Culinary Croatian Tour, Half 2: Pet Bunara
After our go to to the Maraska distillery, we’re staying in Zadar to discover the native eating scene through one among its most interesting eating places: Pet Bunara.
Within the 16th century, because of the frequent wars between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire, partitions have been erected across the previous city of Zadar. The newly fortified metropolis wanted to safe its water provide, so 5 wells have been constructed aspect by aspect in a single city sq.. The wells remained in use till 1838, and to this present day the 5 Wells Sq. (Trg pet bunara in Croatian) stays, close to the Land Gate and the Captain’s Tower.
Based in 1981, Pet Bunara (the restaurant) is positioned just a few ft from the eponymous sq.. With a need to be on the forefront of Zadar’s gastronomic panorama, it serves native, seasonal delicacies paired with an in depth listing of equally native wines. It has its personal herb backyard and its personal olive and fig grove. This can be a nice event for us to get acquainted with just a few Croatian classics in addition to some native creations.
The meal begins with a bread basket and two olive oils. Along with common white bread, we get a darkish gray cuttlefish ink bread, though the ink (fortunately, maybe) doesn’t impart any seafood taste. On the olive oil entrance, there’s one made by Pet Bunara from their olive grove, and one other one made within the close by village of Nadin. Each are very pungent and bitter, which I like.
The octopus terrine, “a neighborhood octopus specialty,” consists of tender cooked octopus and nothing else, served on a mattress of arugula and topped with a light balsamic vinegar and sprouts. My most important reproach is that the terrine is slightly bland and will use extra seasoning. Then the little items of toast on one aspect of the plate are undersized, and I’m undecided what I’m purported to do with the heap of grated cheese on the opposite aspect. Not a foul dish, however barely disappointing.
The orzo nero is a twist on the Dalmatian uber-classic: black risotto. It’s made with barley (orzo means barley in Italian) as a substitute of rice, cooked in cuttlefish ink with leek, and completed with fruity grated cheese (both Parmesan, or some native model). I additionally style lemon juice, and its acidity is balanced by the fattiness of the cheese. Is barley an enhancement over rice? No, however the dish is properly executed and the cuttlefish is tender. All through the meal, you’ll discover gimmicky brushstrokes of unidentified colourful sauces and purées on the plates. I gained’t point out them once more since they’re actually only for present, and I’d be hard-pressed to let you know what they’re made from.
The Napoleon Need (so named maybe as a result of Zadar was a part of Napoleon’s short-lived Illyrian Provinces) is a braised lamb shank served with potatoes crammed with cheddar cheese and wrapped in selfmade smoked bacon. The tasty, completely cooked lamb meat falls off the bone. I believe the sauce is basically the braising liquid and greens (carrots, onions), completed with some plum jam – many objects on the menu function numerous domestically made fruit jams. As for the aspect, all people loves bacon and cheese, to the purpose the place I want there was truly much less baked potato. Perhaps a number of the potato might be carved out and mashed inside?
The pašticada is one other conventional Dalmatian dish, a beef stew with a particular sauce. The waitperson explains to us that it takes two days to organize. On the primary day, the meat is marinated in pink wine and slightly little bit of vinegar with apples, plums, carrots, and onions. On the second day, it’s cooked for 6-7 hours. It involves our plate with selfmade gnocchi. The dish, by its look, jogs my memory of Czech svíčková, a slowly cooked beef roast coated in a thick sauce, served with a starch that’s only a car for extra sauce. The flavors, nonetheless, are completely different: the sauce right here tastes principally like plum and vinegar. Additionally, the meat’s tenderness outcomes not from the baseline chewability of the meat reduce, however from the extended cooking (and skinny slicing). And in comparison with Czech bread dumplings, the lighter, barely mushy gnocchi are an enchancment.
For dessert, the Šinjorina Maruška cake is one other dish made with native fruit jam – this time a Marasca cherry jam. The cake consists of two layers of chocolate sponge made with coarse almond meal, plus chocolate buttercream in between and on high. Whereas it undoubtedly tastes like cherry, I can’t see any jam. My guess is that it’s was a syrup used to soak the sponge (and adorn the plate). Chocolate-almond-cherry is a traditional mixture, and for a number of good causes, resembling #1: it tastes nice, and #2: cherry and almond each include benzaldehyde. A inexperienced pistachio cream completes the plate, and I want there was extra of it.
Zadar was the primary city in Croatia the place I stayed, and Pet Bunara was my first meal at a restaurant. From there, we’ll progress down the Dalmatian coast in my subsequent posts, with a few stops in Zagreb for selection.
Lastly, resuming the observe I began with my Moscow restaurant sequence, I’ve made a listing of all of the elements that have been talked about on Pet Bunara’s menu on the day of my go to, and sorted them into classes. Solely the savory dishes are included this time – sadly, I forgot to make a replica of the dessert menu! A few of the tendencies we’re seeing are attribute of Dalmatian delicacies: a preponderance of seafood over meat (with a passion for octopus and cuttlefish), an abundance of summer time greens, the usage of wild mushrooms (there are black truffles in Zadar, who would have thought!), and the usage of quite a lot of native cheeses. A number of different tendencies strike me extra because the chef’s private choice, such because the inclusion of leeks in 4 completely different dishes, or the recurring addition of fruit jams to sauces.
|beef x2, beef rumpsteak, beef tenderloin, duck leg, lamb shank, pork neck, bacon (smoked), prsut, turkey steak, veal cheeks|
|cuttlefish x3, gurnard, mussels, octopus x3, pink mullet, sea bass, swordfish, tuna, bluefin tuna x2|
|seasonal greens x2, arugula x2, beet, cabbage, carrot x2, celery x2, cucumber, fava beans x2, garlic, greens, leek x4, olives x3, onion x3, peas, potato x3, radicchio, salad x8, sprouts x3, tomato, cherry tomato, Swiss chard x2, zucchini|
|herbs x2, basil|
|mushrooms, black truffle x4, boletus, porcini|
|grains, barley x2, rice, legumes|
|salad dressing x4|
|gnocchi, noodles, pasta x2, polenta x2, puff pastry|
|cheese x7, exhausting cheese, sheep cheese, goat cheese (from Dugi Otok island), malted cheese, curd cheese, cream x4, egg x4|
|white wine x2|
|fig jam x3, mandarin jam x2, plum jam|