Top bartender Drago Ivanov and top chef Georgi Boykovski at a joint event at Bar Public in Sofia
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What happens when a top bartender and a top chef collaborate?
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…. The interior of Bar Public impresses the most with the graffiti welcoming you at the entrance and the interesting lighting on the ceiling inside (you can see it in the video below);
…. Behind the bar is a whole team of mixing professionals – they work fast, because the whole bar is waiting to try and repeat the 3 cocktails that Chef Boykovski has prepared as a recipe;
…. The orders are far from being limited to the menu of the event – people also ordered from the regular list of the bar, because there are also quite good cocktails, arranged by the creative mixologist Drago;
…. But what is most impressive is the menu for the day – it consists of 3 levels – appetizer, main course and dessert. You can see it here:
Naturally, the look of the cocktails is fine touched, but when you look at their decoration on the top, it’s like a separate masterpiece. The skills of Chef Boykovski, manifested in fine miniatures, which are a special gourmet experience.
The only remark I had was that it was very dark and you can’t see these beautiful creations, let alone take pictures. The bartenders are also in the dark, you still can’t take pictures of them easily. And they are stars on stage, they deserve to be seen how they perform.
…. There are a lot of people, but the cocktails are made quickly, because several bartenders make sure that the audience is not thirsty and “hungry”, and Georgi is also behind the counter and shakes hard the cocktails. From time to time, he comes by to our table and explains what techniques he used:
The juice of apple and celery in the first cocktail is mixed in a special way with the oil infused with bay leaf by ultrasound, so as to obtain a thicker and tastier texture, and not to disintegrate. And when I look at the decoration of apple slice on top, it is as if it was cut with a laser – so smooth, fine and transparent, dehydrated and slightly caramelized. A small piece of fermented celery on it. Awesome taste – fresh, nice appetizer!
…. Drago also comes by to chit-chat and tells us about the experience of meeting a specialist from a different field, borrowing know-how and creating new horizons in mixology.
In practice, the so-called adjacent innovation or architectural innovation has been implemented in this collaboration. In general, this means that one element in the familiar model changes and thus access to new markets is gained.[i]
In the familiar model of mixology, cooking techniques and ingredients are inserted, a product is obtained that impresses both cocktail lovers and gourmands.
…. Georgi says that his work behind the bar for this project has made him an even better chef and adds “just as confectionery has made me a much better chef”.
…. We also met the other owner of the bar, Drago’s partner. Ivan is a TV cameraman. He knows many people, he had seen all kinds of world, characters, events, pretensions – everything. But he also wonders what great things have happened during the preparation of this project. He watched as if the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant had moved into the bar.
…. We also saw celebrities from the screen – actors, journalists – united, by their love to cocktail or fine dining culture.
…. I had a feeling that few people realized what wonderful music was played in the bar as we did. Somehow, they liked it instinctively, and our company as connoisseurs, because this music accompanied us during the years of our earlier youth, just admired that someone remembered to play such songs. We heard Staka Bo, Leftfield, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay – their early songs and a bunch of other things that kept us staying, even after the 5th cocktail, when our heads felt already quite heavy.
Movie watching time: 1:15 min.
…. The aromas in these cocktails are a separate topic – in the appetizer fresh notes of citrus and green apple, slightly spicy pickle;
…. Main course – eggplant, exotic Asian notes, samardala, which was sprinkled on the ice cube;
…. In the dessert-chocolate, cocoa.
…. The main course was…. with beef. Yes exactly. After drinking in Karmare, Georgi’s previous restaurant, a bonito cocktail, it was time for something different. No, it doesn’t look like boiled beef. The meat was well disguised behind the exotic notes and the spicy samardala, so it wouldn’t hit your palate. However, I was most impressed by the thin slice of eggplant on top with the miniature miso figurines with small flowers;
…. In the dessert, the thin chocolate on top with a tiny leaf of green herb, made the cocktail playful and crunchy.
To the question above, “What happens when a top bartender and a top chef come together in a collaboration?”, my short answer is- witchcraft! You drink, you can’t have enough, you keep drinking, you can’t have enough, you keep going, you’re thirsty, you’re hungry for more- you are like bewitched.
In a modern and scientific language, there is innovation, I explained above what type and why I think so.
Let there may be other editions of this event, please! Did you hear, Drago, Georgi?
How to get to Bar Public in Sofia?
Don’t worry about getting to Bar Public in Sofia. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of its location and then select directions:
A: ul. “Angel Kanchev” 1, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia
Opening Hours: Mon- Sun 17:00-04:00 may vary due to pandemics
If you need to rent a car, you can book it here in the box of the largest booking platform further at the end of the current post.
Where to stay if you are not from the city?
If you plan traveling to Sofia, you can book your stay right here. For your convenience, I have 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.
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Do you ever wonder how some places differ so much from others in service, environment, as an overall experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. I constantly add to my collection reviews about those of them, which practice its principles, regardless of intentionally or accidentally. If you are curious to understand which they are, explore category The Experience Economy.
[i] Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2019/12/30/back-to-basics-what-is-innovation/?sh=91c22684ca27