Sometime in 17th or 18th century a small cooking book emerged under the title “Gastronomy of the sinful friar Karlo from Dubašnica” (Gaštronomija grišnoga fra Karla z Dubašnice), written in local dialect. At the time, the European monasteries already had elaborative kitchen recipes, and many Catholic orders were competing in making more divine foods. Friar Karlo wrote a small piece, where ingredients are few, resembling always difficult life on an island.
Dubašnica was once a village and Glagolitic parish in the north-western part of the Krk Island, but because of the malaria and the pirate raids, it was deserted sometime in 18th century. Today, the name is preserved in the Malinska-Dubašnica Municipality, and contains several smaller places, such as Radići,Žgombići, Zidarići, Sveti Anton, Bogovići, Oštrobradići, and Milovčići. Besides modern adapted rural villas, in Milovčići is one of the best traditional taverns on the island, Pod Murvu (Under the Morus/Mullberry Tree). Although the restaurant works eleven years, the homestead is older, and was praised for the goat and sheep cheese production.
Nowadays, experience of living and farming in Dubašnica region is transferred to the delicious and voluminous old-fashioned Krk dishes. The place offers some dishes that cannot be found elsewhere on Krk, or you have to try your best do discover these secret temples of flavours. Indeed, it is astonishing to find on menu lamb stew with homemade noodles, steer goulash, polenta with lamb liver sauce, homemade port and goat sausages, savoy cabbage, and similar old dishes reminiscent of the best from the grandma’s kitchen!
The food is mainly seasonal, as it is homemade, from the ingredients often produced on the Filipić homestead in the village itself. The spirit of Friar Karlo is thus evident, especially in many lamb dishes. Croatian coastal area and islands have long tradition of sheep herding and producing meat, milk, cheese, and wool. Karst and stone terrain are ideal for sheep and goats, who roam the island in search for quality grass and Mediterranean herbs, and especially the richness of iodine.
Besides traditional entree consisting of Krk prosciutto and cheese, Krk is famous for its pasta, which we already had the opportunity to try and write about. Thus, we tried a typical Krk dish, šurlice with dried meat goulash and gnocchi with chicken goulash. There are other varieties with šurlice, gnocchi and macaroni, usually with asparagus in spring, and famous Krk prosciutto, or in a more elaborate way with sea fruits.
Our food experience was great. The gnocchi were excellently cooked, which gives an idea of the cook’s expertise. Too many times occurs that gnocchi and other pasta are made without essence of time and water temperature. Because of it, we can say that we ate gnocchi with chicken goulash and not the other way round. A note of language: while goulash might instantly invoke memories on the celebrated Hungarian dish, this is more like a thick stew than a thick soup of its northern variety. The sauce was mild, with a pinch of pepper, just enough to add another flavour to the ordinary chicken.
Homemade šurlice were followed with unmistaken aroma of veal goulash. They should be a bit more al dente, and it may be that these šurlice were too soft on the edges, but still it is as traditionally good as it gets. The stew was mild, cooked with onions, carrots, parsley, and wine, blending all the ingredients into a classic Krk šugo.
Mrs Ivana Filipić, the owner of the place, branded with Kvarner Food Quality, was proud to give us the sage brandy (rakija) in the end. Beautiful colour of this rakija enhances the pure enjoyment of its taste. Everything was served in a beautifully arranged restaurant with handcrafted furniture. The restaurant gives a homely atmosphere, like stepping in a centuries old island household, featuring a large open fireplace, where you can order lamb or veal under the baking lead. Wood and stone are traditionally present, as is the well constructed in 1825.
Milovčići 20, 51 511 Malinska
tel: 00385 (0)51 843-032, 0912843032
Text by: Vedran Obućina
Photos by: Bruno Vignjević