Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
A Menu That True Hedonists Will Relish

A Menu That True Hedonists Will Relish

New signature menu by Executive Chef Ana Grgić for Zinfandel's brings a selection of fantastic courses, inspired by winter ingredients and with a focus on local farming

 

Ana Grgić, the renowned Executive Chef of Zagreb’s Esplanade Hotel, has recently launched a new seasonal à la carte menu, combining an innovative approach and creative dish design with attractive winter tastes. The result is a delicious dose of art on a plate that beckons to be tasted.


Dryed venison pâté, wild game consommé, juniper berries, caramelised beef tongue, golden chanterelles, porcini mushrooms, morels, pickled radicchio, capon rillettes, tripe, crispy cod skin, soup of dry-cured lamb, black Slavonian pig, quail roasted on pine wood, perch fillet wrapped in vine leaves, roasted chestnuts with maple syrup, home-made aromatic bread, and hand-made butter – in the new winter edition menu, Ana has highlighted local, currently available, and quality ingredients, as well as original flavours.


Famous for its elegant ambience, sophisticated fine dining selection, and charming, professional service, the Zinfandel's restaurant confirms its star status on Zagreb's gourmet map with this ambitious menu.


Already a familiar to the public Executive Chef Ana Grgić has been running the Esplanade's kitchens for almost eight years. In her rich culinary experience, she has had the opportunity to prepare meals for many prominent figures, royal families and high-ranking statesmen. Ana has received a series of accolades and was also named the Great Chef of Tomorrow by the Gault&Millau guide. Ana has established a distinctive signature style, and her menus are becoming more creative with each passing year. Especially challenging to prepare is Zinfandel's à la carte menu, whose winter edition has been recently released. While drafting the menu, Ana’s vision was to use only available and locally grown seasonal ingredients that she carefully combined and pieced together into interesting courses that complement each other and make up a unique gourmet winter story. “I have created a network of good local suppliers who can keep up with my ideas. I only take the highest-quality ingredients for my dishes. It is important for me that what I use and plate for my guests is really state-of-art quality and that it comes from this region. The winter has its charms as well as a series of excellent ingredients, so I was guided by the idea of using those that remind me of cold days and the coming holidays,” Ana said, adding: "This time of year usually reminds us of wild game, which is why the new menu contains pâté of dry-cured venison that I found on an Istrian family farm, then a wild game consommé, as well as quail that we smoke ourselves and roast on pine branches so as to give the meat a special aroma, and then combine it with chestnuts, maple syrup, and a butter-roasted pear. From a free-range farm comes a slightly forgotten capon, which is quite challenging to prepare, so I spend hours cooking it in order to obtain a tasty and soft meat for the rillette that I serve in the form of a pad with port wine sauce and grape marmalade, which ultimately brings a great blend of flavours to the forefront. The meat of black Slavonian pig is a real gourmet treat, and this is particularly evident when it is combined with white bean and truffle mousse."  

As a long-time ambassador of the WWF global initiative, Ana continues to promote the Fish Forward sustainable campaign. Hence, she has included Kvarner shrimp among the hors d'oeuvres, in a new creative soup version with the soup of dry-cured lamb, horseradish gel, and Brussels sprouts. "I had the opportunity to visit fishermen who are fishing for shrimp by pot in the Velebit channel. The WWF team allowed me to sail with them and catch shrimp. I was delighted by the whole story, because I find it protects the microecosystem and encourages small fishermen to do this kind of work. In addition, in a joint campaign with the WWF we are continuing to work on maximizing the use of each ingredient in the food preparation process in order to minimise the amount of waste made during the preparation of meals,” Ana said. By including it in the menu, Ana is trying to save perch from oblivion, which is a fish whose flavour she emphasised with capers and trout caviar, coming fresh to her kitchen from the river Gacka. The fish story is rounded up with poached cuttlefish with ginger, Swiss chard, and sweet potato that Ana supplies from a local organic-growth family farm. "We are truly trying to support small local suppliers, which is why, for example, we take daikon - Japanese radish - but also all fresh herbs and sprouts from one local family farm not far from Zagreb, whose owners are truly trying hard to upkeep a high quality by offering some unusual vegetables and spices," she said and added: "Today, people live a busy way of life, often having an unhealthy diet, which is why I feel it is the task of us chefs to point that out and change those habits. I like it when my guests know that here at the Esplanade, they will only get fresh and nutritionally healthy ingredients, many of which also have medicinal effects - such as liquorice root, parsley root, celery, cauliflower, or radicchio, and wine leaves that we ourselves pickle in the kitchen for this winter story. Actually, as a big fan of my mom's home cooking, I am trying to somehow translate this idea into Zinfandel's concept of fine dining, which is why my team of cooks and I work together and prepare many of these ingredients by hand, we try out combinations, and I include in the menu only what we find absolutely thrilling. In addition, we bake our own sourdough bread with home-made yeast that my cooks are growing. For guests we also bake home-made scones, with added rosemary, herbs, and olive oil so as to highlight the Mediterranean concept of the cuisine. The extra virgin olive oils Nai are of premium quality and come from the island of Dugi otok. Along with our home-made bread, we serve our guests butter that we prepare and churn ourselves, and whose taste we enrich with olives, pine needles, and black salt. We also make chocolate pralines in-house, which in the new menu come stuffed with foie gras in combination with cherry and cocoa. Desserts are a story for themselves. Here I reused some ingredients that are a traditional reminder of winter and Christmas, like hazelnuts, dried fruit, dry prunes, tangerines, carob, bitter chocolate, pomegranate, and cinnamon. Quince, for one, is one of the ingredients not used very often, although it has an excellent aroma. For dessert, I boil quince for hours to get a tasty jelly that I combine with dates, pecan nuts, and panna cotta made of sour milk that we also make ourselves in our kitchen. There are many wonderful flavours in the new menu, so for true pleasure-seekers I propose the tasting menus containing four, five, and six courses," explained the charming Ana, who is being followed in this whole story by her team of excellent chefs and pâtissiers.

