This post is also available in: Română (Romanian)
G: Just as I have anticipated, the presence of a prestigious guide among restaurants in
Bucharest (although it’s not Michelin) has already started to create standards and the desire to
surpass them. And because Gault Millau rewarded Modern Romanian Cuisine in its first
edition, best interpreted by Alex Petricean at Maize and Alexandru Iacob at Kane, the new
trend is gaining momentum and is transforming into a “new wave” of local cuisine.
N: I think it is pretty clear now that chefs have done their homework and understood that the
only way to be remarked globally is to integrate traditional ingredients and techniques into the
plates they propose.
G: The newcomer is called Kaiamo and is owned by Radu Ionescu, who is also the
chef. The location is that of the ex-The Beef Club, completely redecorated with an eclectic mix
of traditional Romanian and modern elements. I found the antechamber, with its sofas, inspiring – it can also work as a lounge (Moldova). I also liked the open and generous view of the kitchen from Maramureș zone, where we could see chef Radu Ionescu and his team at work.
Although the restaurant has only been open for two months, it already has seven occupied
tables in the middle of the week, at lunch. This is a big thing. I believe the public success is vital in order to maintain a certain standard and manage to progress.
N: Of course, there are many examples of chefs who have failed by proposing dishes their
audience wasn’t ready for. Heston Blumenthal is only one of the examples, but – when it
comes to our country – I think that a relatively rapid success is essential. Otherwise all these
sublime, but innocent tries, risk to fail without any echo. You guessed it right, I am thinking of
Le Consul, and – to a certain extent – of Kane.
G: I found the menu a bit confusing. It is structured into four directions – earth, water, garden
and puddings, without the traditional classification with appetizers and main courses. The
personnel wasn’t much enlightened either.
N: I loved their courage to structure the menu into atypical categories, but I have to admit
it’s hard to decide without the widely used classification into appetizers, main courses
and desserts. It’s all clear regarding the desserts, but the problem comes with other items, some that are completely unknown, you don’t know their taste, you don’t know their size etc. You find yourself taken out of your comfortable seat, on a confusing journey where you have hard choices to make. Maybe one of the factors that contributed to the success of Michelin-starred restaurants was that they offer a fix menu. Guests have to eat what they are given, with small exceptions here and there. They don’t even have to worry about drinks to pair the food with, because somebody has already done it. They don’t have to ask themselves how to begin or end a meal, because a well-intended waiter will
always be there to guide them.
G: I found the staff enthusiast and ready to help. They asked us if they could present the items
before eating, and this was definitely aligned with the ambitions of the restaurant. I have
chosen a classical structure of appetizer – main course – dessert, although one could also choose a tasting menu (which wasn’t detailed) that consisted of 9 items. We
didn’t receive any kind of amuse bouche, and even the bread and butter (which – by the way
– was fresh and delicious) had to be ordered separately for 9 lei.
We ordered SOUL FOOD as an appetizer: beef heart (it was recommended by the waiter).
Although it was well-cooked (at a temperature of 55 degrees), it was hard to chew, and the
green puree which was accompanying it didn’t compliment it too much. However, I liked the
plating, it was one of the best among local competitors.
N: I avoided the ”parizer” on newspaper in the last moment and chose KRAKEN octopus with
mayonnaise and sepia ink, accompanied by salad, puree and pumpkin chips.
I liked the way the taste was completed by the flavor of coal, but the octopus could have been more tender. I really liked the pumpkin puree, rich and velvety, but the chips weren’t crispy enough. I would have preferred less mayonnaise because I couldn’t abstain myself and ate it all – and this made me think it had dominated the plate. All in all, I believe this dish could face a spectacular evolution under the close attention of the chef.
G: The main course, GYPSY WITCHCRAFT – game meat (wild boar), wild mushrooms and
aromatic herbs moss, was also highly recommended by the staff. However, its taste didn’t
impress me – I actually found it close to that of usual pork.
N: For me it was THANK YOU OLLIE! wrapped bass on a hob, pickled zucchini, lovage, a well-fried sage leaf, green salad and a bit of dill. I still remember the crispy skin of the fish and the delicious
pickled zucchini. They added the necessary amount of acidity to an otherwise extremely
G: I really liked the dessert, TAKE ME TO CHURCH, with white chocolate mousse, jasmine
meringue and rose jam.
Kaiamo is the result of the effort and passion of a young and promising chef. It all depends on
his ambition to progress and constantly surpass his own level – if it all goes well, it could
become one of the best restaurants in Bucharest. We’ll gladly follow its journey.
30A, Ermil Pangratti, Bucharest