Ahora restaurant in Sofia – a Master Chef experience with a deep soul

Тази статия може да я прочетете и на: bgБългарски

Autumn in dishes in the restaurant of chef Sevda Dimitrova – restaurant Ahora,

When you cannot recognize what is in your dish, this is not necessarily a bad sign. It is the same like with wine – if you cannot guess all the tastes and aromas and only feel the perfect harmony, this is great. After all, we are not there to look for peppers, tomatoes or fruits in wine, but just to enjoy it. And even if you think that with it is easier to distinguish all the components because of the different colours, shapes and textures, it might not be unusual to mistake a frog leg for a shrimp. 

Food is whole amazing universe and this is why we love restaurants and culinary events so much. We keep saying that food is not only to fill your stomach. It gives you culture and life experience and it is not only food for the body but also food for the soul when it is prepared professionally and with love. 

We are not always that emotional when it comes to food, but this time we are telling a story of a very exciting place – restaurant Ahora in Sofia. It is created and owned by the winner of the Bulgarian edition of TV show MasterChef 2016 – chef Sevda Dimitrova. This time Sevda was not only showing her amazing culinary skills on the TV but challenged us to taste it and discover it on an event called Round Table.

Blind dinner

We felt really weird when we learned that we need to put face masks and actually eat blind. It could become a really embarrassing experience. However, we were a group of 10 people and the thought that we would not be the only ones embarrassed made us feel slightly better. 

The first part of Sevda’s challenge included a blind tasting of several dishes from her menu. We somehow managed to find the spoons and eat their contents but the challenge was just starting. Each one of us was served a different dish so we could not use any hints.

We had to guess what is the dish we tasted. No one of the 10 people on the table could recognize their dish. All of us mistook the frog legs for shrimps and the duck fillet for pork. We proved really weak tasters but everyone was happy because everything tasted was extremely delicious. 

We are not actually good critics. We could never say that we did not like something. If we cannot understand it or accept it from the first time, we try again and try to discover its true meaning. Finally, if we really cannot understand it, we would rather say that it is a matter of personal taste. In our team, Maria has better senses than Andrey (and Andrey admits it).

The autumn fantasies of Chef Sevda Dimitrova

Luckily, the blind tasting was only for the first part of the dinner. The bigger surprise was the new autumn menu of the restaurant which we were allowed to enjoy with our full set of senses. The menu will be offered from October and we were thrilled to be among the first ones to taste it. However, here is the time to apologize to Sevda that we could not remember the full names of the dishes. They were so long and complicated. But maybe this have been done on purpose, in order to keep the surprise element for the future guests. 

The menu is so new that even the waiters had some difficulties presenting it
The menu is so new that even the waiters had some difficulties presenting it

Number one – red beet tartar with autumn leaves chips and fluffy cream

It was very interesting to learn that the leaves of some trees are edible and they were present in the dish. To be correct, the whole name of the dish was beet tartar with horseradish and hazelnuts, potato espuma with goat cheese and autumn leaves chips. However, if we did not know this description, we would never guess what exactly was in the dish. Only the horseradish was noticed by Maria because she actually does not like this taste. However, Andrey ate beetroot which means that it was really delicious.

Autumn in a dish in restaurant Ahora - one of the most amazing restaurants in Sofia
Autumn in a dish in restaurant Ahora – one of the most amazing restaurants in Sofia

Number two – Foie Gras with Re’My Martin Fine Champagne Cognac 

The sweet tastes were dominant in this dish but we love such combinations and enjoyed it fully. Apricot jam, salty caramel ice cream and sweet bread accompanied the foie gras. 

Foie gras with apricot jam, salty caramel ice cream and sweet bread - restaurant Ahora Sofia
Number two – Foie Gras with Re’My Martin Fine Champagne Cognac

Number three – Ah, the sea…

We are great seafood lovers and we really enjoyed this dish. However, if they had not told us its full name, we would barely recognize any of the components. It included sea bream fillet with potato cannelloni, beans and parsley foam The sea bream was so interestingly cooked that we could not distinguish its original taste. 

