After my long visit to Opatija with Zé under a blazing sun, we follow Lungumare (a paved path along the sea with a beautiful view) to Le Mandrac, a gourmet restaurant. We are in a small cove with a backdrop worthy of the golden age of the Italian cinema. It feels like home… and also reminded me of the Marseille’s Calanques and a distant dinner at Chez Fonfon (a famous restaurant in Marseille). I love the scenery, I’m blown away! The view from our table is just WOW (picture 1)! Impeccable service. The black bread looks like the one I tasted in South Tyrol (picture 4). Excellent starters (pictures 2 & 3), followed by a perfectly grilled fish with olive oil (pictures 6 & 7) and a chocolate cake, with in the middle some hot chocolate and garnished with a lemon sorbet … OMG and beleive me, I am not at all a dessert person (pictures 8 & 9). After the second starter, I wasn’t hungry!
Honestly, I think it must be a nightmare to have lunch with me. Each dish is carefully photographed before and sometimes even after, as below, LOL! Here everything is so flavorful and tasty that between the main course and dessert, I improvise a quick meeting with the talented chef and owner of Le Mandrac, Denis Zembo (picture above):
- How would you describe your cooking? – Mediterranean cuisine with a twist. Unpredictable and surprising.
- What kind of ingredients inspire you? – Only some Mediterranean herbs and garlic found in the mountains. I like to use different techniques, such as caramelize. The presentation is half of the dish too.
- What traditional Croatian dish would you recommend to someone who comes for the first time in Croatia? – The risotto, all made pasta, scampi. My avant-garde interpretation of traditional fritaja (fritaya), with scrambled eggs and local ingredients: wild asparagus, truffles and mushrooms.
Thank you Denis Zembo.
Photos : Mademoiselle Le K – copyright 2013, tous droits réservés.
LE MANDRAC : Obala F. Supila 10, Volosko, 51410 Opatija – Tel +385 51 701 357.
Follow my whole trip in the CROATIA section. ENJOY!
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