Lamb Stew in the Tavern Ulikva, Omišalj
If you stroll through the narrow streets of Omišalj, you will end up in front of the parish church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Right next to the church, on an old town square, is Tavern Ulikva (Konoba Ulikva), a primary spot for traditional Krk cuisine. The place is not too big, but it has a distinctive atmosphere of gone-by ages of hard work and maritime adventures. Ulikva is local pronunciation of a particular kind of olives, which adorn the tavern’s outdoor terrace.
We are greeted by the chef and owner Željko Toić and his staff, for the Festival of Krk Lamb and Cheese. Somewhat mysterious smile and easy-going work is known characteristic of islanders everywhere, and this includes Krk too. Hard working people deliver the very best to their old-time guests and every newcomer.
Primarily, we came for lamb and cheese, but the tavern boasts other Krk delicacies. The menu is rich in seafoods and meat, and boasts with many local dishes.
We are instantly presented with the pride of the house: homemade Krk sheep cheese and wine of the house. The cheese gives familiar and aromatic scent while its crust shines beneath the lantern. The family Toić makes these cheeses in their own production and only for the purposes of the Ulikva tavern.
The wines are reminiscent of Omišalj’s history. Red and white, they are bottled with special labels. The white Malvasia is named „Rozeta“ and has an emblem of famous Omišalj’s Rosetta on the parish church. The red one, Cabernet Sauvignon, is called Beduč and its label is row of old houses in the Beduč area of Omišalj, the old quarter where once the heart of the town was.
While we discuss the cheese production, an elder member of family brings in fresh made sheep curd (skuta) and wild asparagus, the flavour of spring in many Adriatic plates. Spotless white curd and freshly picked asparagus make excellent colours and we immediately take photos, while at the same time we look at the old photographs and ship items hanging on the walls of the tavern.
And there comes the lamb stew, centrepiece of our arrival to Ulikva! Don’t expect fatty meat here; the island lamb is all about beautiful chunks of meat, with a sense of aromatic herbs that sheep eat on every corner of this island. Soft and tender lamb suits well with rightly made stew and homemade macaroni. Those in favour of stronger tastes should use a bit of grated cheese spread over the stew. Ulikva’s chef indeed knows his job!
In Ulikva we can indeed imagine old locals who sip their wine or rakija while playing cards and talking about past times, as well as gatherings of families and friends surrounded by the stone historical buildings of old Omišalj. Both can count in excellent and homemade cooking without much fuss or new imagination – it is good, traditional, and tasty!
Konoba Ulikva Put Dubca 20, Omišalj 00385 51 841 004