Bistro Comercial has been on my radar for quite some time, yet I put of visiting till the smoking ban went into effect. The place is lovely and modern as most places are on Ivan Shishman Street. I didn’t take any photos of the interior, but check out Meanwhile on the 7th floor’s post, which features some great shots. The restaurant itself was a disappointment, but it wasn’t a straight pan for the food… this time the service was abysmal.
We were a party of three, Zvezda from Multi-Kulti Kitchen, Ludmila, Editor of BBC GoodFood and myself for lunch. We ended up sitting upstairs in the loft area, which, while the decor is pleasant, it is quite dim. We started with drinks while waiting for the last dining companion to arrive. We ordered Elderflower syrup as a beverage, which I will always order if it is on the menu, but it took 10 minutes to arrive… The place was not that crowded. When were were all together, we placed our orders. I was the only one that got a starter.
The salad was arugula greens with sun dried tomates, olives, red onion, dressing and parmesan cheese. It was decidedly average. The quality of the ingredient selection was ehhh. What really rubbed me was the “parmesan” cheese, it was not a real Parmesan Reggiano, which is harder because it is aged longer and as a result has a stronger flavor. Lable the cheese honestly, if it is a Grans Padano or Peccorino Romano… say so, I would rather a smaller amount of good cheese then heaps of inferior cheese.
The one good point the waitress did tell us that their fresh pasta comes from a shop I have visited and wrote about before La Fontane. You can also buy freshly made mozzarella there too! The pasta dish was not what was expected or described in the menu. It was more like a macaroni and cheese with meatballs and a hit of curry flavor… More weeknight family dinner than posh lunch in the capital.
My other friend ordered the beef liver with fennel. The offal was cooked well and my friend liked it, but the disappointment was the combination of flavors; the heaviness of the liver and soy sauce flavor completely over powered the delicateness of the fennel. The subtle anise flavor was lost. The texture of the rice also didn’t do much for the overall dish, which given the end of summer warm weather this dish needs a revamp.
I ordered a “risotto”, which pointed out by Ludmila, is used just as a marketing tool in restaurants to make rice sound more appealing. The dish was a dressed up rice pilaf with “parmesan”… it was disappointing, but salt makes everything taste better.
The food, while not really up to snuff wasn’t astronomically prices, so in some ways I don’t care if it wasn’t fantastic… what really, really pissed me off was that this couple came in about 30 minutes our party did and they must have been VIP’s because their food came out 15 minutes before ours and the dishes were proper entrees… I am not sure who they were, but the guy was old and the woman was young, thin and wore a blank expression on her face, so I can assume many things… regardless of my surmise, I was seething watching our server ensure they had a pleasant experience. Our lunch was close to an hour and a half… we almost walked out. Ludmila and Zvezda had to get back to work. When our food did come, we ate it fast, which is never good. We asked for the check as soon as our mains hit the table and it still took ridiculously long to arrive.
Bottom line, when I leave a restaurant and the best compliment I can give was that their Elderflower syrup was tasty that is not a good sign. It is like seeing a friends baby for the first time and complimenting the blanket. I would return to Bistro Comercial, if someone else was paying and I couldn’t manage to convince them to go somewhere else.
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Mon. – Sun. 11:30 am – 11:30 pm
Phone 089 793 1291