Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Aurora (Korčula - Croatia) 08/2018


Konoba in a Croatian restaurant name can only be used if the restaurant offers a certain amount of local dishes on it's menu. It appears frequently in all the small towns we visited. Korčula is a mini Dubrovnik. It is a walled city but the walls are low and lined with restaurants. 
A seat at the edge of the wall gives gorgeous views 
over the Adriatic sea. Other seats 
across the road offer a different view.
The restaurants also have inside dining but, unless it was raining, few would take up that option.
A miniature olive tree, about 30 cm. tall,
decorated our table. We began our meal with a tuna tatrtare

and a Dalmatian selection
made up of white anchovy, octopus, some cold cuts, tomatoes, edible succulents and flowers. Not very exciting and certainly not a dish I would order again.
Bread is offered with olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar, but butter is available on request.
Seafood risotto
was dominated by the liberal use of saffron.
Beef cheek with foie gras was really something special.

The fresh foie gras was excellent while the tasty beef cheek had been slow cooked for hours so it was very tender and almost falling apart. It also sat on a bed of truffled mashed potato. A super dish. 
Score:14.25 /20

ZOI (Split-Croatia) 08/2017

Our local tour guide had heard good things about this restaurant and it was extremely convenient for us to go there. Their web site has been constructed by a polished wordsmith who says all the right things about the place, it's history and the food and the menu, although a little on the expensive side looked excellent.
The Michelin people have visited and said nice things about the atmosphere and the scenery with which we certainly agree,. The terrace hugs the wall of Diocletian's palace with ever changing scenes from the street and docks below.
 Service was pleasant and efficient and our comments, reported to the chef, resulted in a 10% discounted bill. All the waitstaff, dressed in black,  have a belt and bag, similar to what we see worn by carpenters.

We wanted something a bit different and settled on a crab bisque
and a marinated tongue for a start. This was quite a small bowl and the volume of soup was further reduced by the slice of bread and cheese floating in it. The bisque was made from salty chicken stock and made more salty with the caviar on top of it. The tongue appetiser was excellent.                                  
Bread 
was served with a raw green olive oil and balsamic vinegar. On request grated butter, which also came with the foie gras, was supplied.
 
Foie gras terrine with cumquat glaze and rhabarbara, turned out to be pretty but lacking in taste of the liver. It felt and tasted like a smooth butter
 Tongue, (marinated for 30 days and cooked for 26 hours) was also a pretty presentation with beetroot and cheese stuffed dates pistachio powder, daikon and quinoa.
 Flavours were fine and they had excellently prepared the tongue.
Cutlery is an attractive  shiny gold colour.

 Sandra was right out of luck. A marine plankton seafood risotto, featuring  squid, octopus and Grana Padano shreds, was barely populated with seafood and rather salty.She was very disappointed.
My lamb chops, marinated in lavender honey and balsamic vinegar with roast peppers, lentils, chips, morel mushrooms, broad beans and roasted peppers were tender and tasted great.
They offer a extensive wine list (84 wines) with a reasonable range available by the glass. 
Comments: Michelin didn't mention the food which was patchy, occasionally lacking taste and unbalanced in regard to what was on the plate. 
The bill came to about A$170
Score:14 /20

Sunday, August 12, 2018

360 Degrees (Dubrovnik, Croatia) 08/2018



Michelin starred restaurants are not too common in Croatia but there’s one in Dubrovnik. Right on the edge of the Old City harbour it’s terrace seating look over an ever changing scene as ferries and other boats constantly come and go.
The scenery is second to none. Also available are cubicles, equipped with fans, if one does not wish to sit outside. Table settings are simple and attractive.
Cutlery

and glassware are excellent.


From start to end this is a classy restaurant.
Their menu is remarkably flexible. They have two five course degustation menus. One ‘Retrospective’ Mario, the chef’s, best dishes over the last decade and ‘Mario’, his current best dishes. They have remarkable flexibility. Two people at the one table can each have a different tasting menu and beyond that they also allow one change per patron which allows avoidance of an undesired product or choice of an item not on the selected menu.
There is also an à la carte menu.
We chose to have both tasting menus.
Starting with the traditional amuse bouche

Bread comes with two butters - one a foie gras flavour and the other truffle flavoured!
the menu continued as follows:
RETROSPECTIVE
RED PRAWNS
Carpaccio / Citrus emulsion / Sour turnip.
MACKERAL
Bonito dressing / Chimchurri / Celery purée / Cucumber
We swapped this for a beetroot risotto
OCTOPUS
Fennel / Lime ravioli / Fish soup
SEABASS
Cream of garlic and potatoes / Cuttlefish / Lemon cream / Green sauce.
This was some sort of palate cleanser!

COFFEE
Chocolate and coffee granache / Cocoa nibs crumbs / Marscapone cream / Vanilla ice cream.
MARIO
CARROT
Slow cooked / Cream & chips / Black garlic / Pine nuts
SCAMPI
Kadaif / Jerusalem artichoke / Scampi cappuccino
TURBOT
Cauliflower cream / Clams / Dark fish stock

BLACK PORK
Neck / Sour onion tart / Pork skin chips / Sweet potato / Cream of mustard
CHOCOLATE
Coffee / Chocolate mousse / Orange / Raspberry sorbet 

The meal was completed with an offering of hand made sweets/chocolates,

including some surprise inclusions.
Comments: These are adventurous menus in which it is inevitable that some dishes will not meet expectations, indeed it is possible that none of them will! Everything was very good but, in my view, they are lucky to get a Michelin star and might struggle to keep it. As always presentation was excellent. Some dishes were rather tiny, e.g. the scampi but overall they were adequate. 
Score: 17/20



Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Peck (Milan) 08/2018






Peck is the most impressive delicatessen we have ever seen. It has the most extensive range of ready to eat food including patés, quiches,
antipasti, 
cheeses, fresh meats 
fruit and vegetables
as well as fresh and dry pasta's, bottled jams and much much more.
Not only that they have a wine cellar down stairs but also a restaurant upstairs, which closes at 3.00 pm. We dropped in for a quick lunch. Although not a very formal restaurant 
before the meal we were presented with a small appetiser from the chef.
Something we had been looking forward to in Italy was on the menu so vitello tornata was our first choice.
We had not expected a cold dish but it was excellent as a starter.
This was followed by a saffron risotto 
The most al dente risotto I have ever eaten.
The meal came with a nice variety of breads.
For our last course we chose a pasta
to which our waitress grated Parmesan at the table with a cylindrical grater.
Comments:An extremely pleasant place for a quiet lunch.
Score:14 /20