Where: Ventúrska 1
English Menu: Yes
Open: Sun-Wed 11:30-1:00, Thur-Sat 11:30-2:00
Rating:9 out of 10
Three years ago, Norwegian restaurateur Nils Jebens was asked to open a restaurant in Bratislava. He didn't think the time was right, but a visit last Christmas changed his mind.
"I don't want to go into details," he said during a press conference last Wednesday. "The political situation has changed, there is a lot more foreign investment. We need foreigners used to this type of establishment to set the trend."
Le Monde has been up and running since June 23, and according to Jebens, so far, so good. Customers, mostly foreigners, have been filling Bratislava's newest establishment day and night, attracted to what is now arguably the most elegant restaurant/cafe in town.
"I am convinced that Le Monde will soon be a very prestigious address. No cultural, social, or sports celebrities will skip Le Monde as part of their Bratislava visit," wrote Jebens in a recent press release.
If the emphasis on glamour and haute couture seem heavy-handed, let it be noted that Le Monde delivers. The Le Monde staff are of the type that know what a customer needs before it has registered as a conscious thought. And apparently, it will only get better. "I am still not satisfied with the service. We have some of our Czech employees here for a few months, and I'm sure the service will be fantastic by the time they leave."
Le Monde is divided into two parts, a café that sits 50 and a restaurant that sits 80. The café has a stylishly open design with high rust-coloured ceilings and walls and sleek angular furniture. The restaurant's colour is a sandy white. Splashed with fresh flowers, it has a distinctly Mediterranean feel. Photographs of models, well-known and otherwise, adorn the walls of both places.
The food, excellent and exotic, is in the hands of a chef that has worked in Prague, New York, Florence and Copenhagen. Le Monde is not the kind of restaurant that serves colossal portions, but visually they resemble works of art. Appetizers include a sample plate of Spanish tapas, soups a light Gazpacho, and entrees a spicy monkfish and duck breast. Among the deserts is a Philadelphia style cheesecake.
Of course, you can't get all this without paying through the nose. Salads and soups are all well over 100 crowns and the average price of an entrée is 342 crowns. Drinks cost at least twice as much as they do in Bratislava's more modest establishments. For those who aren't celebrities or top decision makers, Le Monde is more likely to be a rare treat than a regular haunt.