We often build places up (or in my case, tear them down) in our heads long before we end up there – and this gravely influences the way we perceive them. When upset or just feeling bitchy, we tend to notice all the cracks and the sloppy service – and vice versa when we’re in a good mood. A good critic is aware of those biases and attempts to shut them out.
Shutting out biases about my hometown is not as easy as I would like to think.
Camera: Nikkon D40, 50mm Lens
One of the stranger phenomenons in restaurants in Cluj-Napoca is that often they don’t quite stick to a cuisine, they just serve “food”. Chinese, Japanese, and various exotic-type restaurants do attempt that, but otherwise you find a mix and match of various European dishes.
It pains me to ever have a “European” food section – the same way it’s nonsense to have an “Asian” restaurant section – but sometimes you just have to give up and go with the flow.
Expectations need to be curtailed – the service was pleasant (especially by Eastern European standards), and nobody kicked us out despite being a big, loud group that probably scared away many other clients with our incessant indecency.
They even have a lot of nice alcoholic drinks – such as Hugo (basically a spritzer with Elderflower) and, I’m told, the beer with syrup isn’t disgusting. The food is edible, I agree, and surprising. In eternal Romanian fashion, menu’s are meant to be more… suggestive rather than definite. Chicken with truffle? Sure, here’s some chicken. And mushroom sauce. Truffles are mushrooms, right? So, basically same thing really.
The desserts try their best to be edible as well, some more than others. The Plumb Crumble is nice – but avoid the apple pie or whatever that tried to be.