Where: Sedlárska 5, Bratislava
English menu: Yes
Rating: 8 out of 10
FROM its stiff and impassive facade I could tell that this wasn't an everyday, popular (as in common) restaurant. Moreover its location, across the cobbled street from the shirt-sleeved crowds gobbling 'authentic' Irish and Mexican fare, heightened my awareness of the restaurant's class. For a fear-stricken moment it even seemed that the two trim, black clad waiters at the entrance to Tempus Fugit were guards, not hosts.
As I approached I self-consciously smoothed my appearance and manner, anxious to escape any glances of incredulity at my request for a table. Yet all my fears were for naught. I immediately won a welcoming smile from the staff who led me, like royalty arriving home, in from the street and away from the throng.
Inside the restaurant a "12th to 15th century interior" receives a chic, modern interpretation. Amidst stately grey stone arches are poised trim but weighty tables of gently coloured wood and minimal chairs that manage to be comfortably cushioned in light orange upholstery. A few understated red and blue faux curtains have been painted onto the walls to highlight the grace of the restaurant's colours.
From the entrance an intimate dining area opens into a two-story atrium which houses the bar area and its appropriate seating. On the second floor a balcony runs around the edge of the atrium with additional seating that stretches back into alcoves hung with tapestries. In one, two large tables have been set, inspiring images of a rich and decadent feast, the centrepiece of which would be the menu's tour de force, a whole roasted suckling pig (Sk5,200).
For our dinner, however, we had neither the mouths (it takes at least four to pig out) nor the desire to sample this particular specialty. Instead we began with a pleasing if somewhat salty smoked salmon and avocado starter, and chilled vichyssoise soup, perfect at the end of a hot day.
Unobtrusive but very attentive, the wait staff quickly brought our main courses, delicious veal medallions served over soft capers, sage, roasted zucchini, and potatoes (Sk490) and ricotta ravioli in zucchini cream sauce (Sk270). As to the ravioli, vegetarians be on your guard - bits of shrimp arrived unannounced in these plump packages. There is something for the fish lover as well; one dish that stood out was grilled pike on a bed of fennel (Sk440).
Desert was out of the question; like the decor, our dishes had been delicately and delightfully presented, yet had hidden a medieval richness. In other words, we were stuffed. As the waiters parted to let us pass upon our exit we braced ourselves for a return to the hot street and our real lives.
11. Aug 2003 at 0:00 | Eric Smillie