A Niche in Ljubljana
There’s a scent of new deliciousness spreading through the capital again! You can trace its source from underneath Plečnik’s Arcades, right beside the farmer’s market and coexisting in the space of the Kino Šiška’s art gallery DobraVaga. This cosy little corner flaunts the (very accurate) name Niša (niche) and its proud creators are two lovely 25 year old entrepeneurs Lena Penšek and Lola Stojčevski. Social scientists by education and by heart, they swear by the concept of ‘conscious hedonism’, around which they are building their story – and they are serving it to the world with all the passion for good food and drink they possess.
One of the conscious parts of the concept comes in the form of being as ‘farm to table’ oriented as possible and supporting local produce and products. Offering Slovenian food with a twist is their long term goal, but they already offer scrumptious sandwiches, soups and excellent savoury and sweet pies with mostly locally sourced ingredients, which they try to get from the farmer’s market. Even for the sake of not following food trends they won’t have avocado or hummus in any of their food because they really believe in what they want to convey with the offer. The most unique thing about Niša’s menu is that it only contains Slovenian craft beers – no foreign ones and not even Union or Laško. That’s why I heartily recommend people go and try the lager from Kranjska pivovarna (Kranjska brewery) they have on tap; disappointment happens rarely. Their coffee is also Fairtrade and roasted by the famous café Čokl.
They feel that you can’t have a whole concept with just the food and drink, so the interior of Niša is also special. Most of the pieces of furniture, cutlery, cups and glasses come from second hand, some of the pieces up-cycled. Of course it doesn’t hurt the eyes that there’s art everywhere you look, the bar being in a gallery. But the thing they cherish most is the relationship and the attitude they want to cultivate with everyone, wanting to be fair and just with suppliers, business partners and of course, guests. They say Niša wouldn’t exist without their support and they are thankful to all the suppliers for placing their trust in them and Kino Šiška’s people for being open to new ideas and taking them in.
Niša has been open and intriguing new guests for a month now, and even though it’s a lot of hard work, it’s all worth it to Lena and Lola. The advice they’d give to anyone starting their own business is to urgently take a moment every once in a while to remind yourself that you’re actually making your dreams come true, otherwise you get swamped. They plan to expand the culinary part of the offer so watch out! They are not promising perfection, but mainly Slovenian seasonal ingredients, produce and products and an undying love for delicious things. You know they’re the good kind of crazy when they start putting raspberry cordial in their spritzers, so go try it out, they will welcome you with open arms.
Text: Jasna Rajnar Petrović; Photos: Jasna Rajnar Petrović