The renovated Gostilna na gradu: New experience of flavors in season 2024

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Restaurant Gostilna na Gradu, synonymous with excellent cuisine at Ljubljana Castle, proudly presents itself in a new guise amidst the magical castle environment on the green hill in the heart of Ljubljana. As a modern urban inn, it remains faithful to tradition while adhering to culinary, architectural, and technological trends. Supported by an outstanding team led by the Jezeršek family, they collaborate with the best suppliers of local quality ingredients and selected winemakers, ensuring that guests at the renovated restaurant Gostilna na Gradu, boasting the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand recognition, will undoubtedly experience an unforgettable culinary journey.

A comprehensive experience for guest satisfaction

Gostilna na Gradu, successfully managed by the company Jezeršek gostinstvo since 2020 and hosting nearly 30,000 guests last year, plays a crucial role in co-creating the top culinary offer of the city of Ljubljana and in building its narrative as a culinary capital. ‘The renovation of the restaurant will undoubtedly contribute to the greater recognition of Ljubljana as a culinary capital in gastronomic tourism and with Jezeršek’s standards,’ says Martin Jezeršek, director of Jezeršek gostinstvo, emphasizing the importance of excellent cooperation with the Ljubljana Castle Public Institute and the city of Ljubljana. On this occasion, he expresses gratitude to all who participated in the renovation of the Gostilna na Gradu and looks forward to further collaboration and new culinary stories they will co-create. According to Jure Starič, the manager of the Gostilna na Gradu, one of the goals of the renovation is also to increase guest satisfaction, which will be achieved through a comprehensive culinary experience that begins upon entry and lasts until the farewell. ‘Small details and care for guest comfort provide a relaxing experience that is also reflected on the plate,’ he adds.

Culinary and wine delights to indulge the taste buds

Chef Sebastjan Elbl, in collaboration with Ana Šušteršič, the creative head at Jezeršek gostinstvo, has crafted a new spring menu reflecting Elbl’s culinary philosophy, which is based on respecting the natural cycle of ingredients and prioritizing the selection of local produce. The menu, consisting of seasonal delicacies, includes dishes inspired by our grandmothers, and notably features a selection of vegan dishes as well. ‘Among the dishes that express my culinary philosophy is certainly the deer back in harmony with Jerusalem artichoke, where the main ingredient, young deer, is combined with accompanying ingredients from its natural environment, the forest, such as spruce needle powder and spruce tip syrup, emphasizing the connection between the forest and the plate,’ explains Chef Sebastjan Elbl, who enjoys experimenting with new techniques and flavors when creating new dishes.

Adding the finishing touch to the Gostilna na Gradu is a rich wine list, predominantly featuring Slovenian wines, carefully curated to complement the new culinary offerings of the inn. Jure Starič, sommelier and manager of the Inn at the Castle, elaborates: ‘In creating the new wine list, we focused particularly on the pairing of food and wine. When crafting the dishes, we already considered which wines would pair best with them and tested various combinations to select the finest. Ultimately, wine is as good as the company in which it’s enjoyed. Therefore, we also focused on the overall experience we offer to our guests in our restaurant.

Emphasis on functionality and comfort

The modern renovation of the Inn at the Castle, designed by renowned architect and interior designer Tina Rugelj under the watchful eye of castle architect Majda Kregar from Ambient bureau, has brought a long central bar that serves multiple functions and is the main element of the interior of the inn. Special attention was paid to comfort and functionality in the selection of furniture and decoration, allowing for the creation of a pleasant and inviting atmosphere with a touch of medieval character that dictates the interior. The designer drew inspiration from existing elements of the space, such as stone walls and iron interventions, and used black iron for fixed elements, creating a special patina and continuing the story of the space. Tina Rugelj emphasizes: ‘Interior design always involves a blend of function with a desired final appearance and respect for the existing architecture and its merits.’ And she adds: ‘I never opt for interventions that are purely aesthetic, but each decision is backed by a considerable justified and logical reason.’

The interior is also closely intertwined with the new comprehensive graphic identity of the renovated Inn at the Castle, provided by the studio Your&Ours, contributing its part to the overall mosaic.

Innovations in the kitchen for a premium experience

Despite demanding scheduling constraints (only 30 days were available for the renovation), limited space, and challenging logistics, the project to renovate the entire kitchen at the Inn at the Castle was successfully completed. The renovated kitchen at the Inn at the Castle is equipped with the latest technology and modern accessories, providing better working conditions and improved quality in food preparation, thereby contributing to a unique experience for guests. Primož Černigoj, the designer of the technological equipment from the company PROprima, helped ensure that the kitchen spaces are functional and aligned with the architectural concept, also utilizing the latest technology: ‘As an interesting fact, I can mention that with the use of the latest BIM technology (Building Information Modeling) and 3D technology, along with VR goggles, we provided the kitchen staff with a virtual view of their new working environment before the renovation itself.’

The Inn at the Castle, spiced with a touch of renovation, reopened its doors at the beginning of April, ready for new culinary adventures and unforgettable moments in the embrace of the castle environment.