M. Covacci, an Italian chef who has been living in Lithuania for 3 years, says that in his home country, it is not the luxurious atmosphere that creates a festive dinner but the quality of the food – fresh ingredients, well-balanced flavours and the right choice of spices. „Italians enjoy lively conversation and delicious food, which doesn't require luxury. It's all about quality. It has to be seasonal, and only fresh ingredients should be used,“ says Covacci, and these are the same rules that guided the chef in creating the menu at his new Italian bistro, The Date.
The cosy bistro will allow guests to experience both the Italian atmosphere and the traditional flavours of the country. Small, authentic, cosy, aesthetic and non-committal – a few words that perfectly describe the concept of The Date. However, there is one detail that the bistro owners would like to change. „What I want most of all is that there should be no more 'newness' in the interior of The Date. I want the furniture to tell a story, I want to wipe all the newness off the guests and a bunch of scratches, and then it will be even warmer, not for the body, but for the heart,“ says Justa Gėgžnaitė, the owner of The Date bistro.
Although the economic environment is ungrateful, with most catering establishments closing their doors and entrepreneurs becoming increasingly fearful of developing new business ideas, the owner of The Date is convinced that it is never a good time to open a restaurant. „The most important thing is to believe in your idea, and we did, and when times are better, times are better for others, and there are fewer competitors,“ laughs the bistro's founder.
The menu is inspired by the Italian style of the 50s and 60s
According to Italian chef Matteo Covacci, the atmosphere at The Date is inspired by the Italian style of the 50s and 60s. „This is reflected in the flavours I create and in the interior. It reminds me very much of my native Italy. For Italians, food is not only about well-matched flavours but also about the quality of the products. It has to be seasonal, and only fresh ingredients are used,“ says the chef.
The menu is small but high quality. Mr Covacci has a strong connection to his homeland, which is why his Italian roots are evident in every dish. „Covacci, who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, recommends that guests try the Vitello tonnato and the Gnocchi, which are handmade in the bistro, and that they end their gastronomic journey to Italy with an Italian dessert.
According to Mr Covacci, the surroundings create the Italian atmosphere. „Sometimes the weather is depressing, but when you go to a bistro, the atmosphere is completely different. So why do people go to Italy? Probably for the Italian emotion“, says the Italian.