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Hiša Franko from Kobarid among the world's top 50 restaurants

Inspiring Slovenian cuisine – inventive and elegant

Slovenian restaurant Hiša Franko from Kobarid has made it among the world's top 50 restaurants on a list compiled by British trade magazine Restaurant, taking the 48th place.

Standing above the picturesque Soča river, Hiša Franko is headed by Ana Roš, who was declared the best woman chef by the Restaurant magazine last year.
The Franko House it has been a roadside inn, a coachmen’s lodge, a village watermill, a large stable, an important hospital during World War I and a farmstead, and today it is the Franko House, which is neither a hotel nor a classical restaurant. It is a hospitable country house, in which three generations live side by side.

The Soča valley is a paradise destination: turquoise wild waters , green natural pools of a warm Nadiža river , almost tropical forests and flowering pastures. Endless peace and quiet.

Together they clearly create works of art

Hiša Franko is a family restaurant, and while Ana is a culinary virtuoso, her husband enchants their guests with wine. Together they clearly create works of art. “The greatest chance of a dish becoming something outstanding is when its own flavours reflect its origin in the land, and that land’s tradition, season, people and folklore,” she says with conviction. The team at Hiša Franko realise that people first eat with their eyes, then they smell food, and only after this do they taste it.

“We do truly devote ourselves to each dish. Including its presentation, and not just its great taste. We have an advantage in our beautiful natural surroundings and traditional environment, with a hint of folklore. I am also of course inspired by the culinary tradition. My grandmothers were not from the Soča river area, but the river valley and its tradition are probably the primary treasure trove from which I draw knowledge, stories and basic recipes.”

She describes the family restaurant thus: “Hiša Franko is a country house, and it has that kind of energy, which is increasingly a draw. This, too, makes us special.” She has also started thinking about Slovenian food design. “This story is still in its infancy. I’m collaborating with the Ljubljana Fine Art Academy. Some good ideas are emerging. But we are all struggling with a lack of time. I myself am currently on tour a lot. In February I came back from England, and then immediately travelled to Russia. Because of these tours, Hiša Franko was closed until the end of March.”

Haute couture of Slovenian cuisine

Ana’s table is not limited to the classic Slovenian ingredients and dishes. Instead it is a presentation of Slovenia as a country that is sufficiently diverse and multi-coloured, sufficiently inspiring, healthy and alive, to keep reshaping what is traditional into ever new and different forms. On her plates you can find combinations of oxtail and elderflower, Kobarid potatoes and carrots from Livek, cabbage and whey and hazelnut, or ice cream of dark grapes and dehydrated spinach.

In a reflection on her relationship with nature, Ana Roš notes: “In my dishes you can feel the Love for the raw ingredients, Love for stuffed pasta, Respect for the environment, and also for the season. As for desserts, we start from scratch again: the same ingredients and still a play of sweet and savoury.”

Text by Tanja Glogovčan
Source: Sinfo
Photo: Hiša Franko Archives