The manager of the restaurant and the master of the kitchen – Martynas Praškevičius. He is one of the most appreciated chefs in Lithuania, who not only believes that you can learn everything in the kitchen by yourself, but has proved that to be true by his example. “I have never worked in a restaurant marked with Michelin stars or a very famous and luxurious restaurant,” the self-taught chef admits. He just knew he was going to be a cook from long ago and focused all his attention, time and talent on this vocation.
First of all, he opened a legendary coffee shop, Stereo 45, on Jogailos Street together with his friend. Later on, he left abroad to gain experience, and having come back, he started working in the then-operating popular Asian restobar Briusly. Subsequently, together with Ali Gadžijev and Alfas Ivanauskas, he experimented a lot and learnt in their joint culinary project Virtuvės Mitų Griovėjai (Exposers of the Kitchen Myths), however, finally each of them chose his own path and started personal projects. The project of Martynas (together with partner Martynas Šlikas) was Stebuklai, and now Džiaugsmas has been added to that, too.
Even though in 2016 the restaurant received a lot of compliments and the highest number of points from the members of the academy, Martynas still does not have enough courage to call this restaurant a “fine dining” place. In his opinion, in such a case, everything should be impeccable, while he always wants to correct something.
The menu of the evening, as in the majority of high-level restaurants, here changes every season. However, this year M. Praškevičius has noticed that he does not dare to take certain dishes off the menu, since regular visitors come back because of them and demand them. While the loyal customer, as it has been mentioned, is most important in this place. The stable classical dishes include a tuna tartare, a beef tartare, burrata with pistachio cream, and in summer – a perch tartare.
The menu of Stebuklai is created by getting a supply, first of all, of quality products. Later on, according to the chef, all miracles lie in simplicity: fresh fish fried on cinders – a miracle. A chicken which was raised in freedom and fed with corn – also a miracle, etc. However, the manner in which everything is served in this restaurant may also be called a miracle or, to be more exact, a work of art.
Certainly, since the original idea was to open a grill restaurant and to serve dishes with the smell of smoke, so far the menu of Stebuklai includes quite a number of dishes “from the fire”. However, M. Praškevičius also focuses quite a lot on the raw bar – he serves raw meat and fish ingeniously. Of course, perhaps it goes without saying that almost everything is prepared in the restaurant’s kitchen: from sauces which are cooked here to bread which is baked on the spot, and the bread is always served on the table with butter which is impeccably spiced and ideally soft.
Desserts in Stebuklai are worthy of a separate paragraph. However, this paragraph will be short – Martynas’ desserts are to be tasted. These are masterpieces of all tastes which in fact are worthy to be called small miracles. By the way, desserts are not changed often, because each dessert has been elaborated to the detail. The most popular desserts include a pistachio cheese cake, while last year, during a wine and dessert combining competition, an apple pie of Stebuklai was awarded the first place.
The breakfast of Stebuklai is still praised, and not only in Vilnius. And what is the breakfast’s king? Certainly, an Eggs Benedict! By the way, Martynas was one of the first chefs in Vilnius to introduce brunch. He started it still in Briusly, the menu whereof he supervises to this day.
After the award of the best restaurant’s title, visitors had to book a table in advance even for the lunch of the day. Now the situation is calmer in that regard, however, as it should be, the lunch of the day in Stebuklai is not simple and it is appreciated by the loyal visitors who like to arrange business meetings in restaurants. The price of main courses is about EUR 7-8, the price of soup – EUR 3.