Antiquarny Boutique & Bar – My favourite for lots of reason
Antiquarny Boutique & Bar had been highly recommended to me and became my favourite bar for lots of reasons. The first and most important is that this place feels like home, but also because the mixture of an antique shop, a restaurant and a bar is unique and uber-cool.
The place is situated in a calm street, inconspicuous from the outside but inside full of vintage furniture, a big fish tank, a separate wine room and an open kitchen. Antiquarny Boutique & Bar is an antique shop that is also a restaurant and that means that you can buy your chair, the table where your food is served or any other piece of the interior you like. But you do not feel like you are in an exhibition, everything is stylishly combined to recreate the feeling of home cosiness, tranquility and comfort, just as if you were in a friend’s apartment.
And where is the best place at home? Where does the family meet? In the kitchen. Antiquarny has an open kitchen and you are warmly invited to sit in its midst, at the kitchen block and watch the chef, Maxim, and his wonderful team preparing the dishes. Later in the evening the kitchen block transforms seamlessly into a cocktail bar.
The whole experience from the decoration of the place to the restaurant, from the bar to the lovely and attentive staff, is mesmerising.
As soon as you enter the venue you become part of the place. I was overwhelmed by the interior, the wonderful fish tank and the huge wine room. I strolled through the two rooms of the venue. I was there a bit too early for cocktails, but Kenan, the head bartender, was already there and introduced me to the place. I took a seat at one of the tables and watched the kitchen crew doing their stuff.
All the food is freshly prepared and I felt as if I was at my grandmother’s house. She was originally from Hungary and cooked all these traditional dishes. First I had pumpkin soup as an amuse gueule served in a bone china cup. Then, I opted for a tartar with a quail egg and pea sprouts. This was the best tartar I have ever had. For the main course, I opted for pelmeni, homemade and just like a dream. The food was served on beautiful tableware and the taste was a sensation. Upscale cuisine but very basic with local ingredients.
Now it was cocktail time. To be honest, Kenan had already made me a sherry based aperitif to go with my dinner. They have a wine room with carefully selected wine and champagne but I preferred to try his recommendation. After enjoying my dinner, I took a seat on a very comfortable 50s bar stool at the kitchen block which had, in the meantime, become the bar counter. Many bottles line the walls and I was surprised by the huge selection. The bar is well stocked with premium spirits. The menu is easy to understand and divided into three categories: Martinis, Sours and Pick me ups.
I opted for the Negroni #5. A nice play on a classic Negroni with gin, sweet vermouth, Benedictine liqueur topped with a Campari strawberry soda. The Russians are more on the sweet side than the bitter. Next drink of choice was a delicious Milk Punch that had a nice rosé tone due to the pomegranate. Kenan isn’t only a perfect host, he is also a great mixologist. Simple glassware, felt coasters and clear ice cubes with the logo of the bar rounded off the cocktail experience. My ears were also treated well to relaxing music.
While I was sipping my drinks, I chatted with the staff and other guests and, from time to time, was provided with some tasty bites, some cheese and olives. I became a part of the place. It felt so natural and authentic and I felt so satisfied.
I felt relaxed, welcome and happy with everything. Exactly how you should feel in bars.
I could have stayed forever, but it was time for one last drink, a BBQ Periodista with homemade pineapple rum. It is great to have an open fire in the kitchen to give a subtle smokiness to the homemade rum with grilled pineapples. All the drinks have a little extra which makes the flavours sing.
I love going to bars with very friendly bartenders, an unpretentious relaxed atmosphere, interesting and beautiful interior, amazing drinks, good music and extremely comfy bar stools.
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