Another great meal at Restaurant Kukuriku in Kastav. I love Kukuriku. I've already been his fan for a while. In Kastav, a small town close to Opatija, owner, Nenad Kukurin, has two restaurants with completely different concepts, but equally great food. One is Ostarija Pul Kukurina (changed the ownership since), serving simple local food at affordable prices, and another one is fine dining Restaurant Kukuriku, one of the first slow food restaurants in Croatia, where you can sample fresh food prepared in a creative way.
Ostarija Pul Kukurina is a perfect spot during the hot summer days. And this summer I ate there more than once. The terrace is superb, with a nice view of the sea and Kvarner Bay, with lots of trees making a natural shade. There is always a breeze, so even during the hot summer days, you can eat outside without being hot. My favorite order includes bruschetta with tomatoes, tuna salad served in a fresh tomato and fried anchovies served with homemade tartare sauce (mayo & relish).
Slow food restaurant Kukuriku is a fine dining restaurant with a completely different atmosphere. But the restaurant is a must-visit if you are in this area. There is no standard menu but instead, there is a menu du jour depending on the fresh ingredients that the chef finds at the local market that day. They offer a tasting menu but guess what, there are rarely two same tasting menus. The service is excellent, and the owner is very attentive making sure you have a great experience in any sense. Besides menu du jour, they offer a prix-fixe menu based on seasonal ingredients.
Last week when we went there, the menu was based on pumpkin and it included: homemade chicken paté, cream pumpkin soup garnished with almonds and sesame seed oil, pumpkin gnocchi with pear purée and bacon chips, duck medallions with mashed pumpkin, and pumpkin and apple pie for dessert.
I thought they really did well, the food was excellent and well presented, although by the end of the meal I did feel a bit like a pumpkin myself. Nothing to do with the restaurant, it is just my feeling toward the pumpkin. The whole menu, maybe a bit too much.