Post image for Restaurant “Blu” Rovinj: a posh wannabe place with way overpriced mediocre food

Restaurant “Blu” Rovinj: a posh wannabe place with way overpriced mediocre food

by Gogo on August 25, 2010

in Restaurants

In Blu they invest too much in the design of the place and presentation of the dishes but forget the most important thing – the aroma and taste of the food. The main chef should definitely work on his precision, for example how much salt should he put in risotto, how to make a good fish stock or to take care not to mask subtle taste of fish with strong sauces. I haven’t seen any attempt to discover new sensorial territories by combining known Istrian flavors in unusual combinations.

“Go to restaurant Blu in Rovinj, you can dine right on the beach with just stars above you” – told me a friend of mine. Why not, the restaurant scene in Rovinj is still undiscovered territory for me. I call Blu to make a reservation for two and they tell me there’s still one table available outside. Lucky me, I thought! Eating seafood on the beach on a hot summer evening, this must be a dream come true.

But, as we all know, the things in life rarely turn out as you would love to.

The view on Rovinj

The restaurant is situated right on the seafront, in a pine trees forest just few kilometers North of Rovinj. As we wait to be accepted, the air soaked with the smell of the sea and pine resin puts us in a good mood. The Moon is flickering on the water surface. The tiny night waves breaking on the gravel beach caress our ears. Aaahh, the life is good…

Our Zen feeling gets only slightly ruined when a waiter explain us there’s no place  on the beach for us because something unexpected happened (?!). OK, “it doesn’t matter” – we say (we lie to her and to ourselves), and we get a table inside with a view on Rovinj settled on the horizon.

Is there some wedding going on?Do you like IKEA?

Everything here is folded in white sheets – the chairs, tables, even the ceiling – as if there is some wedding going on. Lots of candles, cheap IKEA decorations and tacky pieces of art. Obviously the intention was to create an elegant, chic and lounge atmosphere, but I am sorry, the final result is ridiculous, with clear lack of imagination and play. A typical petite bourgeoise decor. Instead, few paintings from local artists would do the job much better.
Ambient 8/10

Oil from 100% Buža olivesHomemade bread

I was cheered up by the bread that was homemade and bottle of a great extravirgin olive oil from 100% Buža olives made by family Belić.

Wine list - Restaurant Blu Rovinj

A look on prices in the wine list was a shock, but nothing unusual in Croatian restaurants. The list is scarce, devoid of any passion for wine, concentrated on local Istrian Malvasias whose retail price is about 40 kn and but here is sold four times more expensive! This was enough to decide that we will take the house wine. It was a Malvasia of good quality but again too expensive – 100 kn per liter.

We adore cold fish-based antipasti so we order two of them, while one risotto and one main dish we decide to share. Everything in the menu is quite expensive, above 120 kn (16 eur), but who knows, maybe it’s worth it.

Yeastless rosemary  focaccia

A big plus was a focaccia with rosmary and other aromatic herbs that was served as amuse bouche. A crusty, yeastless dough, delicious in its simplicity, great when soaked with delicious Belić’s Buža olive oil.
Couvert 20 kn per person; Details 8.5/10

Then we waited for the antipasti to come. Half an hour passes in a second. Our focaccia is almost finished. We keep some in case we have to wait more.

Another 15 minutes pass. Our stomachs grow loudly. We were lucky that focaccia was so huge but it only made us hungrier.

Now 5 minutes seems long as an hour. Still nothing. We decide to leave the place if they don’t bring the food in less than an hour after being ordered or 1.30 hour after our arrival.

Antoher 5 minutes. I understand this might be a slow food restaurant, that you need some time to marinate the raw ingredients, that maybe we are too inpatient, that instead of complaining we should enjoy the lounge atmosphere and the scent of IKEA candles, but a whole hour of waiting is way too much and a clear sign of poor service.

And then a miracle happened. Just as we wanted to leave, the waiter brings us the plates. Saved by the bell (focaccia, as a matter of fact).

The first antipasto is a tasting of raw fish and seafood – one oyster, two clams, both delicious and really fresh; one scampo on pineapple slice, I would prefer something that would contrast the sweetness of shrimps but OK, not bad after all; frog-fish carpaccio on rocket, an Adriatic classic, excellent; seabass carpaccio (?, not sure about the fish) in the spoon, a bit too slimy for my taste, but OK; tuna on rocket, nothing spectacular; and a shrimp tail dipped into mojito, funny idea, it was more fun to drink mojito and forget about and hour we waited than to eat the shrimp. The dish better looks than it tastes. Here are the pictures, click on them to see the full size.
Price 120 kn; Score 8/10

Crude fish and seafood antipasto
Scampi on pineappleTuna carpaccio on rocket

On the other hand, the second antipasto inclueded only processed fish and seafood ingredients – fried sardines in red marinade (sardelle in savor) were good; squid salad on rocket OK, a bit without taste; baccalà mantecato very good, according to the taste it was probably not made by the chef, but bought from Milena agrotourism; a crêpe with smoked salmon and cream cheese had a pale cafeteria taste; smoked salmon was too salty, on a limit to be uneatable.
Price 80 kn; Score 7.5/10

Classical fish-based antipasto

I should stress one inconsistency. On Blu’s web page that I checked out before coming to the restaurant, they state “Using fresh seasonal foods from local producers, chef fuses together Mediterranean cusine with typical Istrian flavor”, in other words they want to say they are a kind of zero kilometer restaurant. But hey, are there any producers of smoked salmon in Istria?!?

