Mirko knows a thing or two about Hotel Dubrovnik Palace and Tavern Maslina, after all he has been a part of the team for over 27 years as both man and boy. Today, following an expensive refurbishment, Mirko gives us a mini tour of his second home’s new look before depositing us at our table at the Palace’s Tavern Maslina restaurant, right at the water’s edge on the spectacular Lapad Peninsular.
Just calling it spectacular is doing it an injustice frankly, for this is a view that will live long in the memory; a stunning seascape of small islands bathed in the amber glow of an impending sunset with a lone fishing boat slowly making its way across the bay. It’s like the perfect ending to a movie just before the credits roll. It really is breathtaking.
The dinner gets off to a perfect start for me when a bottle of legendary Frano Milos Croatian olive oil appears to accompany the freshly baked breads. Unashamedly obsessive about olive oil, this is like a gift from the gods for me. A starter of succulently fresh shrimp wrapped in bacon, gran padano cheese and rocket for my dinner companion is a total delight, whilst my board of Croatian antipasto was a like delving into a treasure trove of seemingly endless cured meats and local cheeses. Washing down with a crisp glass of chilled Posip ensures the first courses are a triumph.
On the advice of our waiter, the Jon Dory is the stand out star of the show for Mrs M, gloriously grilled on a bed of spinach, whilst the Tournedos that appears on my plate is a succulent fillet cooked to the precise colour as ordered.
By now night has fallen inky black, the previous view just a wonderful memory and our attention is diverted to Taverna Maslina’s other guests. The table next to us is taken by a delightful Scandinavian family tucking into a hearty fruit de mer their plastic bibs already showing the scars of battle, and further along the water’s edge another couple enjoying a champagne toast.
Tavern Maslina has all the boxes ticked for me; fine dining without stuffy formality, a varied and affordable menu of modern Dalmation/Mediterranean cuisine to suit just about any taste, an excellent front of house team who are attentive without being intrusive, and of course a front row seat to one of Mother Nature’s most heavenly vistas. With Dubrovnik’s old city often so crowded, make a diversion to the serenity of the Lapad Peninsular and let yourself fall into the waiting arms of Tavern Maslina.
Croatia’s spectacular coast is finally beginning to emerge as a worthy rival to the Italian Riviera, free of its communist era shackles particularly in Dubrovnik where there are more 5 star hotels than anywhere else in Croatia. And topping this particular stellar collection is ALH (Adriatic Luxury Hotels) with 12 luxury properties including Hotel Dubrovnik Palace.
Getting to Dubrovnik
British Airways currently operates 8 flights weekly from Gatwick to Dubrovnik The lead-in regular fare is £151.09 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges with hand baggage only fares from £119.09, both these levels are not now available until late October. Club Europe fares start from £401.09 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges, but again restricted availability during the summer may result in a higher fare.To book or for more information visit www.ba.com or call 0844 4930787.
Gatwick Express, the non-stop rail-air service between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport, departs every 15 minutes with a journey time of 30 minutes. Gatwick Express is the fastest and best way to travel between central London and Gatwick Airport with return tickets starting from £27.40. With an ongoing 10% discount, it is always cheaper to buy your ticket online at www.gatwickexpress.com
if you have an early flight stay the night at Gatwick, Holiday Extras offers discounted great value airport room only rates and a luxurious way to mitigate the discomforts of rising at dawn to catch
that early plane. www.holidayextras.co.uk Tel: 0800 1313 777