The Restaurant with the Divine Cellar
Varna is generally recognized as the Sea Capital of Bulgaria.
There are obvious signs, however, that the city has all the necessary preconditions for becoming a Culinary Capital as well. Not just one or two wonderful places are worth dropping in for either a quick meal or a more delighting gastronomic experience.
Even in this colorful diversity of enticing culinary alternatives some proposals clearly stand out for the true connoisseurs of comfort, delicious food and good wine. One of these magnetic proposals in Varna is definitely the young but already very famous restaurant with wine cellar Di Wine.
The name of the restaurant interweaves two words that excellently combine with each other – “divine” and “wine”.
Certainly, the tease in the name is intentional and naturally draws attention to one of the greatest values of the restaurant – the unique cellar with about 700 different wine labels from all recognized wine regions in the world as well as from some of the best winemakers and proven quality vintages.
Located in the heart of the beautiful seaside city the restaurant impresses with an elegant frontage in Baroque-style owing entirely to the virtues of the building where it is housed. Built in 1899, this piece of art is part of the exceptional architectural heritage left by Nikolay Lazarov who is one of the most significant architects in the entire post-Liberation history of Bulgaria. Architect Lazarov is author or co-author of a number of emblematic public buildings among which the Central Military Club in Sofia, the Palace Vrana near Sofia, the Palace Euxinograd near Varna, etc. He made also a few impressive residential buildings one of which is namely the house on ‘Bratya Schkorpil’ Str.,2, in Varna.
This house was built for the pharmacist Mr. Radi Russev and had been used mainly for a private health station.
In the Socialist times the building continued serving as a medical entity but in the Transition period was left abandoned due to lack of money for its maintenance.
“When I bought the house in 2004 it was in complete ruin. It took me three years to obtain all the necessary permits for commencing the reconstructions and quite the same time for doing the actual construction works”, tells the story the owner of Di Wine Mr. Krassimir Kanev. He’s got a solid track record in the business with restaurants and a good flair for promising concepts, as well as a big passion for good wine.
“In Di Wine I tried to make something that combines classy cookery with elegant service and perfect match with good wine, while also giving the client a pleasant feeling of comfort. Perhaps at first glance the restaurant is a bit startling with impression of luxury but our prices are far from “luxurious” especially for the true connoisseurs of good food and quality wine”, adds Kanev.
In proof of that comes the menu pricelist of the restaurant, and most importantly the prices in the wine-list. “The mark-ups we put on wine reach up to 100%. For the expensive wines we can’t afford putting more than 30%. Of course, we have prices as much as 4 000 Leva (approx. 2 045 Euro) per bottle but these are exceptional wines with high value which is impossible to find anywhere else in Bulgaria”, asserts Krassimir Kanev.
The cellar of Di Wine has in possession some real treasures – rare fine wines, including an entire private collection that belonged to the former communist leader Todor Zhivkov.
The restaurant offers also its own wine under the same brand which is made in Logodaj Winery (in the Struma Valley region, South-Western Bulgaria).
The team that makes things happen in the right way is a true champion squad, and that’s yet another of the distinctive features of Di Wine. The manager Mr. Lyubomir Stoyanov is a famous person in the field with encyclopedic knowledge about wine. .
Stoyanov is the winner of the contest ‘Best Sommelier of Bulgaria’ in 2007 and has also won three times the award ‘Restaurant of the Year’ of the Bulgarian Bacchus Magazine with other restaurants in Varna which he previously managed. The chef of Di Wine is another prizewinner – Mr. Peter Yorgov, awarded as the ‘Chef of Bulgaria’ in 2009. The stellar company in the kitchen is complemented by the charming Ms. Eleonora Damyanova who is the winner of the contest ‘Confectioner of Bulgaria’ in 2010.
“I have worked with Austrians for a number of years and I learned from them a very important principle in the business. It says that even if you have conquered some peak you can never afford to stop and rest for long. Every high achievement must be continuously reconfirmed and built upon”, shares his creed Lyubomir Stoyanov.
The excellent composition of the team in Di Wine is his great pride and he doesn’t miss the chance to put the emphasis on that: “The service in the dining halls is quick and our people are always ready to fulfill each client’s caprice with a smile on their faces. The communication with the kitchen is perfect and that’s the way we achieve the desired end result”.
Lyubomir Stoyanov and chef Peter Yorgov are known for their special attitude to the quality products of local origin. “Here you can find unique products from small and unfamiliar to the wider audience producers. Such is the naturally aged for six months yellow cheese from a small dairy farm in the Rhodopes mountains, the goat cheese from a household farm near Varna, the famous Elena dry pork leg from the very town of Elena, and the unique green cheese from the village of Cherni Vit”, excitedly explains Lyubomir Stoyanov and adds that he follows the same approach in the selection of new wines for the cellar of the restaurant: “We have concentrated on the small and boutique wineries, even producers who make just one barrel of wine per year but of exceptional quality”.
The cookery in Di Wine is absolutely original but doesn’t fit in the definition for ‘gourmet’.
It is rather a remarkable result of a master culinary performance based upon quality foodstuffs.
“Our chef has affinity to traditional Bulgarian products and loves to experiment with them.
I personally believe that the future belongs to the creation of good culinary specialties with authentic Bulgarian foodstuffs”, says Stoyanov.
Not surprisingly Di Wine already enjoys a solid group of loyal fans. One of the most prestigious appraisals, however, it obtained from the popular international travel website TripAdvisor.com – a Certificate of Excellence – in both 2012 and 2013. Under the rules of the website such an award is given to those hotels and restaurants which rank in the top 10% worldwide in terms of positive feedback from the visitors.
“This is certainly the greatest acknowledgement for us and something that gives us good reasons to continue to improve”, says the owner Krassimir Kanev. His plans for the future include some enlargement of the restaurant with additional dining halls on the second floor of the emblematic building on ‘Bratya Schkorpil’ Str.,2, as well as the opening of a new restaurant with the same concept as Di Wine.
Looking at the achievements so far, the skills and ambitions of the team, we can cast no doubt on the expectation that new peaks will certainly be conquered and it all be well-deserved.
© 2013 "VinoZona"