Misho’s at Taringa is a Croatian restaurant with a strong seafood theme (no surprises there) but they also cover off some traditional meat dishes that are hearty and ‘just like Baba would make’. Misho’s cover all things Croatia with a selection of Croatian wines plus the (lethal) Croatian pre-starter drink, Rakija which cleanses the palette and is quite the strong start to the evening!
Growing up, I was a fussy eater and much to my dismay now, I missed out on a lot of fabulous meals made by my Croatian grandmother (my Baba) and my mother who, no doubt, learnt new ways to cook from her mother in law. One day I was eating spaghetti like the rest of the world, the next I was asking for plain rice and bread and butter. What went wrong, I will never know, but whilst the rest of the family were at Baba’s house in Broken Hill having lots of meaty dishes (including Ox tongue) plus the ever present starter – beef shin and strained vegetable soup with pasta shells, I was eating the large amount of bread available in the bread basket and only eating the soup when Baba would use vegetable stock instead of beef! These days, when I walk into a kitchen and can smell a strong beefy stock it instantly reminds me of walking into Baba’s kitchen in Broken Hill – it is a warm, homely memory – it’s just unfortunate I never enjoyed food much back then.
Back to Misho’s, now that I’m a normal eater again I ordered the Baked Octopus ($18) for my entree. The large Octopus was so soft to cut through – so much better than the baby Octopus that can be rubbery and not that great to swallow. The sauce was rich with wine and strong sea flavours.
My father had had the Squid and Octopus Polpete ($15) which is minced squid and octopus with potato, capers and olives which has been crumbed and pan fried. The patties were served on a reduction of fish, wine, cream, saffron and stock. This dish was extremely intense in terms of strong seafood flavours. It didn’t look that attractive and I think it may be a bit of a acquired taste – I love seafood but if there was a seafood meter for fishiness with 10 being extremely fishy – then this was a 10.
My mother had the Cauliflower soup with bacon ($8) and this was very thick and warming – perfect for a chilly July night.
For the mains we managed to choose some of the few meat dishes on the menu as they do predominantly favour seafood. Growing up, when we visited Baba and Dida’s, I recall there being Bakalar (salted cod) that would stink out Baba and Dida’s cellar and freak me out plus lots of octopus but other than that I do not recall seafood being an massive tradition within the family. But what would I know! I was too busy buttering my bread or scanning my eyes over Baba’s biscuits (jam and almond filled biscuits) looking for the plain ones without the jam filling of course!).
For mains, my mother and I couldn’t go past the Gnocchi (handmade by Misho’s mum) with chunky beef sauce ($18). According to mum and dad, it was just like Baba used to make it. This sauce isn’t your typical bright red tomato sauce – the colour was dark brown, rich and robust. The homemade gnocchi was firm and in the plenty. With big smiles on our faces we scrapped up every last drop of the sauce – it was simple and rich but absolutely delicious.
Dad had the Beef Pasticada ($29) which is, beef with bacon plus garlic and carrots poached in red wine and port plus served with fried gnocchi. The beef fell away at the fork and again the sauce was rich, brown and robust.
We had an excellent night at Misho’s. It is a fairly small and low key establishment but it offers a friendly and vibrant atmosphere. The customers there were clearly regulars and were having a great time. The hosts were excellent with attentive staff and I think I’ll be back often to get my dose of proper old school Gnocchi.
Shop 1/186 Moggill Rd, Taringa