A real place to enjoy poultry dishes has opened in Matulji near Rijeka. Zlatno krilo(Golden Wing in Croatian) is a new culinary place that delighted us with its delicious recipes. The concept of a restaurant focusing on only one type of food began to be realised after the opening of Mala Riba, which focuses entirely on fish and seafood. All this stemmed from Kvarner's gastronomic legend Draga di Lovrana, which remains a fashionable place for accommodation and cuisine.
Poultry is undeservedly less represented on the menus of Kvarner restaurateurs, most often as boring chicken breast and the occasional turkey steak thickly dipped in various unrecognisable sauces that should reflect the unknown Italian tradition. This is where Zlatno krilo excels, as they offer imaginative chicken dishes, but also turkey, duc, geese, and we believe that a little more exotic poultry will soon be found here, which really brings back a touch of the former hunting days in Učka and the Rijeka Ring. There is also an entire cock on offer, which will gather a bigger and hungrier team around it.
In order to engage in these thoughts, we drank Učkarica brandy, which enchants with its bright colour as well as its mild taste. Along the way, we admire the interior, which gives a touch of old houses made of wood and stone, and which will be extremely comfortable to stay in during winter. A brief overview of the menu reveals very popular prices, so Zlatno krilo will certainly be the destination of many brunches, as well as business lunches and gatherings with friends and family. The terrace around the old barn adds to the experience of a restaurant where every colour is in its place, and the observer's eye cannot miss the large number of pictures of domestic and wild poultry that additionally remind us of where we are.
We are equally reminded of the same thing by the display case next to the bar, where a whole series of cold appetizers is offered, which should be given attention. We tasted three excellent chicken liver pates. The first is completely white and almost milky, after which you can feel the unmistakable taste of chicken. Those who enjoy the smell of pâté will be delighted with the Venetian-style liver pâté, which requires onion, prosecco, cognac, and Mediterranean spices. Finally, there is a cooked version of liver, enriched with butter, with a rich taste. We don't remember the last time we tried such good pâtés in Kvarner, and they are certainly an indispensable part of the Zlatno krilo experience.
Toasted bread pleases the palate, just as pate and spreads have been enjoyed by many Mediterranean gastronomads from the time of the ancient Greeks until today, so imaginative snacks are ubiquitous on our tables, but mostly at receptions and snacks. Therefore, it is commendable to get a large piece of great pâté and toasted bread and simply enjoy it.
Along with the pates, we received beans and chopped vegetables, green beans and pieces of cold chicken, and the Waldorf salad was especially good and refreshing, which were a welcome addition between tasting various types of pate. With the appetizer, we drink an excellent Frizzante from Italy, which with its freshness restores the fullness of taste, and with its bubbles, reminds us that summer is still with us.
But did you know that chickens were not raised to be eaten? Although chicken is today a key component of every kitchen in the world, nearly ten thousand years ago they were created for cockfights in China, Southeast Asia, and India. It was not until around 400 BC that chicken was eaten in the Levant region. In the Middle Ages, poultry was so popular that the rich ate far more of it than, for example, game. Chicken was an easier source of protein and could be digested more easily. And while some lords still preferred the deer they found in their fief's hunting grounds, the English king Richard the Lionheart adored roasted chicken.
In that long historical period, our feathered companions through life were the basis of many flavour combinations, as we enjoyed the aromatic roll of chicken breast stuffed with pesto and mozzarella, and wrapped in salty pancetta. The rhapsody of flavours inspired by the Mediterranean also contributes to three types of peppers with stewed onions, and you can also go a little overboard with the excellent olive oil from Krasica near Buje, one of the places of intensive olive growing in Istria. The meat comes from the Gallus production near Duga Resa, so we really have Croatian poultry dishes on the table.
We also enjoyed the second main course, duck breast bruschetta served on top of excellent porcini cream and garnished with onion chips. We are happy. The duck came to the Kvarner table without being coated with the tempting but already tasted Peking sauce, but rather a legacy of old aunts and recipes that prepared duck in the Adriatic with wild citrus fruits. Soft and extremely rich with porcini mushrooms, this is a dish that will have many fans.
In slightly cooler periods, this poultry will go well with Teran Fakin, Sansigot Šipun or Testament Babić, but we still decided to accompany our lunch with the house wine, Malvasia San Martino from the eastern Istrian vineyards, whose dark relative is Merlot San Martino. Muscatels Kozlović and Damjanić will complement each other well with the rich and refined desserts, of which we tried the light but rich chocolate cake, citrus paradise lemon cream, sweet-sour plum crostata and excellent almond semifreddo.
We could say: finally! Having Zlatno krilo is a source of satisfaction and probably new expectations. Coons, geese, and perhaps today and tomorrow pheasants and wild fowl could be part of the dining experience in the unjustifiably neglected part of the culinary arts. Therefore, spread your wings to Matulji:
Restoran “Zlatno krilo”
51211 Matulji, ul. 43. istarske divizije 22a
051 896 7958, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org