The short boat trip to Palmižana makes a wonderful day-trip from Hvar. In the late summer, the crowds are gone, but the resort and the restaurants are still open, though much more peaceful and relaxed. We’d been looking forward for some time to a very special lunch at Laganini restaurant, to enjoy the creations of chef Hrvoje Zirojević. We wrote about Palmižana in a previous article, but Laganini deserves a separate one just for itself. Chef Hrvoje is considered one of the most innovative chefs in Croatia. His passion is for fresh local ingredients, accentuating the flavours and aromas of the Adriatic, while creating a feast for the eyes too. Of course, given that Mediterranean Cuisine from Croatia is included on the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage, we are not just stuffing our faces, we are taking part in a centuries old cultural tradition.
The restaurant itself is in a gorgeous location, right on the seafront with its own beach and boat dock, one of the coolest places to eat in Croatia. It’s a very classy place, very thoughtfully done, so everyone can enjoy that relaxed, waterside feeling in their own way. Our lunch is a lovely lingering feast for the senses. The sight of the sparkling turquoise sea between the sun-dappled trees, the sound of the lapping waves and cicadas in the pines, the relaxed feel of the comfy cushions on the big wooden chairs added to the aromas and tastes of a superbly crafted meal.What an outstanding way to spend an afternoon!
To start with, we had a glass of the local sauvignon white from St Clement island, and a Krolo Crljenak rosé. As we sat there, a beautiful two-tailed pasha butterfly came to investigate. At one point it actually got a bit too keen, and climbed right on into my rosé, so had to be rescued!
1/ Raw plate – a wonderful set of flavours, artistically arranged around a black slate for us to try in various combinations:
- Shrimp, pistachio, dust of black olives, orange
- Adriatic tuna
- Scallop chopped thinly, with purple thyme
- Oyster with green thyme
- Urchin caviar
- Molecular beads of balsamic (black) and wine vinegar (transparent)
- Chutney of pear and ginger (centre)
- Orange and onion jam (in the spoon)
- Squirt of lime juice
2/ Marinaded tuna with veggie carpaccio, served with molecular beads of balsamic and white wine vinegar, and more of that yummy pear and ginger chutney
3/ Carpaccio of swordfish with orange salsa, dust of black olives, pistachios, sun-dried tomatoes on a bed of arugula
4/ Cream of pea soup, hint of smoked fillet of seabass and toasted sesame seed
5/ Smoked seafood risotto with four-cheese ice cream
We now move to red wine – Galić no 9, a Cab/Merlot blend from Slavonia. There’s a short break in the proceedings, as we take a little walk around, himself goes to chat with friends at the next table and I get out my paints for a while.
6/ Pasta – home-made macaroni, shrimps, porcini and truffle sauce, yum! The makaruni are hand-rolled on dried fennel sticks to give them a hint of anise flavour.
7/ Grdobina tripe in a tomato/herb sauce, served with Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru. Grdobina, or monkfish, or angler fish, can be quite large. The fish is usually used for the traditional Dalmatian brujet, or fish stew. Not wanting to waste anything, Hrvoje prepares the fish tripe in a delicate tomato sauce. It would be really tough to guess it comes from a fish if one did not know. Lovely, tender, creamy, tomato-y (is that word), with slices of hard cheese on top. Yum!
8/ Lemon sorbet with vodka and prosecco. Our butterfly reappears for this course, enjoying a wee drink of sorbet from the rim of the glass.
9/ Dessert – trio of chocolate souffle, wild orange sorbet, and cannoli w/ crema di mascarpone
10/ Coffee – a minimal capuccino