The menu also offers famous Esplanade classics such as Caesar salad, Adriatic sea bass roasted in salt crust, fuži with truffles, steak tartare that the staff carefully prepares before guests, and the legendary oven-crisped Esplanade štrukli. And then there's the exclusive Beluga caviar served with hot blini, cream, and herbs. Tempting dishes from the Flambé menu are happily prepared by the restaurant staff before guests, and the menu’s winter version brings a selection of delicious dishes such as flambéed veal tenderloin with creamy celery, irresistible red prawn tails with anisette and truffle sauce, foie gras in port wine sauce and porcini mushroom marmalade, and the highly “flammable” dessert classic - Crépes Suzette with Grand Marnier liqueur and vanilla ice cream. For guests who are on a gluten-free diet, Zinfandel's offers a selection of four courses certified by the first BOSK gluten-free certificate in Croatia. An unforgettable gourmet experience is complemented by the list of premium wines and champagnes from Croatia and the world, while charming sommelier Ivan Šneler will carefully advise guests which wine will match perfectly with selected dishes. To make selecting from the menu easier, all dishes are marked with special labels which indicate if they are gluten-free, vegan, or halal. Along with a luxurious fine dining selection, elegant ambience, and charming service led by Stjepan Okun, a manager with many years of experience, Zinfandel's has again this winter become a haven for both Zagreb’s locals and guests who appreciate culinary virtuosity and creativity.

PHOTOGRAPHS
of the dishes, the Executive Chef, and the restaurant can be downloaded here (Esplanade Hotel Archives):

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Zinfandel’s contact
T. +385 (0)1 4566 644, E. zinfandels@esplanade.hr, www.zinfandels.hr

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About Executive Chef Ana Grgić

This young, but already experienced Executive Chef, has been running the Zinfandel's restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Croatia, as well as the charming French restaurant Le Bistro and Esplanade Catering, for more than eight years. Ana pursues the tradition of the Esplanade Hotel’s cuisine while keeping up with world-class culinary trends. Her creative and imaginative menus have impressed many guests and celebrities in the past years, as well as members of royal families, such as the Swedish king and queen, Japanese prince and princess, the prince of Saudi Arabia, the royal couple from Denmark, and many others who did not remain indifferent to Ana's ingenuity in preparing dishes. Ana has received a number of accolades for her personality, excellence, and style of cooking. Prestigious publications have nominated her for Woman of the Year and Person of the Year, and the renowned Guida Gallo guide included her risotto among the 101 best risottos in the world in 2013 and 2016. Anna's style of preparing dishes and her personality led her to participate in the popular culinary television show Celebrity MasterChef as a jury member. In addition, Ana proudly bears the title of ambassador for the Fish Forward Project in Croatia within the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) initiative, setting an example for raising consumer awareness of global environmental and social consequences of the consumption of fishery products. The Gault&Millau guide awarded Ana the title of Great Chef of Tomorrow, specially emphasising her respect for the seasonality and quality of ingredients, as well as consistent and carefully refined dishes. Her gastronomic virtuosity and creativity have been recognised by the gourmet association Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, which awarded Ana with the prestigious title of Chef Rôtisseur.

About Zinfandel’s Restaurant
The one-of-a-kind ambience of the Zinfandel's restaurant and cuisine that combines top-quality local ingredients and tastes from around the world guarantee a truly delightful culinary experience in the very heart of Zagreb. The excellent cuisine of Zinfandel's is run by the chef de cuisine of the Esplanade – Ana Grgić – whose many years of experience and training with the world’s renowned chefs guarantee an unforgettable gourmet experience. Her repeatedly awarded and talented culinary team, offering fresh and witty interpretations of Croatian traditional cuisine, includes first Croatian sommelier Ivan Šneler and excellent pâtissiers. Innovative cuisine in a pleasant setting includes views of the legendary Oleander Terrace and outdoor dining. Continuing with the Esplanade's tradition of supreme gastronomy, with its selection and combination of flavours, this charming chef introduces a freshness and creativity that connect Zagreb with the Mediterranean and continental Europe. Zinfandel's has received a host of awards for culinary excellence: the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame, the Fallstaff Restaurant Guide, the Great Rail Journeys' Gold Food Award, the Guida Gallo by Riso Gallo in 2013 and 2016, the Michelin Guide Recommendation for the third consecutive year, the Gault&Millau Gourmet Guide’s three hats, the LTG Award for Contemporary Restaurant of the Year, and numerous other accolades.

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Esplanade Zagreb Hotel contact:                    
Sanda Sokol, PR & Marketing Manager
T. +385.1.4566.036, M. +385.91.4766.647, E. sanda.sokol@esplanade.hr

Andrea Ožegović, PR & Marketing Coordinator
T. +385.1.4563.888, M. +385.91.4766.648, E. andrea.ozegovic@esplanade.hr


Published: 09-12-2019