Admitted to Hospitālis

March 30, 2010 § 4 Comments

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved.

A medical misadventure with a distinguished kitchen. That’s how the Restorāns Hospitālis in the Latvian capital of Riga describes itself. This weekend I visited the restaurant and it turned out to be a hospital admittance to remember.

I was in Riga on a bachelor party trip (not mine) and we had booked the place in advance with that in mind. Arriving at the hospital in downtown Riga, our expectations for a special evening for the groom-to-be were all satisfied. The first impression was that of a clean and sterile hospital environment, but as we started to notice the little details it all turned a bit strange.

The bizarre hospital setting reminded me of the “Kingdom” miniseries by Danish director Lars von Trier, and inspired the look of these photos (all by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved.) (click to enlarge):

As we settled down for the meal, a rack of test tubes was placed on the table. What looked like blood and urine turned out to be our aperitifs. After several vials of blood the bachelor was put into a straitjacket and fed a nasty-looking soup substance by one of the nurse waitresses. The rest of the group then had steaks with the sauce conveniently served in a glass syringe. We had the privilege of forks and knives, while the main man had to make do with artery forceps and a scalpel for his meat, served in stainless steel kidney bowls.

All very fun and weird, but then his dessert was served – eye in blood, or so it looked (pun intended). Hesitating a long time, the bachelor finally had a taste and it turned out to be marzipan and a strawberry sauce. The impression was however so intimidating that even though it was passed around, we didn’t manage to finish it.

If you have a hospital phobia, you should probably stay away, but if you’re in Riga and want to experience something very different, be sure to book a table. The food was actually very good for a theme restaurant. Especially the chicken soup, which looked exactly like…chicken soup.

Larger versions of the photos can be found on Flickr.

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