Karlo is back! That is big news for Bistro Karlo, because the spirit of this bistro is best felt when Karlo is in it. The main philosophy of this sommelier and energetic seeker of top quality ingredients is to temper with ingredients as little as possible, draw out their basic and most important flavors and play “around them”. Such approach to the menu is possible since his new head chef is Matija Mackovic, whose signature can especially be seen in dish presentation that has always been pleasant and interesting to the eye.
Some things have changed and some remained the same in this new chapter in the life of Bistro Karlo. We concluded that the things here have changed, but changed for the best. We primarily think of the food. The menu is slightly less extensive, which is good, so the people in the kitchen can concentrate on every particular execution. Their formula of having four dishes in every category (except for the more extensive dessert menu) could prove to be quiet sufficient and potentially very successful. We tried a little bit of everything.
We were very much intrigued by the combination of pilgrim’s scallop, cherry tomatoes, last of the summer strawberries, coarse salt and coarsely grinded pepper, in a sauce made of blackberries and reduced aceto balsamico. This very colorful plate seems to be inviting you to play with the flavor combinations. We also found the Adriatic trout in a very nice cottage cheese cream. The risotto with sheep cheese, champagne and young string beans was a pleasant surprise, but the brown ravioli was downright thrilling. It is because the pastry is made with chocolate, the ravioli is filled with bass, and everything swims in a sauce made of chocolate, cinnamon and cloves.
We think that the head chef of Bistro Karlo is the most interesting when he plays with such combinations. The beautifully roasted tuna with vegetable sprouts, pumpkin cream and roasted bell pepper “salad” was also nothing short of amazing. Soft beef cheek, polenta with thyme and glazed vegetables in a jus de Merlot were more than an interesting ending. Unfortunately, we had no more room for desserts. Since Karlo does not take them for granted, we suggest you don’t overdo on the “serious” dishes.
We don’t need to say much about the wine list. It is quite extensive. Karlo is very suggestive in proposing appropriate combinations, so you will sometimes have to fight with him to have it your way. Almost all wines are available by the glass, and the prices are formed in the way that all the bottles have an additional 100 kuna surcharge as corkage. This means that you will be better off if you drink more expensive wines.
The prices may seem steep, but they are within the price range of all other restaurants in the center. If you take into account the type of cuisine, ingredients and presentation, we believe they are quite reasonable.
General impression: haute cuisine based on top quality ingredients is getting increasingly better in the hands of the new head chef.
Gunduliceva 16c, Zagreb
9 am to midnight
haute cuisine and excellent wines