When we walked into the restaurant, I immediately felt that it was a comfortable and relaxed place to dine; kind of elegant bistro style. I liked the dark woods and intimacy of the dining room. Our welcome was warm ish but certainly efficient and that's how I'd describe the service. We were looked after by three staff members - a forthright, efficient lady but who was also personal in her approach when we spoke to her, a softer spoken waitress who was probably the junior team member and another gentleman who had a similar style to the efficient lady.
The menu was described as for sharing and it certainly had a strong Croatian and Eastern European bias to it. We decided to share every course and go with things we liked the sound of. Having said that, it was hard to choose. There were lots of delicious sounding goodies and a couple of specials too.
The soup was delicious - saltiness from the ham and then some sweetness from the corn and heartiness from the beans. Deliciously wholesome.
- House made gourmet skinless Croatian sausages served with capsicum, eggplant relish and kajmak cheese
- House made potato dumplings with rich beef ragu
The sausages had a great chargrill flavour and had a meatiness to them that wasn't too dense and heavy. I liked the capsicum relish (not sure where the eggplant was) and the kajmak cheese was like a yoghurty / sour cream dip. Two great meat dishes.
We should have finished things here but I guess we didn't know how big the dishes were.
The soft polenta was in a ball in the middle of the dish. I have to admit the polenta wasn't my favourite part of the dish and my personal thoughts would be a few braised potatoes would have been a nicer starch as an accompaniment or crusty bread. Our waitress did bring us some extra bread which was delicious soaked in the broth. I think if I wasn't so full I'd have drank every drop of that elixir.
The green beans were a delicious fresh accompaniment to the stew.
Neither of us had room for dessert in spite of Steve declaring that he wanted it! Next time hopefully now that we know how filling and big the portion sizes are. It was great to see that the restaurant was busy on the Monday night and that some of the clientele spoke in what I assumed was Croatian. I can imagine that if we lived in Port Melbourne, this would be a great neighbourhood restaurant to frequent regularly.