St. Blaise

Howard Chen
18th Jun 2023

Ask a random person about Croatian cuisine and they most likely wouldn't be able to tell you much about it. Ask a random Sydneysider about Matraville and they most likely wouldn't be able to tell you much about it. Put them together and you might have a nice little special stew going.

Due to where it lies and the influence of its historically powerful neighbours, Croatian cuisine is very much heterogeneous and very much distinct within its mainland and its coastal regions. My first experience with Croatian cuisine was years ago when I spent a week and a half in Split and Vis in the Dalmatian region. Due to the influence of the Venetian Republic in this region, there is heavy Italian influence in the cuisine with pasta and fresh seafood.

St. Blaise in Matraville opened up early last month. The shop is named after the patron saint of Dubrovnik who according to legend, saved Dubrovnik from an attack by Venetian forces back in 971. The shop is run by Chef Vedran in an unassuming alley as a Croatian inspired local European bistro harkening back to his Dubrovnik roots. The menu changes daily and includes freshly baked focaccia.

On this day we ordered:

$25 - Buffalo Mozzarella

$15 - Roasted Chats with Truffle Mayo

$35 - Risotto Porcini and Mushroom

$35 - Sirloin, Roasted Chats

The buffalo mozzarella was great: smooth, fresh and it packed flavour with three types of tomatoes and focaccia on the side. I'd happily order this again.

The roasted chats with truffle mayo was nice but mostly in small doses. There's a lot of potato and mayo so it can get a bit rich, so I would order this again if 3 to 4 people split it.

Porcini is a staple in Croatian cuisine and this risotto did not disappoint. It had a lot of umami and it was cooked a very nice al dente, and the mountain of cheese gave it a nice contrast in flavour. I was hoping the classic crni rižot aka black risotto would have been on the menu but alas, next time. I'd order this again.

The sirloin was a bit overcooked for my personal preference but it was still juicy and had lots of flavour. I'm not against ordering this again but I can't strongly recommend it either.

All in all a very pleasant visit to
St. Blaise and a very welcome bistro to Matraville.