Chef’s back, relaxed and tanned. Two weeks ago we took off at lunch from Gatwick to Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital. From there we got a taxi across beautiful Lake Skadar – a national park – and arrived in late afternoon, at Petrovac, on the Adriatic coast.
In this little coast town we stayed just off the beach at the simple Danica, with a backdrop of pines one way, and the sea the other. Down on the front we admired the amazing view out to two rocky islands – one complete with a little monastery – and then walked the promenade – full of konobas (local restaurants), pizzerias and beach shops. That night we went for drinks at Terasa, jutting out over the sea, where the locals partied outside through a lightening storm.
After a couple of days relaxing on the beach, eating at the likes of Konoba SM, we got a taxi up the coast to beautiful Sveti Stefan. The mysterious island – once a fishing town, then turned into a hotel, now under redevelopment by Amanresorts – looks incredible reflected in the pure blue sea. Rumours abounded over whether it was open or closed, but either way, we admired it from a prime point just up the hill at Villa Drago, a small family hotel, where we stayed in a nautical blue room with two splendid terraces.
Over the next couple of days we walked down to the beach, had lunches of Serbian salad – local cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers – and dined out at Drago and Famelja Kentera, a favourite, with fresh sea bass for Sue, pizza for me, and beautiful fresh bread.
One day we walked round the coast, past the Queen’s beach, to pretty Przno, a little harbour town with crystalline water and two small beaches. That night we ate at Blanche, an all white modern place, where we met Susie and Vladimir, two Londoners, originally from Serbia, who we had an impromptu cognac and local wine party with.
Next up we headed north to Kotor bay where we stayed in the old town in a little apartment. We wandered the narrow cobbled streets, drank coffee on squares and watched as clouds and cruise ships drifted in and out of the mountainous bay. Fortified by eggs from Konoba Scorpion, we climbed the zig zagging paths up Mt St Ivan to the fortress (1200m up) for an unforgettable view of the bay and got back down just before a thunderstorm broke.
Originally then we’d planned to spend the rest of our time at Budva, the main coastal city, but pining for perfect Przno we had a ring around and found a luxe Kazanegra apartment built on the rocks above the sea. Based there, we still made it to Budva for a bustling night of folk dancing on the main square (not us) and drinks in the old town at Casper and Buster Keaton’s.
Then, back in Przno we found a natural home on the hired loungers by the water’s edge and spent our days swimming around the boats with breaks for salads and cappuccinos. In the evenings we continued to eat great fresh food from Konoba Zago – perfect grilled vegetables in a vine covered garden – and Konoba More – with lovely toasted bread and hoards of garlic by the sea. Of course we still made time for a pizza too, overlooking the bobbing buoys and boats.
Our last night saw a magnificent thunderstorm roll in over the hills with forks of lightening for extra effect. Then after a windswept night we opened the front door shutters for the last time and were off back to Podgorica in a cab ready to fly home. Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro. Chef’s Kiss!