In researching my trip to Vilnius, I was fortunate to come across a recommendation for Ertlio Namas from a fellow traveling foodie in a group to which I belong on Facebook. When I saw his pictures and read his review, I immediately booked myself a table. Spoiler alert: I look forward to returning and bringing my hubby with me.
The chef, Tomas Rimdys, and his team, have set up camp in a seventeenth-century building in which they present a tasting menu based on Lithuanian recipes dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Each course is served with a story putting it in historical context. The menu changes six times a year.
There are only two choices to be made here, the first being between the four-course tasting menu, the six-course tasting menu and the second whether to get the wine pairings or not. I went all out, six-courses (€50) and the wine pairings (€35.)
The first course, hailing from the sixteenth century was house-made bread with house-made butter. It was accompanied by the Chef’s compliment of a mushroom cheese dotted with pickled vegetables.
Next up was an eighteenth-century offering of trout with chard and carrots. The trout itself was served in the form of a pâté.
This was followed by a deconstructed pheasant dish from the nineteenth century. The server explained that sometimes the cooks would make the dishes look like something different than what they were. In this case, the dish is made to look like a mushroom sitting on the plate. The stalk of it is sort of a mousse of pheasant, topped with a round slice of the skin with a blackcurrant glaze that gives it the appearance of a mushroom cap.
This was followed by a soup of poularde with meat jelly and parsnips, from the seventeenth century. This was very rich and unctuous. These chickens are fattened with a diet that increases the amount of fat, making this a hearty dish to help ward off the harsh, cold Lithuanian winters.
On to the meat courses. First up is beef with turnips, cabbage, broth, and wine sauce, from the eighteenth century.
This was followed by a course of moose with black salsify and boletus sauce from the nineteenth century.
Lithuania has a long history of beekeeping and honey production, with honey and beeswax having been among the country’s leading medieval exports. Along with this comes a long history of fermenting honey, which, of course produces mead. It’s no surprise, then, that Lithuanians love their mead. With dessert, I was served a mead that had a tart cherry flavor profile.
For dessert, I enjoyed a plate featuring a pear confection from the eighteenth century. It was playfully shaped like an apple and served with an apple ice cream and a salted caramel pastry.
As a mignardise, a raspberry chocolate truffle with a white chocolate and raspberry filling.
Some photos of the ambience of the restaurant.