Le Bistro – how Gordon Ramsey got me to try Ana Grgic’s new menu


I got a phone call from Gordon Ramsey: “What’s up Dear Leader? Haven’t talked to you in forever. I have a big problem.” Me: “Do I look like the unhappy chef clinic? You have  interrupted me in watching porn. This better be something important or only Michelin you will see will be my car tires rolling over your dead body!” Gordon: “I don’t have any inspiration left. I have no idea what to cook. I have heard that Ana Grgic rocks with her menus at Esplanada. She has yet another new menu at Le Bistro. Hop over there, will you, and taste it for me. Make sure to send photos as well. I will pay you as much as you want.” Me: “Hmm…last time I gave a receipt to Anthony Bourdain and he ended up killing himself. Are you sure you want to do business with me Ramso? I do not want you on my conscious too.” Gordon: “Don’t you worry. Just do as I say. Invite a girl too. I’m paying for everything! I will only end my life if you don’t go there.”

I did not want another great chef ending his life because of me. I am a good man. I have been thinking who to invite to Le Bistro with me. Everyone keeps calling me a SNOB and nagging how I only hang out with posh crew from the centre, tycoons, masons… The other day I got a text from Ms Doris saying: “My Miriam is such a lovely gal, but you never invite her out just because she works at the local shop! Drop dead!”

I replied: “Dear lady, there is room only for one cashier lady in my heart and that is dear Brunhilda from my local shop and I would not even invite her to dinner, but I promise to you that this time I will invite a girl who lives in a part of the city I have never been to.” I also politely added: “You can drop dead as well, dear lady, and damn you on Christmas 2018!”

Since I grew up in dodgy Dubrava (Croatian Bronx), I knew that the only place more dodgy could be Kozari Bok or Jelkovec neighbourhoods (Bronx looks like Beverly Hills for Kozari Bok and Jelkovec). I was afraid of inviting some gypsy with me because people at Le Bistro could become lighter for a few silver pieces so I decided to invite lovely Tara who somehow lives in shitty Jelkovec to join me for lunch. I am expecting an attack from the PC police in 3, 2, 1…

Tara is interesting, witty, good looking, likes to eat and drink properly and does not steal silver. Perfect choice!

Le Bistro – Esplanade – Tara Bosnic; Photo: Dear Leader Joe, Flash.hr

We had champagne and nibbled on cow cheese breadsticks while we waited for chef Ana’s first course. Actually, I nibbled. You can decide what Tara did yourself.

Le Bistro – Esplanade – Tara Bosnic; Photo: Dear Leader Joe, Flash.hr

I have decided to have veal carpaccio and Tara ordered trout Rillette. I forwarded some photos to Gordon on WhatsApp immediately. Ramso said: “But Rillette is usually made with pork…What the fuck did she put on this trout?! Please tell me it tastes like shit.” I said to him, in my professional gastro words: “Actually Ramso, this is really fucking good!”

Le Bistro – Esplanade – Beef carpaccio, dry coriander, sweet and sour mustard, baked crusting with dark beer, rucola.; Photo: Dear Leader Joe, flash.hr
Le Bistro – Esplanade – Smoked trout rillette, almonds, avocado and lime zest.; Photo: Dear Leader Joe, Flash.hr

I chose phenomenal black pig cheeks as my main course (just so no one thinks I am a racist) and Tara chose a fish menu once again: John Dory fish poached in olive oil cream on a purple sweet potato foam. She asked me straight away: “What are these branches doing on my plate?” I replied: “Those are not branches, it is sweet potato. It is eatable, don’t worry.”

Le Bistro – Esplanade – John Dory poached in olive oil cream, purple sweet potato foam, fennel.; Photo: Dear Leader Joe, flash.hr
Le Bistro – Esplanade – Black pig cheeks, white polenta foam, boletus ragout.;  Photo: Dear Leader Joe, Flash.hr

After seeing these photos, Gordon texted me: “May my chicken be raw if I don’t steal this menu from Ana and sell it as mine.”

Tara and I enjoyed the food and conversation. We drank Krauthaker Merlot and after half a bottle , she admitted: “You know, I must admit you remind me of a gigolo.” Me: “Is that an insult or a compliment? I will take it as a compliment but I do wonder why you would say that, Tara?” She: “First of all, you still have all of your teeth and you are clean. You don’t really work anywhere, but you eat at fancy restaurants.” In that moment, I remembered that the poor soul lives in shitty Jelkovec. I replied: “Thank you for these lovely words. Now the shit hole gigolo suggests we order some cake.”

Le Bistro – Esplanade – Warm chocolate cake with strawberries, mint and vanilla cream.; Photo: Dear Leadere Joe, flash.hr
Le Bistro – Esplanade – shortcrust pastry with caramelised apples, cottage cheese and lime cream, caramel sauce.; Photo: Dear Leader Joe, Flash.hr

I am very traditional when it comes to apples. I only accept traditional apple pie or strudel, but I ordered this cake just to show off my experimental side. Warm chocolate cake with strawberries was devoured by Tara like she was an Anaconda. I managed to steal a bite once she went to the terrace to smoke a cigarette. I called Gordon and said to him: “The chocolate cake is top. Ana killed it with the new menu. I shall try to steal the recipes and you sign your name beneath. We share the profits half-half.”

Tara said to me that we had to take a photo together because otherwise no one in her shit hole neighbourhood will believe that she was in the noble company of a pureblood gigolo.

Photo: Flash.hr

These days we were sadly left without one of a kind Oliver Dragojevic so I had to play something for him as a tribute. RIP.

While I pretended to be the village Pogorelich, Tara used the moment to steal a bike from the lobby.

Le Bistro – Esplanade – Tara Bosnic; Photo: Dear Leader Joe, Flash.hr

I went crazy and she said: “You said I must not steal silver. You didn’t say anything about bikes.”  so I said to her: “Why would you steal something without an engine, you fucking amateur.” Old Latins would say: “Omnia mea mecum porto” or translated – if I can’t steal any silver, I am at least taking the bike.

LE BISTRO – Esplanade


T. +385 (0)1 4566 611

F. +385 (0)1 4566 050

E. lebistro@esplanade.hr

Author: Josip Novosel, renown Gastro Snob, self proclaimed Dear Leader, the last Shit Hole Gigolo, a corresponding member of the “Fight poverty with wealth” magazine, a tycoon and a snob, but before all a human.