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Boštjan Pavli

Restavracija Harfa

A creator of daily lunches at a higher level prepares menus that include new speciality dishes every week for his guests.

About chef

He likes dynamic work and there is no lack of that in the kitchen. And he likes working with food.

He simply enjoys cooking. Because it is not traditional or monotonous work. There is plenty of action in the kitchen. It all begins at half past five in the morning, when Boštjan starts kneading bread dough. This is followed by desserts, fresh ingredients are delivered, his team comes to work, and Boštjan starts planning new menus. Menus that will be available for just one week. Then they change, so that they can offer guests who return new dishes. Fresh, seasonal, different. This way, customers never get tired of Boštjan’s cuisine.

Favourite dish
Pasta with tomatoes and basil

A simple dish that you don’t have to complicate and you can eat at any time.

Favourite ingredient
Chocolate

Boštjan bakes lots of cakes – with chocolate, which is not necessarily a dessert.

When he was in elementary school, he and his brother used to cook just to fill the time when their parents were still at work. He says that he gets his joy of cooking from his mother, who is a great cook. So he decided to go to the school of hospitality in Ljubljana, which he completed with honours and got a job at the famous JB Restaurant immediately after finishing. He remained there and grew under Chef Janez Bratovž for fourteen years, and then opened Harfa Restaurant in Ljubljana together with his wife Vesna, fulfilling his life-long dream.

Boštjan Pavli
Photo: Aleš Fevžer, Harfa Restaurant archives
“There is some talent and you build from there. Just like in sports. You learn all your life.”

A lot is going on in cuisine. Trends, techniques, plating keep changing. The same as ingredients in nature and on plates. Creating plates require some feeling. Boštjan follows colours, a bit of each, and textures, always adding something with a crunchy texture. “Something must attract me,” he says about creating new dishes. The process takes its time, as he sometimes has to try a recipe four or five times before he succeeds. He is a fan of basic flavours, homemade and home-grown ingredients, and seasonal cuisine. He always adds a personal touch to his dishes – that cherry on top that merely emphasises the basic flavour.

Gastronomy in Harfa Restaurant
Photo: Aleš Fevžer, Harfa Restaurant archive

I don’t have any bad experience with Slovenian guests, although a lot of guests come and go every day.

“Harfa Restaurant boasts between 80 and 90 per cent of Slovenian guests, particularly business people. Boštjan keeps them happy and interested by overhauling menus on a weekly basis, from starters, soups, meat, fish and vegetarian main courses and desserts.
He says that his mind set is different to that of most chefs, as he and his wife set up the restaurant from scratch and didn’t take over an established business. They also physically divided it into two parts to fit the location and the target group. One part is intended for daily lunches, while the other is meant to host business lunches with multiple-course menus. This works perfectly, new deals are made and happy guests keep coming back.
“I couldn’t have done everything without my wife and staff,” says Boštjan, honestly praising his team that follow his vision and assist him with ideas and work. But his sons have not followed in his footsteps. For now, at least. Boštjan proudly says that his youngest son has fantastic taste: “Once in a restaurant, he claimed that the tomato on the plate wasn’t real. When he refused it, the waiter admitted that it was ’from a bag’.”

Photo: Harfa Restaurant archive

Chef's Restaurant

Restavracija Harfa

A modern business restaurant with world-class food.

Read more