Restaurant "Linguriţa de Argint" placed in Chisinau, on Telecenter has a lacto-ovo-vegetarian specific character, and its menu offers customers healthy dishes made from carefully selected natural ingredients. The restaurant is smoke free and it is perfect for dinner with friends or family. Here, we felt very comfortable and decided to interview the owner of the restaurant, Anna Bacalova.
Tell us about Your restaurant. How did you get this idea and what is the specialty of Your menu?
When I decided to open a cafe, I thought of such a place, which I would be able to visit with my children. I wanted to create a specific place for the family, where you can relax and have a lunch at affordable prices. In our restaurant smoking is strictly prohibited and the use of alcohol is moderated. Due to high demand, we have started to prepare a variety of lunch dishes. The menu is prepared for two weeks ahead and it changes every season. We do not use exotic fruits, and offer only fruits that grow in our country. Periodically, in our restaurant we serve dishes from Indian, French and African cuisine. Our specificity is the first meal we are proud of, and every day we are preparing two types of soups, one with meat and one vegetarian. Within two weeks, we prepare about thirty broths and soups.
What dishes do You cook from various foreign kitchens?
During the days of Indian culture, we have prepared meals, specific for Indian cuisine, such as candies, nuts, dry milk and fruits, as well as chickpea beans dessert or rice cooked in different ways. Every time I want to include something foreign to our menu, I study the gastronomy of this country, the recipe can not always get accurate, but we are trying to adapt the dish to the products that can be found in our country.
What do you think about a Romanian/ Moldovan cuisine? Does Your restaurant prepare anything from typical local cuisine?
When you say the national cuisine, I understand traditional dishes baked by our moms at home. Our basis represents the culinary traditions inherited from our ancestors. We are preparing a variety of porridge made from millet, barley, lentils with tomato sauce, dishes that have existed since ancient times, when there was no mamaliga. In autumn, when the pumpkin season starts, we are preparing pumpkin soups, baked pumpkin, pumpkins with vegetables, vegetable pumpkin pie. We also produce salty canned products for the winter, because customers prefer them more than fresh salads.
What are the main issues on which You focus while working with clients?
Healthy food. Reasonable prices. We deliver meals to offices. We also offer catering services for various events, fairs, exhibitions and conferences. We try to adapt to the taste and needs of customers, some prefer warm food, others - cold, while others prefer vegetarian food. Between me and the clients there is a direct connection, some of them are our permanent clients for the past 5-6 years and have learned to eat various and balanced meals to get the full range of vitamins and minerals a human body need.
Which domestic products do You use in Your menu?
Local ingredients make up about 99% of our menu. All the products are fresh, natural, not frozen. We buy from importers only hemp seeds and oil that we use in mashed potatoes and salads.
With what local companies/ manufacturers do You cooperate most often?
We cooperate a lot with Goris Tomatoes, a company that is growing eco vegetables and herbs. On the dishes made from these products, we are writing Eco and our customers know that vegetables and herbs originate from the Goris company. Recently we began working with producers of germs (vegetable sprouts) and offshoots. I buy the offsprings (germs) of alfalfa, buckwheat, onions, radishes, wheat germs and sunflower seeds. We add these germs to our salads and our customers are quite satisfied. As for the rest, we buy products on the agricultural markets, where there is wide a choice of quality products.
How would you describe the cooperation with local producers?
I am very pleased. Maybe I am lucky, but the people with whom I work with always deliver high quality products, on time and on the best price-quality ratio. Our producers grow and produce all that we need.
What are the challenges Your business is facing at the moment in Moldova?
The situation is quite complicated because there are many taxes. Utility bills are high. Half of the income is spent on rent and maintenance. We do not want to raise prices, because we may lose our customers who we appreciate and love!