Culinary cats on tour

B and JBella and Juno were never slow on taking any opportunities for adventurous dining; usually giving me the dead eye as I was trying to eat, but on many occasions just camping down near the fridge lest I forget there was plenty of cat-friendly contents lurking inside. The question is whether the spirit of culinary adventure was lost on me or not. A recent opportunity arose for a trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia, and when in such a fabulous place there was nothing better than taking the Juno/Bella challenge of trying to eat your way out!

First stop is Dubravka 1836, a delightful restaurant located just outside the Pile Gate of the old city…

Dubravka 1836 at night

 

 

The interior decor is a reflection of the historic surroundings…

Dubravka 1836 [3]

Dubravka 1836 meal [1]

 

So, the next challenge is to decide from a mouth-watering menu what to eat. Check out reviews in advance, as they can often point you to signature dishes. On this occasion a Dubravka beef steak coated in cheese presents discerning cats with a rich source of flavours. The Dingac local red wine is a perfect companion to, well just about everything!

After a necessary nights sleep, just to allow the previous feast to settle, and gentle strolling around the old city (see future blog posts), it is time for a satisfying afternoon snack. Restaurant Arsenal is located overlooking the old port… Restaurant Arsenal [2]… and where better to sample some of the local seafood delicacies. You can almost see the anchovies, calamari and shrimp queueing up to leap onto your plate! A glass of the Posip white wine compliments the seafood salad perfectly…

Restaurant Arsenal [3] food

Koloseum [2]Most cats will let you know that fish is the dish of choice every time, so suitably instructed an early evening call into the Koloseum restaurant provided the perfect opportunity to relieve the establishment of one of its delicately grilled Tuna Steaks. Oh, and a glass or more of the Grasevina white wine doesn’t go amiss!

Koloseum meal

 

 

 

 

Most places in Dubrovnik old city are back streets, but a meander around the narrow passageways presents an enormous choice of places to re-fuel. One such establishment is Domino restaurant, serving up a tender and juicy steak to interrupt the flood of sea-based sustenance…

Domino [3]

Domino [1] food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can only eat so much in a few days; a statement that neither Juno or Bella would ever have understood! There comes a time when you need to consider the return journey to the local airport. But not without a lunchtime visit to the starting point of the whole culinary adventure. Dubravka 1836 has its signature pizza dish, and who am I to leave without sampling it? This also gives me an opportunity to see in daylight that which had drawn me in so seductively as a beacon in the darkness.

Dubravka 1836 [1]

Dubravka 1836 daytime [2]

Dubravka 1836 daytime [3] food

Going back to apartment [5] cat

Strolling back through the old city to the apartment one evening, following an inevitable feast, I had this strange sense that Juno and Bella had arranged for eyes to be kept on me. Or perhaps that was just my over-excited imagination coping with the volume of fabulous vittles.

Until we speak again, eat well, drink well, and don’t feel the need to keep looking over your shoulder!

A ray of sunshine

What do you think when I suggest ‘Portugal‘ to you? Sunshine, Atlantic breezes, seafood, Lisbon, Porto, fine wines and ports? Am I the only one that thinks ‘Cardiff‘? A bit of lateral thinking maybe, but come on people, get with the programme. I might have travelled here at the behest of my resident fur-ball from my familiar home in London, but at least I am making an effort to acclimatise to their triumphant homecoming. Azure blue skies, white walls bathed in sunshine, and the prospect of mouth-watering Portuguese dining… it can only be Cardiff.

Madiera [1]

 

Here is a pub quiz question for you… where is Madeira? An archipelago located off the Portuguese Atlantic coast you geographical geniuses recite, with the confidence of the world traveller informing the majority of Americans who are busy searching their world atlases that only stretch from Washington State to Florida, and Maine to California. Well, my eccentric informant tells me it is to be found on Guildford Crescent in downtown Cardiff somewhere close to the archaeological site of a local swimming pool best known for its indoor version of lido style changing rooms facing directly onto the poolside.

In the case of the Madiera Ristorante, the adjacent Masonic Hall and Thai House provide the wider urban vista in place of the more usually expected Atlantic panorama. But don’t simply turn up at this place. Since 1998 it has built a reputation for a relaxing atmosphere, fine dining, and the sight of your food dripping from the ceiling! This is somewhere that definitely needs a booking, and it is popular for all sorts of groupings. If you are an intimate pair of cats with designs on mutual purring over dinner be prepared to unashamedly shout your sweet nothings back and forth… as you could easily find yourself located in a darkly lit corner only to be joined by large and small groups of contestants practicing for a foghorn blowing competition…

Madiera [2]The menu reads like your holiday memories from those lovingly remembered trips to the Algarve… plenty of the swimmy flappy things that us cats so love to play with eat raw (a bit like the Japanese in that sense). Caranguejo (crab), lulas (squid) and Gambas (prawns) are to be found in shoals. But, if you like to put plenty of meat on to your fury rump there is no shortage of Carne dishes, both of the conventional (steaks) and adventurous (portuguese twists to familiar favourites). Then there is the creative use of space… why have your skewered delights laid out across your plate when you can simply hang it from the ceiling over your table?

Madiera [3]Espetadas are a Madeira speciality that come in pork, beef, lamb, chicken, monkfish or combinations; and are simply deliciously cooked kebabs hung from hooks above your table, with the option of garlic dripping down through the whole skewer. However, if you are a vegetarian, try being one of the fish eating variety, or else your range will be limited to what you normally buy in the supermarket!

Once again, I have had to stay at home Olive branchguarding the ancestral pile, while those who don’t know how to wrestle a fish around the floor, pawing its head against a handy skirting board, are enjoying gastronomic delicacies and delights. Until we speak again this Juno will be planning to hideout in the bin store behind the Madeira Ristorante… just perfecting the right pose to catch any falling fish.