February 4, 2019 - The Hotel Regent Pop Up Restaurant is ready to welcome gourmands and excellent chefs of Boka Bay; which they proved with a presentation of the degustation menu “Montenegro Inspired” organized on the last day of January. By the end of March, the Pop Up Restaurant will offer their guests an entirely new line to present the selection of Bokelian and dishes of Boka Bay hinterland. The jury will choose among 35 recipes from local masters of the kitchen who responded to the hotel management's invitation to share their knowledge in a joint mission of the presentation of the best local gastronomic tradition to hotel’s guests, coming from all over the world.
Regent Selection- Montenegrin Plate, photo by Zoran Radonjic
The concept of the contest, which involves joining the local gastro masters, the management of the hotel Regent has been delightfully linked the Regent franchise philosophy in the presentation of the local gastro-culture, and the need for a display of typical Bokelian cuisine, which is still not the base of Boka Bay’s culinary offer. The best recipes will be chosen in the categories of appetizer, main course, and dessert to be found on the Pop Up Restaurant menu and thus present the local cuisine in the best possible way. Indeed, with this concept, Regent aims to offer a special attraction for an authentic experience – guests will have the chance to enjoy gathering with chefs who will represent their recipes to the top culinary masters at Regent Hotel.
"It's not our intention to steal recipes, we intend to get together, invite local chefs and good housemakers to join us in the kitchen, give it energy and typical tastes and smells of Boka," said Elena Ljiljanić, PR Hotel Regent, behind this idea.
Photo by Zoran Radonjic
The fact is that when it comes to the gastro tradition of Boka Bay, apart from the narrow palette of fish and seafood dishes, in essence, we do not often have the opportunity to try typical Bokelian cuisine in most of the restaurants. Elena is first of all the descendant of the two old local families. It's why she mixes in the hotel kitchen and puts the skills of her grandma at her colleague's disposal.
"We move somewhere away from our tradition. We've lost generations without taking over from them. A lot of wonderful recipes go into oblivion. There are still plenty of families who cherish the local cuisine in their dining room, but it does not find its way to the restaurant," explains Elena about the motif to devote to the search for top quality Bokelian foods.
Regent's Team of Chefs, photo by Zoran Radonjic
At the presentation of the "Montenegro Inspired" concept, the team of chefs showed great craftsmanship, succeeding in catching the smells that spread from the huts of Boka, while Brodet or Gulaš steams from the plate. In Bokelian cuisine, indispensable Polenta in the hotel offer has long had a place in the form of crunchy balls spiced up with the local herbs. From the well-known gourmet chef of Boka, Mašo Čekić, we heard that Bokelians collected the herbs mainly from the slopes of Mount Lovćen. Mašo's comment, the chefs, waited with the most impatience.
Maso Cekic, famous journalist, Chef and gastro blogger of Boka Bay, Photo by Zoran Radonjic
"When it comes to Boka, the first thing we look at in a Bordet is the density. Unlike Dalmatian, French, or any other Mediterranean bulb, the Bokelian's is thick, which we do not need to try to achieve by adding flour. You have reached an excellent taste and density. You used a few types of white fish just as right. It's great that you put shrimp in Brodet. In Venice, the Bokelian Brodet differed in that it contained shrimps," Mašo pointed out, praising the Regent’s chefs to serve the Polenta, which was an inevitable daily meal of the inhabitants of Boka Bay for centuries.
Brodet with crispy polenta with Mediterranean herbs, Photo by Zoran Radonjic
"Elena informed me that we were welcoming guests with excellent knowledge of Bokelian kitchen and trends in gastronomy. I was under pressure to show what we have prepared with our F & B manager Željko Knezović as a presentation of our intent and way which we would like to present to the guests Bokelian and Montenegrin cuisine," said Srđan Begović, the chef in charge of preparing the menu's contents. Each sequence was complimented by guests, including favorite gastro bloggers Damir Moškov (Damirove Gastrolomije) and Danijela Lazovic (hedonista.me).
Honey and cheese, Old Montenegrin Tradition, Photo by Zoran Radonjic
The chefs took care of the best selection of appetizers on a Montenegrin plate, including Lovcen prosciutto, cuts of locally sourced sausages, beef prosciutto; choice of Montenegrin farm cheese paired with roast pepper and marinated olives. From respect for ancient Montenegrin customs, with the cheese selection, chefs offered honey, served extremely attractive in beekeeping slices.
Beef Stew, Photo by Zoran Radonjic
After serving Brodet, the guests ate Beef Stew, made of beef fillet with red wine and rosemary. Particularly tasty was the slow-cooked Smoked Pork Shank.
Elena herself entered the kitchen to prepare a sweet treat for generations of Bokelian children for centuries. She was making one of the special Bokelian candies after Sunday lunch- Rozata.
"Regent is always proud of the local gastronomy or any heritage that we can incorporate into our offer with a twist, charm, definition and visual presentation of five-star hotels. However, in conversation with my colleagues and to the people close to me who are great cooks, gourmets, and gastro nomads, I realized that link was missing. It was the source and idea of our story, our contest or prize game of Pop Up Restaurant. The prize game we've talked about is not that we, like Regent, come for free to the recipe, but to save some things from oblivion," says Elena.
According to her, at the Regent they are working with young people who are ready to learn and that the guests who come from all over the world and who are sometimes there to taste wine, will try some different tastes, so it is excellent show the best of the local offer.
Montenegrin Food Blogeer, Danijela Lazovic
"There is a huge recommendation in the world when you say that somebody gave you an original recipe, that you prepared a meal from an old recipe, and praise the one who gave you his. What we want to represent is the responsible gastronomy, which means that we use the products of our local producers to create our offer. Also, I'd like to get a recipe for orange flower juice, which I just heard of. If someone has learned how to make myrtle liquor, black vine liqueur, rose liqueur, and all the nice desserts we have made in everyday life, that would be wonderful," explains Elena Ljiljanić, PR Manager at Regent Hotel.
Hotel Regent Porto Montenegro Director, Kai Dieckmann, liked the dishes, which he had no chance to try before.
"I see us as an internal part of the community in Tivat and the center of Porto Montenegro. It would be a shame if we were not to promote the local food and the local cuisine. Of course, in the winter time, most of our guests are regional, so they appreciate the food because they know it. In summer, most of our guests come from UK and US, and they come here to taste the local cuisine, so it is essential to have local gastro tradition included in our offer. I am looking forward to the season and to promote more of Montenegro's food," said Director of Hotel Regent, Kai Dieckmann.
Smoked Pork Shank, Photo by Zoran Radonjic
"Our goal is that when a guest comes, next to the destination, the location, and the views, the first next step leads to the gastronomy. My intimate and professional goal is to position Boka, Montenegro and the whole Balkans as a gastronomic destination, which it essentially is, but the voice of it has not yet arrived in the world," concludes Elena.
"My team and I have learned a lot in communicating with the authors of the meals, and we met with the name 'Numido', the difference between Brodet from Muo and Bokelian Brodet and 'sweet secrets' guaranteeing a good homemade walnut pie," said Zeljko Knezovic, Food and Drink Manager from the Regent, and added:
"It will not be easy to decide the best appetizer, meals, and desserts and we will share this information with the public by Friday, 8 February. With great pleasure we will reward the three best authors, sign them on the official restaurant menu and transfer the story of their virtuosity to the hotel's Regent guests. Also, we look forward to a special evening that will be created exclusively from the delivered recipes and prepared with the recipe authors."