Do you have something specific in mind or shall we talk about it, asked the waiter after our arrival at the Johnson Restaurant in Mošćenice, near Mošćenička Draga. The agreement was quick. As soon as he mentioned the morning catch of anchovies, raw, marinated with just a little lemon so that their fillets lit up, there was no dilemma about the starter.
Before the anchovies, the olive oil arrived, with no label, just the recommendation to try it. It was local, from the neighbourhood, and its excellent, delicate aroma and taste, rounded off the delightful little oily, blue fishes perfectly. Anchovies, the most underrated fish, which, thank God, can be enjoyed for a small amount of money, had retained their original flavour. This is also the idea of the owner of Johnson – that fish and seafood are served the same day that they are caught and prepared in the simplest way possible.
The main dish, also from the morning catch, was also blue and oily. The mackerel arrived after a discussion about the various names for this fish along different parts of the coast. The richness of terminology on our coast often causes dilemma about the word for this fish, because different words are used for the same name, and vice versa, however this was undoubtedly a mackerel.
And undoubtedly a fine mackerel. Cooked quickly, so that it stays juicy, and in doing so the skin is left to one side the fillet was not rubbery, but very easy to cut and eat. The fillets were served on a slow cooked and thickened fish stock with some excellent polenta as a side dish and with salad from the garden behind which the green leaves and red fruits of tomatoes grow on a plot alongside the restaurant.
Only the cake wasn’t blue, but it was colourful. A red crème of raspberries served on a light brown firm chocolate base made without flour, covered with cream and dark brown leaves of chocolate and decorated with a scoop of homemade hazelnut ice cream.
The wine list was well thought out. Carefully chosen Istrian wines of various styles dominated, in order to accompany each dish that they prepare here. The selection of wines from other parts of Croatia was nice. They complemented the styles that Istria doesn’t have, whilst the imported wines present the categories which are not produced in Croatia. The restaurant is on the road and there is no sea view, but due to the quality of the food and friendly prices one leaves with the wish to return as soon as possible.
Author of photography: Nel Pavletić Gorički/PIXSELL