Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Hrast - Porec, Croatia

Day 7 in Croatia and we went out in Porec in the evening on a mission. I had seen a restaurant that looked good and had briefly seen it referenced on a website. We circled the streets of old town a few times before we found it...

When we found it? The entirety of the menu was fish. With our experiences in fish eating still at the beginners stages (think white fish and tuna) we drifted away.

We didn't get far until we stumbled across the number 1 restaurant on Trip Adviser. Konobo Aba. We wandered in, no one approached us, everyone seemed to be staring at us. I felt self conscious and nudged D forward to enquire about a table. The response from the waiter 'No'. Brilliant. There was a bit of a language barrier and a lot of 'No' from the waiter until we sulked away. Never to return I might add.

As we returned to the cobbled streets I remembered the name of restaurant I had seen on Frank About Croatia's blog - Hrast. We just needed to find it.

Hrast isn't in the old town, it's still along the coast but slightly more North and heading towards some of the larger hotel complexes. There is a large seating area, however when we turned up there were only seats inside so it's probably advisable to book if you want the best seats in the house with a view towards the old town.

Nevertheless the windows were large, there was candle light and the waiting staff were friendly and polite so things seemed to be looking up.

For some reason everyone in Croatia assumed D was German, I think it's the blond hair and blue eyes look he has going on, and everyone just looks at me puzzled. I had people talking to me Croatian and people talking to me in Italian. I guess I just look a little more Mediterranean than D, I am approximately a 10th Italian after all. Anyway, the point of this was that we were handed German menus by assumption by the waiter, before he said good evening in every language to determine our nationality. I was impressed by the waiters language skills it has to be said, apparently most people in Croatia under the age of 35 can speak English as they have been taught English at school. Those over 35 give a good go at it too.

My German hottie 
We placed our standard drinks order, a glass of red for D and a glass of white for me. I made a point of asking for local wine... when in Rome, or Istria in this case.

As with most restaurants in Croatia, you are served bread at the start of the meal. I'm not sure whether this is meant to be a bread course or something you eat with your meal. By the end of the trip I had to give in with most of the bread because too much bread was doing weird things to my body and bloating my up something rotten. I rarely took pictures of the baskets of bread, bread is bread and some of it was pretty stale and unappetising. Unlike the bread in Hrast, this was by far the best bread we had. Why? Because it was fried bread.


Feeling like we had finally arrived in a restaurant of a better class we decided to order a 'proper' starter (not just bread) and opted for a platter of local cheeses and Istrian ham to share.

Istrian ham is strong in flavour, dry cured and to me resembles a tougher serrano ham. Istrian cheese is generally sheep's cheese, there were more than sheep cheeses on our dish but once again the language barrier separated us from the specific types on our plate. All were good, a lot were very rich, some are quite dry and resembles the texture of mature cheese but lacks the creamy taste.

The waiter was desperate to serve us fish, fish clearly being the speciality of a seaside town in Croatia. So much so that he brought a platter of fish (I'd say about 6 fully sized fish) over to us to show us how fresh they were. I'm pretty sure they were good fish but their googly eyes staring at me I lost my nerve and we both ordered meat instead... much to the waiter's disappointment.

For main D ordered the beef cutlets wrapped in bacon served on pasta with shavings of Parmesan.

This was one of D's favourite meals of the holiday, incredibly filling due to the pasta and large quantity of beef on his plate.

I ordered the veal cutlets which were served with sauteed potatoes.

There wasn't much meat on the veal cutlets, I guess because they were cutlets and not steaks. Confession, I've never tried veal before so I couldn't say whether they were the best of the best, but they reminded me a little of pork? At one point I started to wonder whether in fact there was a mix up in translation and in fact the veal advertised was meant to be pork? I'm still not sure what veal should taste like, if it does in fact taste of pork I think I'll save my money next time.

D and I both ordered the grilled vegetables, at the recommendation of the waiter, however these didn't turn up and we had to grab a waitress to let her know. I saw our trusty waiter dash over to her to find out what was wrong.

The grilled vegetables (just the one plate) turned up as I was about to consume my last mouthful of veal and potato. They were barely cooked, the courgettes in particular were a little rare. I wished we hadn't bothered saying anything.

We didn't stay for dessert but instead headed home to relax with a bottle of wine. The bill came to around £30-40 and was one of the more expensive meals we had in Croatia.

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