Friday, February 17, 2012
Dalmatino (Port Melbourne) 02/2012
Some peoples lives are well ordered, sort of neat and reliable. Others are more unpredictable, perhaps more spontaneous and erratic. I think we are a bit like that. A snippet on TV about a Croatian dish changes our dinner plans and suddenly we're off to a new adventure, completely unanticipated. That is how we ended up at Dalmatino in Bay St. Set out with tables along one side of a long room separated from a bar on the other by a long panel topped with bottles give the place a pleasant bistro feel. Bare tables are a good size and the somewhat uncomfortable chairs the standard for these places. The wall is imitation pressed steel with a long narrow blackboard advertising the day's special. A little research informed us that Croatian food is often regional food the main division being between the Islands and Dalmation coast and the inland areas. The inland cuisine is more influenced by the food of the Austro Hungarian and Ottoman Empires while the coastal area is more influenced by Italian, Greek, French and perhaps Spanish cuisine. Dalmatina obviously derives from the Dalmatian area and is noted for fish stew known as brudet or brujet. As presented here it was a soup rather than a stew. A first course of asparagus soup was full flavoured great for asparagus lovers. Charcuterie was disappointing, a dull small collection of cuts with nothing exciting and a bit over priced too. Slow cooked beef cheek with gnocchi was tender and I especially enjoyed it. The brujet was full of seafood, a little over cooked, how can it not be and the soup tasty. Desserts were pretty but the custard in the creme caramel was very gluggy and heavy. Despite all these criticisms the food is really quite respectable and the venue has an extremely pleasant atmosphere about it. Eno, chef and part owner dropped by and chatted briefly with us. I would be happy to come back to try some of their other dishes.