Although I do not pride myself on knowing all the restaurants in Split, I did think I had at least heard of all the ones in the centre. Which is why I was a little surprised to walk past a place called Bisto Samurai on my way to a meeting this morning.
Bistro Samurai sounded about as Croatian as Friday night in a nightclub in Newcastle. And so it proved...
Intrigued, I went to investigate further and came across something I thought I never would in Split - seemingly a real Japanese restauirant with a range of enticing sushi.
Open from 11 - 23, so it said on the door, so I hurried back later to see if I could glean any more information, and I was warmly greeted by a very engaging elderly Japanese gentleman who is the owner of Split's newest restaurant, now open for a full three days. Originally an engineer in the car industry, he first came to Split six years ago and has been a regular visitor ever since. There is something different about Split, about Croatia, an opinion shared by his nephew who was visiting from America, and his wife. The idea to start a business was born, and so the story of Split's first authentic Japanese restaurant begins...
It is ten years since I lived in Hiroshima, and a flood of memories and yearnings came back as I scoured the menu with my luncheon partner, herself an accomplished sashimi maker from her fishing past in Australia, and also suffering from sushi depravation.
One of the first things that struck me about the restaurant was how clean and simple it was in its layout - appealing. Some nice authentic Japanese touches. It is quite small, perhaps 8-9 tables, but the simple ambiance was definitely an attraction.
In addition to the sushi offerings, there is also a daily menu, with prices a lot less than I was expecting.
Some impressive fusion - Dalmatian prsut meets Japanese sushi...
We opted for a bowl of miso soup each, and a portion of the tuna and salmon nagiri, washed down with a beer and water respectively. Wasabi... a taste I have missed. The food was very good and, as we left with a total bill of 95 kuna, it will not be long before I am back for a more extensive examination of the menu.
It is great to see such an international addition to the Split gastronomic scene, which is a little limited in its international choices for such a big tourist city, and I wish the owners well in their project. Given the recent opening, websites etc are a little premature, but to reach Samurai, go to Prokurative at the end of the riva and Bistro Samurai is in the street behind Hotel Bellevue in at the front of the square. A nice find.