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Dubrovnik Restaurant KL,
J-0G-14, Solaris Mont Kiara,
2, Jalan Solaris,
Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: (03) 6203 6780
Fax: (03) 6203 6780 or
e-mail: dine@dubrovnikrestaurantkl.com.
For more details, visit www.dubrovnikrestaurantkl.com.
Open: Tuesday-Sunday, 11.30am-11.00pm.
Closed Mondays.

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On a potentially dull day, our writer rediscovers the comfort of carbs.

It was one of those Wednesdays. You know, when the mid-week lethargy envelops you like superior cashmere at an insipid cocktail event. The warmth is greatly comforting in a freezing room but the company of the people around you is mind-numbing.

Lord Restrain and I were getting on each other’s nerves, so to defuse the about-to-blow row, we agreed that dinner out might take the edge off the friction.

“Let’s try somewhere new,” I ventured.

“Where can we go without getting stuck in traffic or driving for miles, and easily find a space to park?” he replied, in questioning mode.

Sigh.

The three-year-old Dubrovnik in Solaris Mont Kiara is the only Croatian restaurant in Malaysia. Not only did the drive there check all the above boxes, it also looked inviting in the early evening. Dimmed lights, lounge sofas and dining spaces that allow for distance and discretion…

Dubrovnik’s extensive menu of authentic Euro-Med dishes, using traditional recipes from Spain, France, Greece, Italy and Croatia, will please many a picky palate. Croatian chef Zoran Djumic — a Malaysia veteran of more than a decade — runs the kitchen, while daughter Dina takes care of everything else.

We concurred, without any dispute, that we would begin our meal with the Appetizer Platter (RM55), consisting of Okruglice, Strukli, Palacinke and Mixed Green Salad. It was a pity that we had polished off the fresh, wood-oven-baked bread earlier. This came with a traditional, slightly spicy salsa. Though a little too chilled for the Lord’s liking, this tomato-filled and generously chilli-sprinkled salsa, was zesty. Just the right consistency, too, to layer the thickly sliced, textured bread.

E91DAA92F9D84EA6B82A9EC17F66BAB4An appetiser platter of Okruglice, mixed green salad, Strukli and Palacinke.

This large platter should be, especially to newcomers to Croatian cuisine, a great conversation starter. But we were only two that evening and not speaking much. Still, the four small portions of starters offered the consummate comfort food: traditional recipes filled with carbs and cheese, and fried, too!

The Lord pronounced the Palacinke (crépes filled with cream cheese and baked in a wood oven with egg and a cream topping) five-star: fluffy, flavourful and filling.

The Strukli (fresh cheese dumplings, pan-fried with bread crumbs and served with sour cream) came beautifully layered. Although a little too oily for me, the small bites were tasty morsels. The cutlet-style Okruglice (fried crab meat with mashed potatoes and herbs) was a novel taste, especially with the accompanying tangy tartar sauce. Once again, however, I wished it had not been so greasy. It would only add to the waistline.

“Live a little,” he preached. “Or you can just finish up the lettuce,” he suggested, still scraping the crispy bits of egg and cheese off the Palacinke bowl.

The mains menu is meat heaven, with plenty of lamb, chicken and fish cooked by a myriad of means: wood oven, grill, hot stove.

For variety, we chose to share the Spaghetti Alla Buzara (RM34) and Sarma (RM38). The large prawns deposited on a bed of handmade pasta — tossed in light garlic, parsley, Croatian extra-virgin olive oil and white wine sauce — were succulent and fresh. Generous portions, yes, but it lacked bite, with barely a hint of the wine sauce. The Lord and his Lady do love pizza and pasta and would have welcomed a bit of a sizzle tantalising our taste buds.

The Sarma, when it arrived, was cause for concern. Half of the deep dish was covered in red gravy and the other half dressed up in pretty florets of what appeared to be baked mashed potatoes.

The Lord silently forked the wavy wafts of potato, while I hesitantly prodded the rich sauce to discover what lay beneath. Two traditional Croatian sour cabbage rolls filled with minced beef and rice cooked in tomato gravy.

E546827BB0AB4A5A872AF162918B3300Natter the hours away in this nook.

Cooked together, the rice and beef were spiced just right, while the sour cabbage yielded its contents as soon as it touched the tongue. The sauce did look heavy, but in fact turned out light. The minimally browned mash added the right amount of creamy aftertaste. “It’s a fill-your-boots kinda meal,” said he, giving it a spectacular thumbs-up.

Our courtship (a rather long one, I might add) used to revolve around coffee and cake. We love our desserts, and not necessarily at the end of each meal. So when our waiter, the unobtrusive yet effusive Nhel (“from Chinatown in Manila”) recommended the Royal Chocolate Cake (RM17), we took him at his word, and took a slice.

Our faith was not misplaced, and our smiles turned bright and wide, as soon as this divine cake passed our lips.

The creamy textured, bitter chocolate top sitting on a crunchy hazelnut praline base was indeed luscious. The balance between not-so-sweet upper layer, filled with velvety goodness (or badness — depending on one’s perspective) and the crisp, nutty base was flawless. As was the presentation.

After admiring the cake’s beauty, then sampling its heavenly but sinful combination, we were happy again. We topped it off with an RM8 Americano for me (no sugar, no milk) and a Cranberry and Pomegranate Tea (RM12) for the wannabe toff. Even our eyes were smiling, and soon I heard laughter.

But it was just us. No one else graced the restaurant that evening, which was a pity. Just like the by-the-glass Chianti (RM24) we had ordered at the beginning of the evening.

“When in doubt, white is right,” his Lordship proclaimed.

We will return, surely, to sample the Chicken or Lamb Peka (RM45/55), a traditional Croatian marinated meat, cooked under an iron bell for three hours in the wood-fired oven and served with juicy baked potatoes.

For weekdays, a two-day advance order is required, but they prepare it specially for the weekends. Set Lunch menu is at RM15++, plus 20% off food items from Tuesday to Thursday.

Overall, the meal was what we had been looking for: novel and unexpected. Experimental tastes for me, while the Lord was pleased to re-visit his favoured European plates. The perfect way to end a Wednesday.

Lady Gasak fears the very thin line she treads between vanity and gluttony.

 

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