Saturday, 11 December 2021

Esplanade Hotel's First Street Food Menu a Delicious Hit at Fuliranje 2021

December 11, 2021 – Head chef Ana Grgić is delighting crowds - the Esplanade Hotel's first street food menu is a knockout success. The popular Fuliranje section of Zagreb Advent is the capital's culinary star in 2021. Find it at its new home on the impressive Esplanade terrace.

Sandro5.jpg© Sandro Sklepić

That familiar feel of Advent in Zagreb has returned. The strong scents of spiced, cooked wine and sausages on the grill. Music that makes you want to hang around and mingle. By day and by night, city residents and visitors alike are drawn to this terrace.

Fuliranje.jpg© Esplanade Hotel

After dark, the scene is spectacular, with seasonal lights adding to the atmosphere. But, most impressive of all is the backdrop of the Esplanade Hotel. It is their terrace that is hosting the popular Fuliranje section of Zagreb Advent in 2021. And it is the Esplanade's head chef, Ana Grgić, who has delivered one of this Christmas's best culinary highlights.

AnawithfoodbySandro.jpgChef Ana Grgić presents the Esplanade Hotel's first street food menu © Sandro Sklepić

”The idea was to make it totally different to what we already have inside the hotel on our menus,” says Ana when she sits down with Total Croatia News to introduce the Esplanade Hotel's first street food menu. “The food needs to be a little more simple, adapted to this kind of event. But, at the same time, we know that many people come to Fuliranje who are not necessarily so well acquainted with the Esplanade Hotel. So, the menu also needed to represent the hotel, its standards and offer an introduction.”

Crip2.jpgPart of the Esplanade Hotel's first street food menu © Marc Rowlands

”I know that the usual kind of street food is burgers, wraps and sausage sandwiches. But, I wanted to show that this kind of food can also be street food. So far, it's been incredibly popular. In particular, the croquettes and the beef cheeks.”

Esplanade Hotel's First Street Food Menu

crip3.jpgSlow-cooked beef cheeks, a big hit of the Esplanade Hotel's first street food menu © Marc Rowlands

”The beef cheeks are first marinated for 12 hours in red wine and vegetables. Afterwards, they are removed and seared on each side, then cooked slowly inside the replenished marinade for 5 hours. In the first 5 or 6 days since we opened, we already went through 150 kilos of beef cheeks. I bought everything they have at Dolac (Zagreb central market). Now, we have to look a bit further for what we need.”

Esplanade_Štrukli.jpgThe famous strukli of the Esplanade (this is the restaurant presentation - it's served more casually out on the terrace) © Esplanade Hotel

”We sold maybe 1000 strukli up until now. After just 3 days we'd sold 450 portions of our croquettes. There are 8 croquettes in each portion. So, that's quite a lot. Inside there is Dalmatian prosciutto and Pag island cheese. They take quite a long time to prepare at this standard. Maybe next time I should just do burgers!”

crip.jpgIf you only eat one thing at Fuliranje 2021, you simply must try the croquettes (left) from the Esplanade Hotel's first street food menu © Marc Rowlands

”We have a traditional Quiche Lorraine made with very good quality Croatian bacon (slanina). The bakalar (salt cod) is always very popular. It's a seasonal favourite here at Christmastime. On the Fuliranje terrace, we have a traditional white one and also a red one made with tomatoes. We serve it with our own focaccia, made with fresh herbs and Croatian olive oil. But, we have a special offer of bakalar in Le Bistro too – a bakalar pâté, a ravioli with bakalar, sun-dried tomatoes, broad bean and a little chilli and also a risotto.”

Chef Ana Grgić at the Esplanade Hotel Zagreb

Ana.jpgAna Grgić © Esplanade Hotel

2022 marks a milestone in the career of chef Ana Grgić. In spring, she will celebrate 10 years as Executive Chef at the Esplanade Hotel Zagreb. Today, Ana is well known to food fans all over Croatia, having appeared as a celebrated authority on Croatian TV's version of Masterchef. But, her remarkable story has rarely been written in English.

Ana was born in Brčko, which is today within Bosnia and Hercegovina. But, when war broke out, both Ana and her sister were quickly evacuated. After six months in Austria, they were returned to Croatia. The girls ended up staying with a relative in Velika Gorica, where Ana still lives today.

While waiting for their mother to join them in Croatia, Ana and her sister taught themselves how to cook. By the time Ana left school at 16, she had decided that cooking was what she wanted to do. However, with no experience, she struggled to find an opportunity. Eventually, she persuaded the head chef at the Esplanade Hotel to allow her to volunteer in their kitchens.

“I decided it was better to volunteer at a top hotel than to sit at home doing nothing,” says Ana. “After six months, they offered me a job.”

GOJ_1341.jpg© Esplanade Hotel

In the time she has been at the Esplanade Hotel, Ana Grgić has worked her way up every step of the ladder. She now holds the title of Executive Chef (Head Chef) for the entire culinary operations at the Esplanade. In detail, she personally designs menus for the hotel bar, hotel banquets for events like gala dinners and weddings, their considerable outside catering operation and for room service. Additionally, she designs the menus for each of the hotel's two restaurants.

IMG_6862fdsertgyhujk.jpg© Esplanade Hotel

Le Bistro offers traditional Croatian food and ingredients, with an emphasis on French cooking techniques and a distinctly seasonal menu. Zinfandel's restaurant is one of the best fine dining experiences in Croatia, with a menu that changes four times a year reflecting the different seasons.

During her career at the Esplanade, Ana has prepared meals for politicians such as US President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Italian President Napolitano, Austrian President Fischer, celebrities like actor Tim Roth, sportsmen Pep Guardiola, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo and entertainers like Shakira, Sade, Sting, José Carreras, Bob Geldof and Robbie Williams.

Fuliranje at the Esplanade Hotel for Zagreb Advent 2021

Sandro2.jpg© Sandro Sklepić

For enthusiasts of Zagreb Advent, local media reviews of the 2021 manifestation have been painful to read. The event has received an absolute mauling in the press. With the epidemiological situation remaining difficult to predict, on paper it made sense to plan and offer a reduced Advent. But, in a city used to being celebrated as Europe's Best Christmas Market, what's been delivered has seemingly left many disappointed. While an impressive visual theatre can be found in Upper Town and Zrinjevac, critics claim few want to hang around. And they've bemoaned an absence of quality food options.

crip6.jpgFuliranje 2021, at night © Marc Rowlands

These criticisms have been answered in the last week with the opening of Fuliranje at the Esplanade. One of the best-established sections of Zagreb Advent, in previous years Fuliranje was on Strossmayer Square. It could always be counted on for a good atmosphere, decent music and delicious food. This latest incarnation at the Esplanade Hotel is no exception.

Sandro3.jpgFrom the hotel. The grandiose terrace that holds Fuliranje is traditionally known as the Oleander Terrace. It overlooks the park and fountain in Ante Starčević square, part of a U-shaped stretch of Zagreb city centre parks known as Lenuzzi’s Horseshoe © Sandro Sklepić

In addition to the Esplanade Hotel's first street food menu, you'll find many tempting choices waiting to tantalize your tastebuds. Among them, chef Mate Janković offers seasonal handheld favourites at Sausage Institut. Ivan Pažanin's Chef’s Burgers cover the other classic choice. Good Kut is a collaboration between two Zagreb institutions – Good Food and Kut and, like newcomer Beg’s Plant Based Butchery and Deli, they offer healthy options with vivid flavours. But there are many others too.

Fuliranje at the Esplanade Hotel is open every day from 11am to 11pm until 1st January 2022.

Sandro4.jpgFuliranje at the Esplanade Hotel © Sandro Sklepić

You can find out more about what's happening there day-by-day here. For more coverage of Zagreb Advent be sure to see Total Croatia News pages here.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Stan Lee Honoured by Fuliranje Street Art at Advent in Zagreb

December 2, 2018 - Advent in Zagreb's most innovative stand does it again! A street art tribute to Stan Lee at Fuliranje by Here Be Dragons. 

There was a time in the not-too-distant past that Advent celebrations did not really exist in Croatia. The tourism season was all about the three months of sun and beach on the coast and that was it. 

Then came Advent in Zagreb, which started from very humble beginnings a decade ago, only to be voted the very best Christmas market in Europe for the last three years in a row. 

And then came Fuliranje, a fun section of Advent in Zagreb, where all the cool people tended to hang out with their innovative stands. Out with the boring old mulled wine and sausages and in with a little flair. 

And then one day, about a year ago to the day, Croatia's ultimate geek shop, Here Be Dragons, joined the Fuliranje team, putting up a fantasy Enchanted Village, which included - among other things - the original throne from THAT HBO series. 

One year later, what would those geeks get up to at Fuliranje 2018? Well, it is only Day Two, but what a fun afternoon and evening, as the Here Be Dragons team hosted the first-ever Fuliranje street art tribute. And a tribute to none other than the great maestro and recently departed Stan Lee.  


Legendary street artists Modul Osam, Chez 186 and Sarme answered the call to pay tribute to the superhero legend. Hundreds turned up to watch them in action from the announced 16:00 start, and 8 hours later, this year's Enchanted Village has been transformed.  


Using a combination of spray paints including UV, for use under black light, several thousand onlookers throughout the day took photos of the artists and posed with the life-sized Marvel characters.  As the sun went down, the exteriors of houses were swept with massive, LED wash lights typically used in major concerts and theatre production. Several large wood fire pits were lit, and some guests even brought marshmallows to roast over the fire. 

And this is only Day 2 of the Here Be Dragons presence at this year's Fuliranje... Check out more photos from today's action below.










To follow the latest crazy stuff from Here Be Dragons at Fuliranje, click here.

For more on Advent in Zagreb, follow the TCN dedicated page

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Stan Lee Street Art Tribute Tomorrow: Here Be Dragons is Back at Fuliranje, Advent in Zagreb

December 1, 2018 - Advent in Zagreb is back, and so too is Fuliranje's most innovative team - don't miss the Here Be Dragons street art tribute to Stan Lee tomorrow. 

Inspiration comes to people in different ways, but I guess if you have five superheroes standing in your living room and their creator had recently died AND you had a stand at Europe's best Christmas market, the idea of combining all three might come to most of us mere mortals. 

Of course, not all of us have the kind of lifestyle or geekiness that would result in five superheroes standing in our living room. 

Welcome to a sneak peak into the private world of Croatia's geekiest and - dare we say it - one of its more successful stores, Here Be Dragons. 

We have reported on these geeks a little over the last year or so. How they crowded out Tkalca opening their new store earlier this year


Or how they took Advent in Zagreb by storm last year with their Enchanted Village, going the extra mile and even bringing an original throne from THAT HBO series. 

It was too much to expect the geeks to take this December off, and Here Be Dragons are back at Fuliranje with an improved enchanted village and lots more fun and games over the next few weeks. 

Starting tomorrow, as the geeks themselves explain:

"Here Be Dragons, Croatia’s premier geek shop, invites you to join us for the opening of our latest installation and retail outlet at Fuliranje on Strossmayer Square. Many of you came to our Enchanted Village last year which featured The Iron Throne from Game of Thrones and was powered by HBO GO. This year we're excited to announce an all-new presentation which opens with a street art tribute to the late Stan Lee, legendary creator of Marvel Comics, and characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and so many more.


"Our advent celebration will kick off with our opening party on Sunday, December 2nd and will feature the works of three of Croatia’s most talented street artists, Miro Modul Osam, Chez 186, and Sarme. The event begins at 4pm, at which time you’ll be invited to watch our team of amazing artists transform Here Be Dragon’s village with UV-painted graffiti murals in homage to Lee and his Marvel Universe.

"We’re excited for Fuliranje 2018 and can’t wait to see you there throughout this year’s epic advent celebration.

For more on Here Be Dragons, follow them on Facebook

For more on Advent in Zagreb, click here.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Who's the Champion of Advent in Zagreb 2017?

Visitors have voted for their favourite location at Advent in Zagreb, and the winner is...

Friday, 22 December 2017

Enchanted Town ''Here Be Dragons'' & HBO GO present Iron Throne from Game of Thrones at Fuliranje

Another addition to Fuliranje in Zagreb!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Advent in Zagreb: Fun-Filled Christmas Eve at Fuliranje!

Before you brave the holiday chaos, pay a visit to Fuliranje for the last round of fooling around before Christmas

Monday, 18 December 2017

Hov-Hov Restaurant for Dogs Opens at Fuliranje in Zagreb!

Love dogs? So does Zagreb!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Calling All Potterheads: Christmas Magic in Enchanted City at Advent in Zagreb

This year's Advent in Zagreb has a magical twist to it: created by Here Be Dragons with some help from the Ministry of Magic Croatia, an Enchanted City awaits at Fuliranje - and it's sure to fill all fantasy fans with glee

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

A Tale of a Little Square in Zagreb Centre; or has Fuliranje Finally Found its Home

When a person living in Zagreb tells you about the place called "Stross", they can be thinking of two distinct (and quite distant) places in the city centre. This is a story of a square in downtown Zagreb, between Zrinjevac and Tomislav's Square.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Advent in Zagreb Comes of Age: A Closer Look at Fuliranje, the Centre of Fun

Advent in Zagreb was voted the Best Christmas Market in Europe for the third year in a row on December 12, 2017. But this time it was different. 

Page 1 of 2