In just 15 minutes after we finished these antipasti, they are bringing us our risotto. Same happens with the main dish – it is served only 10 minutes after the risotto. First they make you wait one hour to get the first course, and then they feed you faster than in McDonalds?

If we put bad service aside, black cuttlefish risotto with baccalà mantecato (cream of codfish) and silver foil was the best dish of the evening. It looks fantastic, contrast between black rice and the mirrorlike surface of the silver foil is beautiful in its simplicity. It reminds me of my recipe where I combined black and white krafi (ravioli) with white and black sauces, respectively. Under the silver foil, that is by the way eatable because silver does not react with anything in our body, hides a ball of  baccalà mantecato whose creaminess and sweetness nicely melts with somewhat harsher taste of the black rice. Nevertheless, the risotto was far from perfection beacause it was too salty and it was not made with a very good fish stock.
Price 110 kn; Score 8.5

Black risotto with baccalà mantecato and silver foilBlack risotto with baccalà mantecato and silver foil

Finally, the main dish, three fish fillets – seabass covered with black olives tapenade was not bad, but too dry and the olives completely overwhelmed the subtle taste of the fish; a fillet of unknown fish covered with aromatic herbs sauce was the best part, subtle and elegant, where all ingredients are in harmony; octopus polpetta (meatball) was horrible, it did not taste at all of octopus, it seemed like it was made of soya flakes spiced with some monosodium glutamate flavor enhancer (like Croatian Vegeta).
Price 140 kn; Score 7/10

Tris of fish fillets
Seabass covered with black olives tapenadeFish fillets in aromatic herbs

It was midnight when we finished the last course. Remaining alone in the restaurant is not a nice feeling and I just asked for the bill. We did not want to spend more money in this place, after all that we tasted this evening it was almost certain we would be disappointed with the desserts (only a genius pastry chef could have saved the evening, but I doubt he works here).

The bill - Restaurant Blu Rovinj

The bill was 562 kn (78 euros), which gives a really bad quality-price ratio. All that we have eaten and drunk should cost at least 30% less, or about 400 kn. In Blu they invest too much in the design of the place and presentation of the dishes but forget the most important thing – the aroma and taste of the food. The main chef should definitely work on his precision, for example how much salt should he put in risotto, how to make a good fish stock or to take care not to mask subtle taste of fish with strong sauces. I haven’t seen any attempt to discover new sensorial territories by combining known Istrian flavors in unusual combinations.

Oh, I almost forget! If you visit Blu, don’t miss visiting their toilette, there are cinnamon scent sticks, tap in form of a through, relaxing music, it is an ultimate Zen experience, you will surely get in the good mood after the dinner :). For example, I could not suppress my laugh when I came out. I thought I am in a 1974 Luis Buñuel film “The Phantom of Liberty” full of surreal scenes, like this one that illustrates a dinner being held among members of bourgeois society.

Overall 7.5/10

Restaurant Blu
Val de Lesso 9
52210 Rovinj
phone +385 52 811 265
web http://www.blu.hr
View Restaurant and apartments Blu in a larger map

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Wineandfood4u August 27, 2010 at 09:00

nisam bio, ali mi je Blu bio u nekakvom skorašnjem planu za posjet…ove informacije mogu smo pomoći.. 🙂
nego, jesi bio u restoranu Milan u Puli? frend mi je toliko oduševljen i totalno me zapalio da moram otić…

Reply

Gogo August 27, 2010 at 09:59

Restoran Milan znam jako dobro, čak i ono što se dešava behind the scene 🙂 Naime, imam privilegiju da je prije 6 godina jedan brak spojio naše dvije obitelji, obje vrlo gurmanski nastrojene. Privilegija ima i svoje nedostatke, jer mi je bed otići kod njih u restoran kad ih tako dobro znam, a po mom sudu to je definitivno najbolji restoran u Istri. A i ne mogu ih na Manjadi na sva zvona hvaliti da ljudi ne misle da sam pristran.
Ukratko, oni su uspjeli sačuvati sve one stare okuse kuhinje južne Istre koje se ja sjećam iz djetinjstva, prenijeli su kuhinju najboljih nona na stol restorana. Drže se tradicije i ne vole eksperimentirati. Imaju svoje nasade maslina i koriste samo svoje ulje. Enoteka im je ogromna da boli glava. Svaki dan nona radi maneštru i juhu, brodet je točno onaj starinski kakav se nekad radio, kolače radi ručno mama, usluga funkcionira kao švicarski sat, profesionalnost do kranjih granica…
Zajedno sa glavnom kuharicom Katarinom radio sam maslac od maslinovog ulja sa tekućim dušikom, planiramo sad najesen početi sa daljnjim eksperimentiranjima.
Tako da ako budeš dolazio u Milan obavezno mi javi da idemo skupa, imat ću izgovor da odem u to bajno mjesto.

Reply

Wineandfood4u August 30, 2010 at 10:08

jupi! 🙂 odlično! nije 100% ali kako stvari stoje mislio sam ići onaj vikend od 17.-19.9. Čim budem siguran javim ti se! e baš super…

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: