Sure, who isn’t excited about asparagus season, but you’ll get spoiled any time of the year at the Spargus Restaurant? We got excited about their autumn offer and want to tell you all about it. Let’s start this restaurant review by mentioning that Gastuz place is the oldest restaurant in Slovenia, which is home to the Spargus Restaurant. All we’ll say for now is that Spargus Restaurant is at the entrance to the museum of the former Carthusian monastery.
- About Spargus Restaurant
- About the Historical Premises
- Spargus Menu
- Spargus Restaurant 5 Curse Menu
- Amous Bouche
- Cold Starter
- Hot starter
- Warm Starter
- Main Course
- Fun Fact About Tonka Beans
- Final Thought
- Restaurant Spargus Review Card
- Price and Location
About Spargus Restaurant
In 2021 the young couple stepped into the historic shoes of the oldest restaurant in Slovenia and opened the doors of their Spargus Restaurant. Chef Andrej Smogavc developed a passion for desserts at a young age and expanded the repertoire through education and experiments. Now he is focused on the future and is not restrained by the past. What matters is that ingredients are locally grown, ethically sourced, and bring joy to every hungry soul. For sure you’ll be pulled into this special place by attention to the details. While a modest interior in complementary colors will keep you in a state of secure peace. When weather permits, you can also enjoy an al fresco meal on an outside terrace.
About the Historical Premises
A legend started in 1160 when monks came to build a monastery in a remote spot about an hour’s drive from Ljubljana. Although the plans for the monastery were set in motion when a count had a vivid dream. In that dream, he saw St. John the Baptist, who instructed him to make a monastery. The monastery grew following the French example in architecture. Right at the entrance a special house materialized in the 15th century. This was a guesthouse for passers-by in need of a meal and a bed. The Gastuz building still feeds people on the upper floor where Spargus Restaurant is located. While on the ground floor, you can get a tour of a museum and other information.
Food on the Spargus Restaurant menu is anchored in the present through the use of modern culinary practices. Focus on local produce is on everything that can be put on dining tables but you’ll also find some of the world’s finest ingredients on the menu.
Food Menu at Spargus Restaurant
Of course, we recommend the degustation menu and if possible, pick the one with 8 courses. As a consequence, you can experience the complete story exchanging the past and the present. If you happen to be in a hurry and just in need of a meal, you can choose a ’la carte menu. Although, weekend lunch at Spargus Restaurant is special and a must-try as well. Those who stick to the vegan menu have two options, a 6 or 5-course menu, and you need to notify them in advance. For the rest of us it is good to be expected, so make a reservation but you can finalize your order on site.
The Wine Menu is focused on established Slovenian wineries but also includes international gems. For an appetizer, you can have all sorts of spirits from all over the world. Naturally, you can start the feast with a glass of bubbles like Cuvee Breg White Magnum 2018 from Marof Vinery as we did. We had to refresh our memory and rediscover how refreshing it is. We particularly love the sweet aroma followed by slight sweetness that finishes with rounded bitterness. Of course, there are more options and you’ll surely find something for your taste. Whatever you choose we advise you to finish with the Carthusian bitters, made with 23 different herbs by the old monk’s recipe.
Spargus Restaurant 5 Curse Menu
We were honored to try some delicacies from their autumn-inspired menu.
The chef greeted us with three morsels and outstanding hazelnut butter with sourdough bread. We couldn’t help but ruin the perfect buttery quenelle for a start and needed a strong self-disciple to leave some butter for later. It is a mystery how the chef whipped the silky-smooth consistency within the pleasingly fermented hazelnut butter.
Smooth leek paste in a crispy shell also got us excited for more. Yes, we also bonded with the rich pork pate that coated our mouth in a smooth finish. Most of all we loved the contrast between mild taste and intense texture supported by the crispy pillow. It was a great forerunner for the cod fritter with a drop of lemon mayonnaise to refresh a slightly sweet bite.
Beef tartare with kimchi sounded harsh but it was all but that. Soft meat coated in egg yolk was perfectly fit for refreshing-tasting kimchi. Forget about the spicy zing and imagine something like quickly fermented seasoned cucumbers, shallots, and more. All in one mouthful were spot on with the buckwheat cookie. A complex symphony changing with every bite. Not too salty not too sweet, even the egg yolk tasted better. Speak about the quality of ingredients!
Sweet-smelling onion soup tasted in an intriguingly opposing way. Who doesn’t love the sweet and sour blend of flavors? We certainly do and in this case, we loved the caramelized onions with salmon and bread roulade. The soup came with the crunchy for more texture and a spin on flavors. And when we were halfway through the plate we remembered to include the strong sourdough, for even stronger sweet & sour fun. In between sips we also included a few mouthfuls of that splendid hazelnut butter on a crust with intense snap.
Pumpkin puree under the gnocchi and prawns in the company of an orange and walnuts were spot on. Perfectly succulent prawns were the star of the plate, but they got a brief smack when put side by side with the fresh pea shoot. Gorgeous greens brought a breath of freshness to the plate. However, the moreish sweetness was cleverly spread through each element of the dish including roasted walnuts.
The main dish was a hit for every lover of a pleasant savory taste known as umami. Gravy reduction was pushed in the direction of intense play between sweet and savory, leaving with a secret bitter smack on the excited pallet. As if nothing happened our pallets opened with straightforward celery and celeriac puree. Of course, they were bang on with the gravy! Later we discovered the pulled pork in the fried croquet and had to try it directly with a pork roll. Succulent pieces rolled in charcoal for another higher gear.
Steamed seabass wrapped in savoy cabbage presented itself in a soft light. Although a spark came from the caviar and continued with a slightly sweet fritter we fell in love with the sauce. The creamy sauce was just perfect with every element and brought all of them together.
Out of nowhere, we couldn’t stop thinking about that coconut ice cream from Melaka. Strangely so, because there was no coconut in the dessert. Instead, ice cream made with tonka beans shined in the most delightful ways. On the side, we got chestnut foam standing proud when enjoyed by itself or with a salty chestnut sponge. When we combined it with the coffee crumble it was completely different. Intense coffee could easily dominate the whole plate if it wouldn’t be so thoughtfully measured. As it happened as a whole it worked together in a sensational creamy way. The only thing we were missing was some yellow flower garnish. just to make this dish even more beautiful.
Fun Fact About Tonka Beans
In the past people thought that tonka beans had magical powers. Maybe people prescribed them as a cure for the soul because they helped with poor mental health and tummy ache among other things. Tonka beans are still controversial and prohibited in some countries due to their toxic component called coumarin. Once we tasted the “to die for” beans we understood how one could eat too much of the delicious tonka bean and perish. Some describe tonka beans as having the taste of vanilla, caramel, almonds, cloves, and freshly cut grass.
It is impossible not to be marked by the energy of the historical site in the middle of a forest. Nothing in this place is pretentious, everything serves a purpose. This is true for both, the old monastery and the restaurant. In our restaurant review process, we like to consider the connection to the space and here we can only praise it. We love the idea of the garden outside the monastery, but it looks like it is in the museum’s hands. Nevertheless, as much as possible of local ingredients in the Spargus restaurant come from the local farms. Our Restaurant Spargus Review is almost at the end, just let’s take a look at our review scorecard and see why we are so excited about this amazing new restaurant.
Restaurant Spargus Review Card
- ATMOSPHERE – 9.6/109.6/10
- SERVICE – 8.9/108.9/10
- PRESENTATION – 9.1/109.1/10
- FOOD – 9.5/109.5/10
- DRINKS – 9.2/109.2/10
- VALUE – 9.6/109.6/10
Price and Location
A meal like that comes at a cost of about 60,00 USD, while an 8-course menu is under 100 USD. Here is a link to the location for easier navigation.