Ljubljana, 1. 6. 2017 – Gornji trg, one of the oldest inhabited parts of medieval Ljubljana, has recently been swamped with new great places to eat and drink in the city – just remember Alexander who opened a coffee shop Črno zrno in February this year. Next door, more specifically at Gornji trg 15, a new bistro called Biro (formerly the location of cafe Kolaž) by Robert Henigman opened its doors. We peeked into Robert’s bi(st)ro, which brought a fresh brunch & lunch & drinks foodie breeze to the area, to learn more firsthand and found that Biro is actually a summary of Robi’s exciting cosmopolitan life.
Where does the name Biro comes from, is it associated with something?
My friend, who is a regular of my first bar in Gallus riverside TOZD, thought of the name. He derived it from my name, Robi – Biro, but the name could also represent architectural, working bureaus … The word biro (bureau) is otherwise named after László József Bíró (1899-1985), inventor of Hungarian Jewish descent, who patented the ballpoint pen.
What is the culinary offer in Biro, where do you get the inspiration for the dishes?
The philosophy is that I lay on a platter what I love myself and is representing all the countries where I have traveled and lived. The food would so be described as fusion, blending Middle East, Israel, Australia and of course some of traditional Slovenian food. Dishes are simple, homely, comfort, just like I make them myself but on a higher level. In Australia, where I spent a couple of years, I really experienced cuisine in a completely different way: it is not only for cooking and serving, but you have to excite in people something more than just their appetite. Therefore I give a great emphasis to details, everything has its own note, everything is made thoughtfully.
What are some signature dishes of Biro and some you are particularly proud of?
It is difficult to highlight just a few because we were preparing and choosing the menu to enrich Ljubljana restaurant scene for two months with the main cook Maja Plestenjak so they’re really all carefully prepared, combined and each with its own story. We offer daily vegan soup, homemade sandwiches, fried & scrambled eggs, banana bread, jams, meat as well as vegetarian and vegan shakshukas, salad with salmon and much more. We make really good ricotta gnocchi, sea bass, rib eye steak … For dessert I recommend home chocolate cake with red beet, rhubarb pie and homemade šmorn (Kaiser schmarn) – a true Ljubljana foodie experience.
Where did your ideas for the interior design and architecture come from?
I’m interested not just in the cuisine, although I am a trained chef, but mainly design and architecture – which I also studied in Ljubljana. My new business is bringing together a number of things I enjoy so Biro guests take pleasure not only on the plate but also in the atmosphere. I am 41 years old and I have an abundance of experience because I have been working since I was 14, not only in the hospitality industry, and this has given me a lot of perspective and ideas for new projects. Because I put great emphasis on interior design, I took care of that with passion by myself but also with help of architect Petra Župančič. Aprons are designed by Petja Zorec, serving plates and bowls are handmade by Hana Karim.
What is the leading idea of your bistro?
Make as much we can by ourselves, in-house: we bake our own sourdough bread, ferment yogurt, produce homemade cakes and jams … We put a lot of emphasis on the quality of food and atmosphere. For me it is very important that employees create with passion so we can have a culinary team that transfers that also onto our guests.