It’s been a bumper few months since I joined BGP last November so in June I joined the 15 million Brits who visit Croatia every year for a well-earned fortnight in the Mediterranean sunshine.
My family and I stayed in Gata, a small village in the Mosor Mountains with views down into the small port town of Omis at the mouth of the Cetina River. Although full of fantastic historic stoned buildings, today Omis is geared towards holiday-makers and the moderate 15,000 population triples in the summer months.
As a result of this tourist influx, this is a town with abundant eating and drinking options but as ever some are better than others! However, by far our favourite places to eat were sister establishments Pujliz and Bastion, run by the same family and located in the historic centre of the old town.
Our first discovery was Puljiz, nestled in a shady courtyard in the old town. Here, we shared Chateaubriand cooked perfectly medium rare, as delicious as any I have ever tasted in London.
Following the overwhelming success of Pujiz by locals and visitors alike, the family opened Bastion close to the seafront. Embracing the harbour location, we indulged in a platter of seafood, grilled fish with seasonal vegetables as well as freshly caught seabass, monkfish.
But whilst the food was delicious and the restaurants comfortable and in attractive locations, it was the service which encouraged us to make our repeat visits. They managed the perfect blend of attentiveness without being too much and managed the same family feel for both.
This was particularly appreciated by my three-year-old son and sausage fanatic. Sausages may not have been on the menu but they went to such lengths as to fashion some steak to look like one!
Holiday restaurants are often easily forgotten no quicker than the hire car gets dropped back but these have stayed with me and my family. These restaurants really felt like they were family-run which could be felt in the service and tasted in the food.
Of course, London’s restaurant scene is very different to a town like Omis but it gave me food for thought on the integrity of expansion. From Puljiz’s success came Bastion and whilst they’ve managed to create a point of difference between them with the food and location they have also seamlessly managed to maintain the atmosphere and feeling that can so often get lost in expansion.