BRIEF RESTAURANT’S STORY. Džiaugsmas was opened three years after the idea was born in the head of one of the best chefs in Lithuania, Martynas Praškevičius. First of all, it took a lot of time to find suitable premises, and after the premises were found – another restaurant of Martynas and partners, Stebuklai, became the best restaurant in the country. Thus, he needed to focus on justifying the name of Stebuklai, and the opening of Džiaugsmas was postponed by another half a year. Finally, in February 2017, a real joy for Lithuanians opened its door – a restaurant-bistro, which uses only Lithuanian products.
RESTAURANT’S UNIQUENESS. This is a no-frills restaurant which focuses on Lithuanian products and sharing tastes around the table. For that purpose, a part of the dishes on a plate are specially cut and served in order to facilitate sharing, and sometimes Martynas even encourages eating with the hands. Here, simplicity is a very important part of the idea. The chef is pleased the most when quests appreciate the quality of well-selected ingredients:
„To have two restaurants (the other Martynas’ restaurant Stebuklai – author’s note), whose kitchen and customer expectations are different but equally high is not easy. As for Džiaugsmas, my goal here is simple - to serve people with the best quality products produced in Lithuania. I was waiting for this opportunity for a long time, it was my dream, and now it's my daily joy“, – Martynas says about his second restaurant-bistro and natural wine bar.
BRIEF MENU. As you might have understood already, the ingredients are the king here. Therefore, in this restaurant, M. Praškevičius focuses on search for reliable suppliers. He personally knows every farmer whose grown products get into the restaurant's dishes: „ It's very easy to call and order, but as you search yourself, you start to think differently and appreciate everything. I wish everyone to strive for more quality.“
When the product reaches the kitchen, it easily becomes joy on a plate for the restaurant’s guests. In fact, the menu of this restaurant is quite narrow and changes often depending on the situation behind the window. The menu consists of three parts: appetizers eaten with the hands, dishes (main course and second course) and desserts. All of that is perfectly complimented by natural wine.
CULINARY HITS Cod donuts – 8 Eur, toasted bread, lard, apple jam – 6 Eur, beef ribs from Mieženskienė farm – 30 Eur (2 people), beef tartar, fried sugar bones, smoked egg sauce, onions, elder capers – 15 Eur.
CHEF. The chef of the kitchen of this restaurant-bistro and the author of the idea – 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 own example. „I have never worked in a Michelin-star restaurant or a very famous and luxurious restaurant“, – he says. He just knew he was going to be a cook from long ago and focused all his attention, time and talent on this vocation. The first project of Martynas (together with partner Martynas Šlikas) was Stebuklai, and the second one – Džiaugsmas which opened last year.
SPACE. This building has a long story, however, its brightest highlight is the fact that Joseph Brodsky, a Russian poet and a Nobel Prize winner, used to stay here. Now the interior of the building has changed a lot. Džiaugsmas is located on three floors and has cozy intimate rooms. Once you come in, you first of all notice quite dark interior and a head of the Neanderthal man. It is as if a symbol here. He is the first man who ate organic food. It is hard not to notice a fresco Winds created by artist Žilvinas Ladzbergas, which integrates very naturally with the dark interior. Dark floor is also very noticeable and, according to the restaurant’s team, such a floor has a deeper link with nature – the darker the soil, the healthier it is.