24 January 2017
Slept terribly, getting only 2-3 hours of it. Was wide awake most of the night and went to have breakfast at my hotel — something I so rarely do. I then explored various parts of town for the morning before I headed back to the Old Town for lunch. Remembering today is a national holiday, I decided to drop in earlier.
I went to the venerable Caru’ cu Bere (The Beer Wagon), a historic institution of Bucharest from the early times when this was a royal capital. It was early, about 1130, and they told me they would need my table back within 2 hours. Oh, no prob there!
The service was a little confused and that wasn’t helped by the stream of folks come in. Almost all locals, so that’s a good sign. And as I enjoyed some morning wine my soup arrived.
A humble meatball and vegetable soup, not bad. Perhaps not in an over-heated dining room when it’s unseasonably warm outside, but it did its job. Then the main course, the pork neck.
Overcooked a bit, but not bad. A stomach filler really. At least there was no cake of polenta as I asked for veggies instead…
Took an effort to get my bill and I headed out. A bit too historic in the not-so-good ways, but a 1-time must for anyone visiting Bucharest I suppose… And of course I got this great shot of the CPC Bank Palace…
I wandered a bit more but with that lack of sleep I was worn out so I caught the bus back to the hotel for a very quick rest, as I had to head straight out to meet a colleague. I ran to the north part of the centre and enjoyed several cocktails with my colleague in a hipster cocktail bar. Ambivalent about seeing it here, but the drinks were good.
He dropped me back off at my hotel (he had a driver, no worries, not a drink-drive thing…) and I actually just went straight back out for dinner. I had through of staying up north, but instead I went back to the Old Town. Avoiding all the bars, which were full from the national holiday, I ended up in one of the venerable eateries of the Old Town — Crama Domnească.
A long menu but old school — both in service and approach. I chilled at a table and enjoyed some wine and placed my order. A mixture of locals and tourists, so hopefully it’s good. But after that lame lunch I didn’t expect too much here. They told me my chosen starter was sold out, so I changed it to the chicken liver…
A big serving, and a good one. Tasty, cooked well, with nice flavouring. Took awhile to come out so I was on my 2nd glass of wine already, but it was worth it. Nice start. Then with more wine the main course arrived.
My readers know I love tongue, but this was pretty excellent. The tongue is braised in a sauce heavily impacted by olives, and that really added something nice here. The tongue was ridiculously tender but did not lose its trademark texture, a feat that is rarely accomplished. Lovely dish.
If the service hadn’t been so chaotic and me spotting musicians setting up (I really don’t like those things while I am eating…) I would have opted for a dessert. Oh well, I paid and headed out. I had an early flight tomorrow so I opted to just go back and hope for a better sleep.
Thank you, Bucharest, it’s been interesting!
Caru’ cu Bere
Strada Stavropoleos 5
Strada Șelari 13-15
PS: I nearly missed my flight to Greece as the infamous morning traffic of Bucharest turned an otherwise 25-minute trip to the airport into a 100+ minute trial… But I made it and now off to another place I’ve not been in 20 years!