Nestled between other restaurants and bars is tavern Sidro, which in Croatian means anchor. Indeed, one can feel anchored in this traditional tavern, surrounded by maritime items and preserved utensils that remind guests of the famous Punat’s maritime and shipbuilding history. Old pictures on the walls bring to the past times and faces of today’s owners’ parents and grandparents disclose years of experience and wisdom in a more natural world.
Scorching noon heat brought us inside, under the stone vaults, and with an instant glass of local Žlahtina wine we embarked to the pleasures of šurlice. Dedicated and ever smiling staff was happy to serve us, especially because we arrived just moments after the tavern opened its doors. Mr Kornel Mihajić and his family cherish a long restaurateur tradition, and his mother is famous in whole town for handmade šurlice, macaroons, and other pasta.
Sidro is home to original Punat cuisine, and one can start its gastro-journey with sheep cheese and homemade prosciutto, but also octopus, a tradition preserved in its authenticity in Punat. Various salads are also part of the cold appetizers, featuring fish and frutti di mare. The warm appetizers follow the same logic, accentuating pasta and various stews, so typical of Krk.
We talk with a young but experienced waiter about the life in tourist season when everything here is packed, while he brings us another glass of Žlahtina. Fortunately, taverns such as these, with simple yet beautiful local dishes are packed with tourists wanting to explore authentic tastes next to burgers and grilled meat. The logic of Sidro is the same, but understandably (and regrettably) offers grilled meat as well (not that it is not tasteful). An important fact is that every seafood comes from local fishermen, guaranteeing fresh fish from Krk sea waters.
The heat still persists while we take a photo of waiter and deliciously looking šurlice on two plates, but we do think of winter here and enjoyment of fire in an old fireplace adorned with historical items. At the same place guests can order in spring the young Krk lamb, baked under the lid. But soon after that we are ready for a more nuanced job of tasting the queen of Krk’s pasta. To detect real šurlice, they must be thinner, and not so soft as other pasta. If you come across this kind of šurlice, you know it is the real thing; such is šurlice in Sidro!
First, we tried šurlice with cuttlefish brodetto. A sense of sea in this dish tells us that cuttlefish is fresh. This rewarding seafood comes in two varieties, with or without its ink, and šurlice has to come without it. A classic combination of olive oil, onions, garlic, and tomatoes make up a tasteful brodetto with herbs and beautifully soft cuttlefish. Nicely done dish deserves a praise to the kitchen staff.
Another dish was more faithful to the original, šurlice with beef stew. Aroma of this dish gives instantly the impression of chef’s expertise in treating usually hard meat. A scent of carrots and herbs, cooked slowly with meat for hours, blends great with šurlice. And while the first seafood pasta was more refreshing and mild, the beef pasta gives a sense of hearty everyday meal. None of those, however, could be done without knowledge of making šurlice, obviously transferred through generations.
Punat seems to care for the culinary heritage and Sidro is for sure a place of such dedication!