WHY VISIT? Firstly, because Western Lithuania finally has a restaurant run by a globally recognized chef. Martynas Meidus not only manages the kitchen but is also the restaurant’s owner.
Vila Komoda is the result of great love – love for food, love for work, and love between two people. This boutique hotel, restaurant and roof terrace is set in a historic building on “Love Alley” and is the joint life project of Chef Martynas and his wife Karolina Vičiūtė-Meidė. “After the pace of London we wanted a restaurant which would bring us closer together but would also allow us to somewhat slow down – at least we thought this would be the case. However, it requires just as much work and effort as Martynas’ work in fine dining restaurants in London did,” explains Karolina.
Another important reason to visit it is that the place is a complete oasis of tranquillity. It offers a Mediterranean atmosphere (particularly on the roof terrace), a friendly team, and zero stress. “Our guests often become our friends,” says Karolina. “Sometimes they even bring products to us from their kitchen gardens and farms.”
Finally, there is sheer culinary skill. Martynas Meidus is a globally recognized chef who learned from the best before opening his own fine dining restaurant in highly-competitive central London. He was getting ready to open another restaurant when the space in Palanga became available and his plans changed. Karolina’s father is the owner of Vila Komoda - the couple lease the premises from him, inviting in everyone who is looking for quality, warmth and tranquillity. Vila Komoda was built in the second half of the 19th century and was the family home of the Tiškevičiai, a noble family. And the family air still lingers in this place to this today.
BRIEF MENU DESCRIPTION. The restaurant offers an à la carte and degustation menu. Both are refined and brief. About 90% of the chef’s experiments never reach the tables. Needless to say, Martynas is very demanding of himself.
The 6-course degustation dinner begins with a simple question of what people cannot tolerate - and then each dish of the menu is explained during the course of the dinner. The restaurant also has a separate secret menu for those looking for an extreme experience – it is more experimental and only offered from the Autumn. Of course, it is always possible to order one or more of the à la carte dishes, which change four times a year.
One feature that all the dishes at Vila Komoda share is their magical aromas. In fact, Martynas is crazy about aromas. For a more intense gastronomic adventure, guests may be offered a separate olfactory experience of certain ingredients or blends created by the chef: “Aroma is very important to me. I’m interested in natural aromas and human smell. The ultimate dream is to create a perfume,” Martynas says.
It is interesting to note that Martynas hardly uses any seasoning, just salt. He, however, wants to test as many techniques as possible. When creating a menu, he feels as if he is in a laboratory. Martynas loves to analyse each product and its possibilities separately. And he finds it interesting to achieve as many textures as possible. This search generates a unique Vila Komoda flavour.
CULINARY HITS. Chicken liver pate, grapefruit gel, home-made rye bread (a 100-year-old recipe) – EUR 9.
CHEF. Gastronomically, Chef Martynas Meidus spent ten years putting Lithuania on the map during this time in London. He became famous after opening his restaurant, INK, which was the first Nordic cuisine fine dining restaurant in London.
Martynas spent the two years before that creating and improvising at his first restaurant, The Dock Seafood Restaurant. He is one of two Lithuanian chefs to have made it onto the 300 best chefs list at The Best Chef Awards.
It is hard to believe that he is a self-taught chef who learned the basics not from any star, but from his first kitchen manager and mentor, Alan Jones.
His intensive career in London brought him joy and adventure, but also huge fatigue. When the love of his life, Karolina, arrived on the scene, they decided to look for a project that would bring them closer together both professionally and in their everyday life. After one year of preparation, their family restaurant Vila Komoda opened in Palanga.