Pâine și Vin is the newest bread and wine bar in Bucharest, a contemporary allegory of the purest Romanian spirit – honest, generous and convivial. The concept is as simple as the name: fresh home-baked bread, artisanal flatbreads, a variety of platters celebrating local products and a great selection of Romanian wines that will enchant your senses as well as warm your heart.
People and places
I’ve been following their Facebook page for a good couple of weeks, before I even knew what Pâine și Vin was. My secret admiration for Irina and Vali since they started the first pop-up dining concept in Bucharest in 2012 enhanced my utter delight to discover what their new project is about. I later found out that more of Bucharest’s driving forces are at the core of Pâine și Vin: the Energiea-Expirat team, Vlad Tausance (with his beautiful words), Antonio Nartea (with his PR talents) and Corvin Cristian (with his sought-after interior design genius). And if you’re still doubtful, the Pâine și Vin team share the common purpose of creating a place that honours locally produced goods, with a focus on the local economy and social responsibility.
Luckily for me, I was in town at the right time and visited Pâine și Vin as quickly as my crazy schedule allowed.
Friendly from the start
My first real interaction with Pâine și Vin started on Facebook, when I asked to book a table last Tuesday for 7pm. The reply landed in my inbox within minutes and was warm and friendly. Despite them not yet having a clear booking system in place, they assured me that I was going to find a table available at my requested time. They told me about their successful soft-opening and the official one, in two weeks from then. Our waitress further emphasised this with excitement, telling us that the place itself is not entirely ready yet. The simplicity of materials used – wood and stone; the traditional Romanian inspired shapes; the warming fresh wood smell from the furniture, braided elegantly with the smell of bread freshly taken out of the stone oven… Neither of these gave me the feeling that the place, in all its simple beauty, was missing anything.
Share. Together. (Împarte. Împreună.)
The slogan, ‘Împarte. Împreună.’ (‘Share. Together.’) is translated throughout the entire dining experience: the cosy lightly coloured wood furniture; the large white bells that take you on a contemporary journey into the authentic Romanian countryside; even the enormous brass sink in the bathroom invites guests to wash their hands together; the menu is all about sharing and bringing experiences and people together. The wine menu consists of a selection of exquisite (yet affordable) Romanian (and Moldovan) wines ordered by region and producer. The food menu successfully celebrates our most fundamental foodstuff: bread. From sourdough to flatbreads and fruit breads, this basic and symbolic item surely stands out as the star of the menu.
Whether you wish to share a slice of crispy, fresh bread with mangalitsa lard, aromatic butter or olives to fight your hunger, discover the beauty of local produce in a scrumptious selection of mixed platters or go on a flatbread journey around the world (which will cover a great selection of perfectly cooked pizza, naans, tortillas, flammkuchen and knekkerbrod), Pâine și Vin will make sure to provide the highest quality dishes.
As that was my last night in Bucharest, before returning to Edinburgh, I decided to try their traditional platter, together with a glass of red Golem by Crama Basilescu. The sound of mangalitsa charcuterie, venison and wild boar sausages, different types of cheese, pickles and other veggies still makes me crave more of it even here, 3000km away. Not only are they all delicious, but the selection of various types of breads turns every bite into an exciting adventure of discovery. Even the pickles, which for me are an absolute hit or miss, are delicious – crunchy, refreshing and with a perfect balance of acidity. If one can have Romania on a platter, this is it!
Little did I know that 30 minutes later my stomach was going to give in from excessive levels of curiosity and I was going to order yet another platter for two. This time I chose the buffalo burrata and mozzarella, both produced in Transylvania. A large and imposing ball of stracciatella and cream filled mozzarella goodness (my first burrata, as a matter of fact) arrived, surrounded by tiny and soft mozzarella pearls that seemed to be playing with the colourful veggies that filled the wooden board. This was yet another delight for my constantly curious stomach.
A feast for all senses
Once my stomach was satisfied, I let other senses savour the dishes that were being prepared on the spot, in the sight of the restaurant’s visitors. Between sips of red Bucureasca Origini, my eyes wandered at the chef’s hands carefully placing every ingredient on the beautiful, fluffy dough before slipping it in the hot stone oven, at all the flatbreads, tortillas and pizzas that arrived, ready and crispy, on the tables around ours. This visual ecstasy was accompanied by luscious flavours that let my olfactory system fully approve of my choice of location for the evening.
Despite it being full every day since last week when it first opened its doors, Pâine și Vin will officially open on the 1st of March (and you should be there!). As for me… next time I’m in Bucharest, Pâine și Vin will be my first stop, and will continue until I will have tried their entire menu.
Until next time,
Love, happyholism and nom-nom,