4 October 2016
You’d think after that disastrous tasting menu at Dublis the previous night I would have called it before doing another tasting menu in Vilnius, but for some reason I had better feeling about my choice for this final night in Vilnius. I had targetted this place, Sweet Root, as the top dining choice for Vilnius, and I was set to try it no matter how tired I am of tasting menu issues.
I had a long day in Kaunas, having gone there at dawn. I got back late afternoon and got myself across the river to the hipster-ish Užupis area for dinner. I got to Sweet Root and immediately I saw major differences with Dublis. Where Dublis tried to show off visually, Sweet Root clearly has a more comfy and relaxed attitude — and more importantly, far more personable.
I hate to say this, but Dublis last night reminded me Vilnius was formerly in the Eastern Bloc. If anything, Sweet Root reminded me Vilnius is in the European Union. Maybe that says more than anything else with these 2 reviews.
Anyway, I went with the pairing this time, hoping it won’t be a mistake. But clearly the service was far more personable and friendly, with the idea that customers being happy is their main goal. First up was a modest wee amuse.
A little steamed bun with sour cream. Cute, not bad of a morsel. A pour of a nice bubbly and we were off with the first course.
I was a little taken aback by this dish, as it features an item I so rarely see — snail caviar. The cucumber and buttermilk broth added to the richness of this dish, alongside these little pearls of awesomeness. Fabulous. Found out it’s all local from Kaišiadorys. Awesome. In fact, all of the stuff is sources locally, and they helpfully tell you where each of the ingredients come from!
What a great start! Then a very generous pour of a Portuguese white then we have a dish covered in chard…
And when you open it, it’s a nice dish of lamb tongue! Excellent flavours, again locally sourced from Molėtai. Lovely dish, the yoghurt and the berries adds just a wee touch to the lamb tongue. Excellent!
I am enjoying this far more than last night for certain! Better pace, I’m not waiting for everyone else in the restaurant for one. The wine pours are far better, and far better dish and wine description by my excellent server. Next up, chanterelles.
Ah, not quite, but indeed. The chanterelles are within this raviolo. Nice, with a bechamel-ish sauce that really worked with the raviolo. Another good dish! A generous pour of cava and we move on with a cute dish that looks like an egg custard…
But it’s not, it’s actually a corn custard. There’s also cheese and quail egg here. Tasty, but honestly hard to eat with the construct. It was flaking too much and I didn’t know what utensil to use, but it all fell apart at the end. Really tasty, but a messy dish.
So far it’s a million times better than last night in every way. I am so glad I stuck through and went with another tasting menu! A generous pour of burgundy and we have some pike-perch.
One of the region’s more popular fish, this was a nice little dish. Love the wee turnips and onions too, works perfectly with the fish. Good dish, though it looks a bit sparse on the big plate. Then we got a pour of Austrian Blaufränkisch and here comes the duck.
Nice quality duck from Lazdijai at the Polish border, the breast is juicy and delicious. The pumpkin was a seasonal nicety though I hope it’s the last time I have it this October! But the star here is something that I usually detest — the confit fried up. This was the nicest, juiciest one I’ve had in ages, and the crust is not overly intrusive and annoying. Lovely stuff!
I was really happy with this meal at this stage, even if the adjacent table are a bunch of academics that are spewing on various inane things that are so annoying I was biting my tongue trying to act ignorant… In any case, the food and service has been excellent, complemented by generous wine pours. Just the way I like it.
A wee palate cleanser presented and we move onto the final item, the dessert.
A nice selection of items that featured many of my favourite things — sea buckthorn, beetroot, and goat cheese. Honestly one of my favourite set of items for a dessert, a very good ending to a surprisingly good dinner!
I enjoyed myself so much — despite those yammering academics — I stayed for a few after-dinner drinks. And just to show how generous they were, they allowed me to sample a lot of different things.
So needless to say I was very happy when I finally took my leave and made the rather hazardous walk back to my hotel in the dark — with the cracked pavement and potholes. But this dinner reaffirmed my faith in Lithuania’s restaurant scene and tasting menus in general. Now I know why this is considered the best restaurant in Lithuania. This was a heck of a dinner.
If you have one dinner in Vilnius, I would highly recommend this place. Plus, the walk across the river will do you good.
Užupio gatvė 22