Chef Saulius creates the main menu referring to food classics which is recognised all over the world. He is not a big fan of complicated recipes. Three main ingredients are optimal, in his view. Also Saulius is no decorator of plates. This is, perhaps, the reason why Bistro 18 is chose by those who want a “safe” go – delicious, quality, healthy and full meal.
The development of menu depends on the weather outside. It changes from 3 to 6 times a year.
Saulius’ wife Anne (singer Erica Jennings’ sister) who almost always receives restaurant guests herself says that relationship with product suppliers for her is as important as with diners.
They have a close relationship with a farmer in Molėtai. They buy mutton in one of the Lithuanian farms. With regard to Vilnius Halė market, Saulius knows almost every seller there. In general, Bistro 18 tries to support local farms as much as possible but they, certainly, work with imported products as well. Besides, recipes inspired by the Italian, French, Indian or Greek cuisine would be impossible without specific ingredients brought from abroad.
All the clients of the restaurant are warmly welcomed, served and equally warmly seen off. If a person’s face is well-known, this does not mean that s/he will be served first or in any specific way.
Bistro 18 has a number of loyal clients who organise business dinners on workdays and come back at weekend with their families. There are some who had their first date here, later got married, and now organise festive lunches on the occasion of their child’s christening or wedding anniversary dinners (the restaurant has a cosy private area for family dinner).
When Bistro 18 opened its door, it was first evaluated foreigners. There were more of them than of Lithuanians here. Now the locals have also discovered this cosy family-run restaurant.
Saulius Taučius started his career in food and service industry as a barman and continuously climbed the career ladder. When he met Anne, they both had a dream to open their own restaurant. It took a few years for a couple to have the idea of a restaurant mature and find the appropriate premises. Actually, this idea was developed by Taučius and Jennings when they lived in Ireland but they moved to Vilnius to make their dream come true – they wanted to run their business here.
When they came to Lithuania to open their restaurant, Anne and Saulius would walk down the city streets imagining where their dream could settle down. Every time they passed the place where Bistro 18 is now, they often thought that, maybe, this was the place for their restaurant. But the windows were nailed shut and the owners were not known.
Finally, they got the opportunity to examine the premises where 25 years ago from now there was a Chinese restaurant; at the end of the premises there was the Stikliai bakery, even before that there was a milk bar.
15 years after the Chinese restaurant there was nothing and nobody in the premises until Anne and Saulius saw the premises. They liked it and signed an agreement. The couple had to renew practically everything. Solely the door leading to the private dinner area remained authentic.
Saulius changes the menu of lunch specials on a daily basis. You can choose a soup of the day and a salad (EUR 6.35) or a soup of the day and a hot dish (EUR 6.95). Coffee or tea is included.
Wine card plays an important role in this restaurant’s life. Right after the opening of the restaurant Anne and Saulius already had a collection of 1,600 wine bottles which soon became a detail of the interior. All the crew is quite good in wines and can give advice on food and wine matching.
Neither Anne, nor Saulius has any ideas about the second restaurant – they both are afraid of losing their focus. According to them, people value Bistro 18 because Saulius prepares food himself and Anne welcomes guests – they both are practically all the time in the restaurant. Their purpose is to have this place for 10 more years, not to open 10 more restaurants.