Secret dining at 555

  • 2008-10-09
  • By Adam Mullett

FACTORY FOOD: Healthy dining, jazzy tunes and a mysterious aura away from the crowds of the Old Town.

VILNIUS - Inn555 is a new restaurant flanking the E-Guest House in Vilnius' new town. It is the sort of place in which you could spend a quiet evening with friends without all the song and dance of "going out."
The restaurant is unique for being in an old factory that was once used for making radios during the pre-Soviet period. Since then, it's been divided into office space, a hotel and the Inn555 restaurant.

This historical theme is honored in the dining area with the open-brick walls that would have been visible in the days of line production. The bar also has a polished steel look, which hints at the industrial.
The building housing the restaurant was built in 1936 and originally contained the then-modern radio technology factory Elektrit. During the Soviet occupation, the factory was used to manufacture aviation radio technology in secret.

Adding to the Soviet theme are large projectors that play video clips of music from the '50s and '60s. This is one of the key elements of the theme, which ties it together.
The name of the restaurant comes from the secret Soviet factory, which was simply called "Post box 555" at the time. No information on buyers or sellers was available on what happened inside the factory.
When it comes to food, Inn555 does something unique. The chefs have gone out to get the health-conscious patron's attention with clarified butter and calorie-rated meals.

Some patrons may enjoy knowing which meals are healthy, while others may feel guilty knowing that the most tasty dishes are not congruent with their latest diet guide.
The most pleasing item to the health nut will be the crepes, made with ecological flour and served with jam, clear butter, and honey, and which come in at the featherweight category with 86 kilocalories 's the equivalent of 86 Tic Tacs. This snack costs 6 litas (1.74 euros).

The menu is eclectic, with a Lithuanian leaning for fish and French and Italian dishes thrown in to please many tongues. Blue-lip mussels cooked in coconut and herb sauce for 15 litas (4.35 euros) breaks the drought and makes way for the mains, which are all reasonably priced under 25 litas (7.25 euros), except for the outlying beef steak at 45 litas (13.04 euros).

The owners have selected wine that is good value for money. All the wine comes in at under 55 litas and can be bought in half bottles too. This is especially handy when friends order different foods. The half bottle of wine gives you the opportunity to match it to the food, as the menu recommends.
This accommodating restaurant gives patrons an estimate on the time needed for the preparation of each dish, which allows for quick business lunches or those in a hurry.

Two young jazz guitarists perform live in this basement den on Thursdays, playing classics of the '40s jazz era.
A drawback of the restaurant is that it is not in the Old Town and is out of the way from other restaurants, pubs and clubs. On the other hand, it avoids the parking problems that plague the center.

T. Ševčenkos 16,
Vilnius tel. (8 5) 211 30 05