Sino Strbad and Zoe Hertelendi are owners of the recently opened restaurant Platform 61 on South William Street in the heart of Dublin City. This Croatian duo have received rave-reviews on Menupages since opening. Platform 61 is an experience for any foodie looking for something new in classic Mediterranean and Irish dishes. Menupages had the pleasure of meeting them on a quiet afternoon, around an espresso in their ‘Underground’ restaurant, whose name is inspired by Andy Warhol.
Your food has been heavily influenced by your childhood. Can you tell me more about that?
Sino: Basically, I started to be interested in food at a young age, when I was fishing and hunting with my grandfather in Croatia. We would cook fish and meat together after the hunt and this taught me many things about food and nature too.
Zoe: We come from Croatia, the part between Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria in the North. The food influence is pretty much from…
Zoe: Well, more Austria and Hungary. So more spicy food and lot of meat.
You cook traditional Croatian dishes. Why did you decide to be specialised in that type of cuisine in particular?
S: The cuisine translates well and no one is really cooking it here. There are many Croatians in Dublin now so sometimes they come, ask “can you make this”, like special Croatian dishes.
What are the basics of this type of food?
S:I think it’s a mix of everything. Because it takes some inspiration from Italia, Turkey, Austria and Hungary. It’s a fantastic mixture.
How do you describe your way of cooking?
S: I love to make simple dishes with three or four strong flavoured ingredients.
Do you have a particular dish you enjoy cooking the most?
S:I love to cook fish dishes in general. Fish is a very simple food, very healthy and easily cooked. The grill is the bes way to cook it as So my best way to make it is on the grill, because you keep more natural flavours of the fish.
Where do you find your inspiration for your dishes?
S: Every holiday I go to Spain, Croatia or Italia or whenever, I take some dishes, just twist and try to do something different with other ingredients.
Which experience in your career has had the biggest impact on you?
S: Basically, I started with my grandmother to cook and then when I arrived in Ireland 14 years ago, I undertook courses here in the evening and working as a Chef during the morning. That’s how I learnt the job. Denis (Chef for the Beckett & Bull located in Ranelagh) has taught me a lot over the years.
What plans do the restaurant have for Xmas and 2016?
S: For Christmas we are gonna be a little bit more Irish! So we are gonna cook some turkey, play with figs and honey. We are also gonna have Irish Christmas pudding.
Can you describe Platform 61 in one sentence?
S: How about two words; “must try”.
What have you made of the Irish food industry?
S: I think the quality of food in Ireland is high. And I don’t speak only about Irish food as I like to buy all types of ingredients, Chinese, middle eastern etc. Ireland’s landscape is ideal for farming and that has an impact on the produce.
Photos by Manon Gustave