Hiša Polonka: frico, sausage and beer, but with Ana Roš

The Slovenian chef and her husband Valter opened a simple, purely traditional tavern in Kobarid

22-11-2017

Together with Tania Mauri we visit Hiša Polonka. Valter Kramar and wife Ana Roš opened this simple Slovenian tavern in Kobarid

Making people rediscover traditional Slovenian cuisine in Slovenia. This is the goal of Valter Kramar, husband of the great Ana RošBest Female Chef for the World's 50 Best 2017. He’s a sommelier, a selector of raw materials, especially cheese, and runs the cellar at Hiša Franko in Kobarid, a few kilometres from the Italian border.

Valter Kramar at Hiša Polonka (photo odprtakuhinja.si)

Valter Kramar at Hiša Polonka (photo odprtakuhinja.si)

A few months ago, however, he opened a place of his own, called Hiša Polonka, also in the heart of Kobarid – Caporetto in Italian. This lovely town is in a strategic position in the valley of Isonzo, at a crossroad of different cultures, and is famous for the World War 1 battle. It is surrounded by lush vegetation where one can go on long walks and discover uncontaminated immaculate places.

Ana Roš with Caterina Ceraudo recently at Identità New York (see also Ana Roš and Caterina Ceraudo: frontier-chefs)

Ana Roš with Caterina Ceraudo recently at Identità New York (see also Ana Roš and Caterina Ceraudo: frontier-chefs)

It’s a known fact that open air activity gives you an appetite: and Hiša Polonka is a good solution for a rich and tasty meal. We could say this is the tavern where Valter offers excellent local cuisine at honest prices, and where dishes are born from old family recipes, sometimes retouched by the talented Ana.

A tasting of Tolminc cheese in different periods of maturation

A tasting of Tolminc cheese in different periods of maturation

These dishes are simple and delicious, they remind of home and of history. They’re made with local ingredients, excellently selected and combined raw materials, and paired with local craft beers and wines. Valter takes personal care of searching suppliers of meat and cured meat, and of mountain cheese with raw milk which he refines in his cellars; indeed here you can also find an interesting dish of Tolminc cheese of different ageing periods.

Dining with Ana Roš, what with wines and a dish of frico

Dining with Ana Roš, what with wines and a dish of frico

Gnocchi of ricotta with butter and chives

Gnocchi of ricotta with butter and chives

The "dish of memory" at Hiša Franko, that is to say English style roast beef in the menu since 1973

The "dish of memory" at Hiša Franko, that is to say English style roast beef in the menu since 1973

Struccoli from Kobarid

Struccoli from Kobarid

The menu has few, rich and hence very reassuring dishes, capable of pleasing the palate and give lots of happiness. A few examples? The “banal” bruschetta with mountain ricotta and candied tomato; the inviting frico, a dish that initially looks like pizza but is in fact made with cheese and potatoes (it is very popular in Friulan tradition as well); delicate and super soft gnocchi of ricotta with butter and chives; diced polenta seasoned with hot ricotta and fried pancetta; venison goulash with bread soufflé; sausage with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes; and the "dish of memory" from Hiša Franko, that is to say English-style roast beef in the menu since 1973. Or the famous struccoli from Kobarid, which have a dedicated festival: these small cakes are filled with walnuts, raisins and spices and are boiled and served with melted butter.

Many wines, as well as an excellent selection of beer

Many wines, as well as an excellent selection of beer

It’s a heart-warming place. You cannot make reservations, but can drop by and see if there’s a table and while you wait you can have a nice glass of wine and chat with the other guests waiting, without disturbing, in the cosy room at the entrance. Indeed here hospitality, smiles and warmth are the watchword for everyone. 
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Hiša Polonka
Gregorciceva ulica 1, Kobarid, Slovenia
Closed on Wednesdays


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