When Jiří Lešikar and Lumír Sendrei, Moravian restaurateurs and old friends, opened their new enterprise, Signature, in Popůvky along the D1 highway near Brno, they knew they wanted it to focus on “honest cuisine.”
Despite the fact that chef Pavel Veltruský has cooked for the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Julia Roberts, it was important to the co-owners to keep intentionally sophisticated culinary creations out of their kitchen.
“We want to give our conservative guests rabbit from my great-grandmother’s recipe but also satisfy demands for grilled foie gras,” said Veltruský who comes to Brno via the three-star Michelin restaurant Waterside Inn in England.
That simplicity and adherence to tradition carries over into inventive dishes like fried snails in celeriac puree with a velout of wild bear garlic, warming consommé with horseradish and marrow, and, of course, the stuffed rabbit loin, taken from a 100-year-old recipe and served with wild radish and scallions.
That isn’t to say that the venture has no flair for the dramatic. The restaurant’s chic interior—quite a departure for an area dominated by gas stations and fast food joints—incorporates expanses of lush green moss, which adorn several sliding walls as well as the centerpiece column of the dining room.
“Naturally grown and fresh mackerel from Norway is better than frozen and fattened trout from the Czech Republic,” he said, adding that he works with local farmers, but only when they provide fresh and quality ingredients.
The largest champagne list in Moravia and a convenient sleepover option (the restaurant is part of the Hotel Victoria and also accommodates large family-style brunches and other events) makes Signature ideal for a quiet overnight for two or half-way meetpoint for business lunches.
The only real drawback is the view—mostly cars—though that is largely forgotten once you return to the remarkable visual experience, enhanced by smart Czech comfort food, within.