Croatian cuisine on Kolocep.
We got a chance to sit down and speak with Ruđer Jelavić, chef and owner of Villa Ruza, where he walked us through his daily routine, how he chooses a menu and what inspires him to cook with the same passion he did when he first started, way back when naysayers were quick to remind him that opening outside of Dubrovnik would fail. Looking at the location now you wouldn’t know how that could even be possible. As it relates to most of the people we spoke with in Croatia he doesn’t have time to waste doing something he doesn’t love and his devotion shows through with his concept on Kolocep.
There is a simple elegance in the place, and the view is a flurry of emerald green and aqua blue, as Villa Ruza is set smack dab in the center of a loving little cove that just invites you to nestle up close to that special someone and watch the dwindling rays of sunset stain the Adriatic. In fact, the scenery is so painstakingly gorgeous that Jelavić himself was married in the courtyard. The sea harvested wine bottles on display are the remains of what we can only imagine having been an amazing evening.
Chef Ruder lead us on an expedition of food and wine based on his personal preferences. We never saw a menu, we just sat back and let him and his staff be our guides. It was a beautiful progression of flavors and everything that came to the table complimented its predecessor. To arrive by boat and sit there on that seascape patio for what would be our last dinner in Croatia was one of the most memorable dining experiences we had this past summer.