There are two chefs in the restaurant – Ernestas Viršilas and Raimundas Dambrauskas. Before, both of them worked in Monte Pacis, a Kaunas-based restaurant, which is included in the list of thirty best restaurants of Lithuania for a second consecutive year, like restaurant Palanga. Actually, in Kaunas, Ernestas was the chef of the kitchen, while Raimundas was his first aid.
The principle of work, when there are two chefs in the kitchen of the restaurant, which is open seven days a week from morning till midnight all the year round, is unusual but understandable. Moreover that R. Dambrauskas likes the most recent gastronomic trends, while E. Viršilas supports the classical cuisine.
Ernestas’ experience and knowledge gained from working in other places and abroad (for instance, in Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen in London) helps Raimundas to manage the situation in the kitchen when, especially in summer, the tempo reaches the maximum.
While E. Viršilas, when he is not in the kitchen, performs more managerial tasks and goes into a dining room, communicates with visitors, tells them about the dishes and often even accepts a special order – the philosophy of this hotel is as follows: the customer and his wishes are always most important.
Ernestas likes to joke both in the dining room and in the kitchen, he also allows the team to go a little wild. In his opinion, good mood ensures delicious results.
While Raimundas spends all his time in the kitchen and manages a team of cooks. He was the first to move from Kaunas to Palanga (in autumn 2016) and he introduced his order here: “I threw away the crockery and changed the menu,” tells us R. Dambrauskas, smiling.
And even though both chefs act and use their experience in different areas, the creation of dishes here is done jointly, when both masters of the kitchen have their say.
People come here in order to escape their everyday life, find a balance for their body and mind, strengthen their health and enjoy the riches of nature. Thus the menu here is corresponding.
When creating the dishes, Raimundas does not use one particular cuisine as an example. He likes experimenting, however, in so doing, he never forgets Lithuanian nature. In this manner, the menu now includes such dishes as tuna in branches of a fir-tree, dishes with oil made from needles of trees, which is pressed here, in the kitchen...
In Raimundas’ dishes, various ingredients are used: tree cones and lichen, cobia from Japan and haddock from the North Sea. The menu of restaurant Palanga is born when the riches of local nature are combined with gourmet products from abroad.
R. Dambrauskas also likes to combine well-known cuisines of the world. For instance, the French cuisine with that of South-Eastern Asia. However, as the chefs say, customers coming here usually have tried enough gourmet dishes in their life, so it is difficult to surprise them with such dishes. While experiments with local products, which could seem usual, however, which are creatively combined, could impress customers quite a lot.
Therefore, at home in Karklė, Ernestas has a large greenhouse wherein he grows vegetables and various potherbs for the restaurant. He also plans to install a vertical greenhouse on the lawn next to the restaurant.
This will enable even more experiments. And even though, in this restaurant, there is quite an extensive a la carte, the restaurant always has offers not from the menu and they usually last only one day. For instance, a 30-kilogram halibut “sails in” and, on that day, dishes with halibut are created. Besides, on the terrace, there is a grill using coal and a stove, thus, if there is such a desire, the fresh halibut could be fried upon an individual visitor’s order.
Certain customers say that they would like to just be surprised, therefore, they trust offers of the kitchen masters without information provided in advance. In such cases, 2-3 dishes arrive at the table. This could be called a tasting dinner without advance booking.
In this restaurant, breakfast is cooked for the hotel guests, however, visitors from elsewhere can also enjoy a plentiful buffet breakfast. Such a pleasure will cost them EUR 25. This price includes not only a number of dishes from the common table (from an Eggs Benedict and pancakes to black pudding and fresh croissants baked on the spot), but also coffee, tea, freshly-squeezed juice and even a glass of sparkling wine.
This season, a new wine list has been compiled here including 6 sorts of wine sold by glass and a few sorts of champagne. The wine list includes wine from different regions of the Old World, wine from the New World as well as dessert wine and very luxurious sorts of champagne.
It is in this restaurant that the chef’s career of Ernestas Viršilas started 15 years ago and, at that time, it lasted for 4 years. And even though during the time that he did not work in Palanga, he gained more experience in other places, a large part of the staff here remained the same as at the beginning of his career. The team here indeed work very harmoniously together, therefore, at the restaurant Palanga you can expect top-level service.