Sea bream fillet with potato cannelloni, beans and parsley foam
Sea bream fillet with potato cannelloni, beans and parsley foam

Number four – pork neck steak with plums and sweet potato puree

However, this was everything but the usual pork steak. If you imagine a barbeque when you hear of a pork steak, look at these pictures and think again. This is what we meant in the beginning when we said that sometimes it is difficult to recognize what is in your dish. It was a pork neck steak, glazed with chicken reduction, with sweet potato puree, plums marinated in Earl Grey tea, sauce with bacon..

Pork neck steak with plums and sweet potato puree
Pork neck steak with plums and sweet potato puree

Here comes a very sad moment from our amazing experience. The food was apparently too much for any of us and we could not finish our dishes. And the dessert was yet to come. It was a pity to leave half-full dishes because we knew how much effort was put into them. Earlier Sevda explained that the pork neck have been prepared for a few days before being served. First it was thoroughly cleaned, then put into salt water for a while and then cooked for 24 hours at low temperature. Not to mention the preparations of the sauce and side dish. So when you plan your visit to Ahora restaurant, make sure you are hungry enough, especially if you are planning several course meal. 

Chocolate cake with yoghurt powder, salty caramel ice cream, sour cherry jam and some other things
Chocolate cake with yoghurt powder, salty caramel ice cream, sour cherry jam and some other things

Dessert: chocolate trilogy

The trilogy included chocolate cake in espresso with yoghurt powder, dark chocolate foundant, ganache with Baileys, Oreo cookie, forest fruit towers and salty caramel ice cream.

It was even sadder to watch how this amazing dessert was not eaten all, too. However, next time we promise to eat it to the last bite, especially if we have it with our afternoon coffee. 

The dessert again - restaurant Ahora in Sofia
The dessert again – restaurant Ahora in Sofia

Restaurant Ahora – enjoy life NOW

Food is not the only special and interesting thing in Ahora restaurant. The atmosphere is really cozy, comfortable and still fine. The waiters are always smiling, know the menu to the last ingredient and are always ready to answer any question. Chef Sevda Dimitrova herself can also be seen in the salon from time to time and you could always ask the waiter to bring her if you want to ask her something personally. 

Restaurant Ahora in Sofia, Bulgaria
Restaurant Ahora in Sofia, Bulgaria

Despite being really busy, she was happy to come and speak to our group and tell us more about the philosophy of her restaurant and her meals. First thing we learned is that she is a very emotional person and she throws all her imagination and emotions into her meals. She told us that the menu of the restaurant contains only seasonal products and sometimes some components from the dishes can be replaced if there are no available quality original products. Of course you can forget about cucumbers and tomato salad in the winter, but we advise you to trust Sevda’s choice. She really know what she is doing. 

За гостите ресторант Ahora е място за емоции и моменти, които споделяме тук и сега. Наслаждаваме се на момента и на малките и големите радости, които животът ни предлага.

Why restaurant Ahora, anyway?

Sevda and her husband have lived for a long time in Spain before moving back to Bulgaria. In Spanish Ahora means Now. When she won the MasterChef 2016 competition, she and her husband wondered whether to stay in their hometown Burgas or to chase the dream of running a restaurant and move to Sofia. Finally, they said “let’s do it NOW” and here is how the name of the restaurant came. 

For its guests Ahora restaurant is a place for emotions and moments we share here and now. We enjoy the moment, the small and big joys in life.

Where to find Ahora restaurant?

Ahora restaurant is located in the Lozenets district, on bul. Nikola Vaptsarov 25A, in the periphery of the city centre. You can book your table by phone or email and also organize a gathering with friends or a family party. Chef Sevda Dimitrova is there every single day and almost lives in the restaurant. 

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