The magic Međimurje region, once a swamp area, nowadays one of the most advanced parts of Croatia, is proud to present its culinary offer whose leader has for years been - Mala Hiža. The town of Mačkovec is small (beware of the lazy cats lying alongside the road) but the offer of restaurants is impressive; you will rarely lack the choice as there are so many interesting dishes awaiting for you to taste.
There is a daily, seasonal and à la carte offer, something for everyone. Sunday is a family day and Hiža is swarming with people. Children are playing in the restaurant’s park, jumping on a trampoline or having fun on a swing, dressed up people celebrate birthdays and other events, cars’ registration plates reveal that there are people from as far as Hungary or the Czech Republic here… A polite waiter leaves a good impression but then comes the difficult part – what to select when you are offered marinated duck leg, lamb shank, foal rump steak or fine goulash made of wild game meat!? And this is only the first page of the menu.
The menu changes every month and nature’s pace is strictly respected. Currently, bear’s garlic and asparagus are top ingredients and since the season has only begun there are also fresh local mushrooms available – porcini and morel. Buckwheat pancakes are part of the offer, with either sweet or salty filling. An inevitable specialty is meat from tiblica, a wooden barrel, an old recipe of this region, from the times when there were no artificial preservatives. A paradise for fans of fatty dishes, ergo – the paradise.
Soups are served in generous portions and are exquisite but the quality of homemade white bread is unbeatable, something out of this world – soft on the inside, juicy and moisty enough, dark and crispy on the outside. Never better! The soup thrills; it is strong, salty, with just the right amount of mushrooms.
Of all the richness of main dishes, the specialities such as capon with sauce, braised rabbit, Međimurje style asparagus rolled in bacon and ham, taškice pasta filled with cottage cheese, baby spinach, and young garlic are definitely worth mentioning.
And to top it all off, one delicious gibanica from Međimurje (traditional pastry), slightly more tender and softer than expected, while the children at the neighbouring table gobble deep fried ice cream. Ah, youngsters! The atmosphere of an old holiday home of rich intellectuals, a dive into the past, a wonderful past with probably the best food in a hundred kilometre radius. If you want various and homemade foods, a tradition brilliantly told - Mala Hiža is definitely a place for you!