If you are in Plovdiv, go to Hemingway restaurant for contemporary interpretations of traditional Bulgarian cuisine
Hemingway was recommended to me as one of the best restaurants in Plovdiv. I was willing to visit a new place in the city, especially since I had already tasted the dishes of Pavaj and became a great fan. My curiosity was even bigger after I checked their ratings on TripAdvisor. I saw that they were missing just a little to exceed 4 out of 5 points. I really like to disprove clients who unfairly complain about any establishment or whimsy about unimportant things. So, Hemingway entered the mandatory visitation list.
My first interaction with the staff left a brilliant impression on me. Very polite, very adequate, when we were late for the reservation and called them, they assured me that it was no problem and the kitchen will provide dinner to us, regardless of the late hour of our arrival. They gave me a table, as per my taste and my requirement. Bravo and 5 hearts for service quality!
…. Very interesting interior, with a distinctive style, which contributes to coziness, wonderfully combining with service-feeling like you are at home;
…. Beautifully arranged food on the trays and in the dishes- exactly as it should be, with abundance of colors in the seasonal vegetables, green spices and sauces.
…. Unfortunately, the chairs of the tables outside were not at all comfortable– the knees are slightly higher than your bum and you get the feeling that you are sliding backwards. They are positioned lower than normal to the table, the belly is suppressed and if you plan staying for a little longer to have a lomg and abundant dinner you will be quite uncomfortable- so half heart of the score dropped out;
…. Wonderful service– back to the TripAdvisor reviews, I am fascinated by the customer service of the waiters, by the attitude of every single person from the staff. It is very possible that some measures have been taken after the posts of dissatisfied customers. Bravo for the achievements!
…. The last warm evenings of September, the table that I requested outside was ours, despite the many reservations, probably our delay has helped us, or the people remembered that we wanted to be outside and tried to undulge us- it was great!
…. When I entered the restaurant, I found that there was a live performance of a duet who played and sang, but unfortunately, I did not like the singing at all – it was worse than the old-times restaurant singing, it sounded like a choking croak. I hurried to go out because it ruined my good impression of the restaurant. In Plovdiv there are many artistic and talented people, I am sure that they can find better performers for such a nice establishment. For this unpleasant experience, the 5D Sensograph lost half a heart. ☹
…. The perfumed aroma of basil in the pesto, which was put around my salad with chopped sorrel and tomatoes- together with the cheese and the arugula they formed a wonderful bouquet of smells;
…. The slightly sharp aroma of crokmatch in the salad with cucumber rolls and as a supplement to the cod soufflé- complements with freshness and unusual appearance of the dish.
Crokmatch is a typical Bulgarian food, which is a kind of thick sheep yogurt. The purpose of the old Bulgarians who created the recipe was to preserve the yogurt longer for the winter. It goes through boiling, then ripening with salt and acids, thickening and then it is stored in pots. It could get so thick, to be even cut with a knife. It’s delicious! For the first time I tried such a thing thanks to Valery Neshov in Before 10 restaurant. I’ve eaten a wonderful crokmatch in Cosmos and Karmare, and in Bistrello, we’ve tried an extraordinary ahchak, which I think is still the same as the crokmatch, but named differently;
….. Unpleasant odor in one of the special and quite expensive a la carte proposals- a ball of minced beef meat- very disappointing! One heart was gone!
…. Cucumber rolls filled with crokmatch, slices of cherry tomato, olive and dill!
…. Cod soufflé with crokmatch on the side– great match with the white wine. There were bottles of 187 ml- Bravo, for giving to the customers that option!
…. Lovely beef kebabcheta (local meal made of minced meat) with very nice crispy fresh potatoes with the peel- the fresh meat smelled fantastic, it was well baked and spiced;
…. Wonderful pork ribs, topped with barbecue sauce, very tender and contrasting as a texture with the crispy fries;
…. And here comes the tragedy in Taste…. category with Hemingway– the special proposal, a ball of minced beef coated with puff pastry, which I also mentioned in the category Smell….. seamed very interesting and I ordered it. Similar dishes, which are called Wellington, become very tasty if cooked properly. Chef Angelov has demonstrated how such dish must taste in his restaurant Chef’s. This option here, from the outside looked great-like a ball of bread, with stuffing. The problem was inside it. The minced meat under the crust, smelled bad in places, had darker color here and there, slightly standing raw to the middle. I didn’t eat it, warring it could be spoilt. I was under the impression that it was stored in the freezer and then just heated. Fortunately for me, I had no stomach troubles, so it was not spoilt, only bad in taste and smell.
As a finale I would like to assure you that in general I liked Hemingway. I would just recommend the management to sit on the outside chairs for a dinner, to understand that it is not just a whimsy to demand more comfortable seating but giving a hint to a flaw that affects the overall experience of the client. As we all know, the devil is in details and we should not underestimate such things.
If we adhere to the principles of the Experience economy by Pine and Gilmore, that overall experience brings back the customers, makes him/her to pay a surplus on the average price level for a service. Moreover, she will then recommend it to others, which respectively will lead to profit increase for the owner and business life prolongation of the house. However, if there are problems with this experience, the days of the restaurant are numbered and slowly, and surely its service will deteriorate. Unfortunately for quite some time nobody will notices this threat.
I would recommend also, to remove any special offers that cannot be made properly, like difficult to cook meals, where there may be problems with the final result. It would be better to push more the new approach with traditional Bulgarian dishes and fresh local farm products of high quality.
The benchmark for a restaurant with traditional, old Bulgarian recipes is Before 10 in Sofia, awarded many times by Bacchus magazine for contributing to the preservation of traditional Bulgarian recipes and traditional products production. Recently, restaurant Cosmos in Sofia started a project to explore old Bulgarian recipes, preserving and developing the production of rare Bulgarian products, necessary for their implementation.
The most unconventional progressive reading of Bulgarian cuisine you can try in the newest gourmet restaurant Karmare in Sofia. There, Chef Georgi Boikovski boldly creates new trends on the solid basis of well-known Bulgarian dishes.
Read more about his creations and restaurant Karmare in Where is the latest Bulgarian progressive gourmet hit for 2019 in Sofia?-Part 1 and Part 2, and then in More from Karmare and the progressive cooking in Sofia
I would go back to Hemingway because I have the feeling that they take seriously the customers’ feedback. Except for this meat ball, everything else was delicious.
If you are planning already a trip to the beautiful town of Plovdiv, which is European Culture Capital for 2019, you can book your stay right here. For your convenience, I added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you. Just enter the dates of your trip, then hit the Search button and voila. In addition, booking.com are doing their best to make sure that your expectations as a customer are fulfilled. I’ve described an example about the latter in my story about our stay in Shangri-La hotel in Singapore.
Don’t worry about getting to the restaurant Hemingway in Plovdiv. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of its location and then select directions:
А: 10 Gurko str, Plovdiv
T: + 359879 099 990
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Do you ever wonder how some places are so very different from others in service, environment, as a general experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Pine and Gilmore. I’ve tried to recognize those places which apply it in practice its principles, whether deliberately or accidentally, and I think it is worth to consider them. Right click on category The Experience Economy