Dec 23 2013

3 Pavaru restorans


I have now been to this restaurant twice, once 2 years ago and once more recently. You can see pictures below of both of my visits but I will focus on describing my second, more recent visit more.
3 Pavari means three chefs in Latvian and “tam labam bus augt” means “what's good will grow” or something like this. 3 Pavaru restaurant is located in the old Town of Riga in the historic district of Jacob’s Barracks (“Jekaba Kazarmas” in Latvian) and it is owned and managed by three famous Latvian chefs - Mārtiņš Sirmais, Ēriks Dreibants, Rūta Rietuma. I say three famous chefs, but I only know Mārtiņš Sirmais, he is a chef that can be seen on Latvian TV and he has passion for cooking seasonal produce and buying all his ingredients on the day of cooking. He owns another restaurant in Riga – Maja (or “Home/House” in English). 3 Pavari restaurant opened in 2011. You can come here for lunch or dinner and apparently every Saturday and Sunday they also do a good brunch from 11am till 4pm (where you can also leave your kids at the “young chef school”).

The restaurant is quite full for Latvian standards (most restaurants in Latvia are quite empty) and the décor is nice but not amazing and not stand out. There are tables and chairs but most people say the best seats are by the bar. The first time I went there with my friend Guna there was no menu and the waitress was supposed to explain the dishes and what was on offer to us but she was terrible. She did not know what vegetables came with her mentioned meat and fish dishes and she never mentioned the prices of each dish and just said there was dover sole, salmon, veal. She only agreed to tell us more about the food when pushed (and she did not know that much anyways). The second time I went there recently I am happy to say that they had a menu, but the menu did not say much, it only stated the main things of the meal like soup, lamb, duck, veal and once again we had to ask the waitress for more information, but this time the waitress did know a bit more. Also I have to say both times when I went there they did not have tomato juice so they could not give me a Virgin Mary, which is very strange.

The first time I came here I was very impressed by the way they serve bread and the accompanying dips, and the 2nd time they did it in a similar way. They bring you a piece paper what at first looks like a table mat and on top of it draw different lines (the first time 2 years ago they were a bit more organized about the drawing) from different sauces made out of Latvian plants, like cranberry, sea buckthorn, Latvian greens (and more traditional balsamic vinegar) and all these things are in different colours and look great on the paper. They also give you bread which they have just cut from a huge loaf which you can see in the middle of the room. Dipping the bread in these sauces and eating it is quite fun. Whilst I thought the bread was nice it was not amazing, but the sauces/ dips were.
All food served here is cooked from organic ingredients, and chefs try to get the best and local ingredients from Latvian farmers. For my starter I chose a dish that was called “Farm greens” and I was quite disappointed with it as I got something that did not resemble greens at all. I got beetroot with goats sort of cheese which was quite liquid and little horseradish balls. The presentation was beautiful, things were cooked well and a variety of cooking techniques could be seen here, but there was only one green leaf there, so to call this greens was totally misleading. My boyfriend chose the fish soup which I quite liked and my friend Una went for something called “tartar” which had deer meat served with various vegetables which was actually very tasty.
For my main course I went for “veal” which was supposed to be served with apple puree but as I don’t like my meat served with any type of fruit I asked the waitress if this could be served with something else and instead I got a black cauliflower puree. The veal was also served with large chips. First of all I have to say I don’t think this was veal, but instead this was beef. Veal is meat from young cattle and it is usually light pink and tastes totally different. I love veal and have it on many occasions hence I know that this was not veal that they served me and resembled meat from an old cattle, which beef is. I very much enjoyed eating the beef with the cauliflower puree and potatoes, it was a nice dish just not what I was promised once again. My boyfriend chose lamb, which was good and Una had pike perch which she very much enjoyed.
You can also see pictures of the meal I had with Guna two years ago where I had a fish soup, which cost LVL 7 (~£8) so quite a lot for Latvian standards and I got a plain broth with some shrimps and mussels (and not the best quality ones), so I would not say great value for money. For my main course I ordered a dover sole, which was floating in butter, so I felt so full for about 4 h afterwards as I had not eaten this much butter in a long time. Guna had another type of fish which was also floating in butter. I also thought that paying LVL 19 (~£21) for a dover sole in Latvia was punchy at the time. The prices were very similar during my last visit and whilst I think the food shows good technique (most meals are prepared in a vacuum or using the slow cooking method) and ingredients it is expensive for Latvian standards and they charge you prices restaurants would charge in the middle of Mayfair when their rents and salaries are much lower.
When I read other reviews of this restaurant, many reviews state that the plates and dishes are handed by the chefs who explain what the dish is, but on neither of my visits any chef came to me and explained what I was eating. I did see chef Mārtiņš Sirmais during my second visit but he showed no interest in us and was chatting to someone on the table next to us and not explaining the dishes to us.
You can also see pictures of two deserts that we shared, a pumpkin cheesecake and the 3 chef desert which had white chocolate, cottage cheese in it and one of those liquid nitrogen made ice things. Both deserts were delicious, the plates were beautifully presented and had delicious and variously made ingredients and food.
3 Pavari restaurant does serve good food, but there is something not quite right. I do like it and like the creativity of Latvian chefs, and they do serve there some of the most creative and interesting Latvian food in Riga, but for me it is not as amazing as it could be if they would ccorrect a few basic mistakes.
Date: 23/ 12/ 13
Location: Riga
Price for 5 and a half people (one person only had a starter, hence half): LVL 181.24

Maija rated: 




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