St Ivan Rilski, Preslav and the Sushi

Dec 23, 2011 No Comments by

Bansko sushi cravings continue. And it’s the new sushi bar at the St Ivan Rilski hotel that is the subject of our review. To help me, I brought along my friend, James Hughes.

James is a fully trained chef, and has worked in the hospitality business since leaving school. He is one of the early British expat settlers in Bansko, and owner of Trip Advisor’s best rated hotel in Bansko, the Avalon hotel. A fabulous achievement.

James’s palate for tasting food has been refined over the years and I believe his passion, and appreciation for food, are second to none in Bansko.

St Ivan Rilski

St Ivan Rilski hotel is part of the FPI group. FPI have made the market theirs for quality hotels in Bulgaria. They have five hotels in Sofia, including the Crytal Palace and the Serdica di Arena and the large Santa Marina complex in Sozopol, on the Black sea. It was here I stayed in the summer when I tried out their new La Veranda restaurant, including their sushi.

James’s positive experience when staying quite regularly at the Crystal Palace in Sofia some seven years ago. So he also had found their balance of luxury, quality and great customer service alluring.

Heading up the hill with a degree of anticipation. It was sushi night for us.

James continues the review…

Preslav: the sushi chef

Preslav working that sushi. Picture taken 20th December 2011

The new sushi chef in Bansko is a young man called Preslav. He has trained as a sushi chef for the last eight years in Sofia, and the Black sea. With his Japanese sushi knife I watched our sushi being skillfuly prepared.

His years of experience shone through. His presentation of the selection of hosomaki, futomaki, maki-sushi and California rolls was as good as I have seen anywhere.

The California rolls especially were beautiful, and really stood out.

One roll was coated in spiced dry tuna, a real flavor sensation, slightly crisp, spicy, hot and full of rich umami flavour. These were contrasted by the Avacado California rolls with their smooth creamy texture.

The third sushi was filled with an assortment fish and was coated in orange cod roe, not only vibrant, but a lovely texture. I will never tire of the mildly salty explosions of any sort of caviar!

Overall impressions

sushi bansko

Here in Bansko, like most sushi bars in the world, we are at a distance from a fish monger that specialises in Sushi grade fish. The Maki and Sushi were a little lacking in the bold spanking fresh flavours of a fish that only hours before was splashing around in the ocean. However, bear in mind that this is a mild criticism considering the overall quality of the food.

Preslav does a fantastic job with the ingredients available and obviously choses only the best of that which is on the Bulgarian market.

Food:    18/20

Service: 18/20

Overall: 18/20

Highly Recommended

My thanks to James for his review of our sushi evening at the St Ivan Rilski sushi bar. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Avalon at one of your popular curry nights.

If the food alone was not enough, there is a 2 for 1 beer offer at the St Ivan Rilski sushi bar to help tempt you there. Whilst I am turning Japanese this winter, I’ll also be soon taking a look soon at Mediterranean cuisine at Gastros a new Greek run restaurant that my initial taste was so promising.

Your comments are welcome on any restaurants in Bansko, Razlog, Blagoevgrad, Sofia or surrounding areas.

Bars and Restaurants

About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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