Ms. Ana Grgic or at it’s “sister” restaurant Le Bistro, more laidback dining with traditional Croatian dishes also designed by the master chef herself, almost becoming the biggest competition to herself since the food at both restaurants looks and tastes wonderful. I must say that hotel’s breakfast which consists of a-la-carte menu as well as the buffet section is the best breakfast I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. Esplanade’s famous strukli dish were simply to die for!

Warm welcome from the hotel
Deluxe suite living room
Deluxe suite bedroom
Marble bathroom
L’Occitane toileteries
Caring for the details to the max

I will write more about my dining experience in the next post but to finish off this one, all I want to add is that after travelling a lot, staying at different hotels and even testing many different hotels in only Zagreb itself, I can say that only hotel Esplanade meets the world class standards of 5 star hotels. First thing I said to my brother upon leaving the hotel was: “They don’t build them like this anymore.”

Feeling like a movie star
Business rooms floor

*This post was made in the collaboration with the hotel Esplanade. All of the photos and opinions are my own.

*Thank you Ms. Sanda and Mr.Ivica for making this collaboration possible as well as for the warm welcome to the hotel.