Travel: Wine and Dine the Many Flavors of Malta – Ta’ Kris
Republic of Malta, a small European country south of Sicily, Italy, wasn’t exactly on my list when I was planning for my spring trip this year, but since my short stay at this beautiful historical island,country, Malta leaves me some of the the best memories for this whole trip. The whole story begins when my boyfriend and I decided to take a sailing cruise in the western Mediterranean islands, which started out from the port of Malta… and that’s when we realize that it is the perfect opportunity to explore this precious country.
We stayed in the town called Sliema, which is on a peninsula across Marsamxett Harber from Valletta, the Capital City of Malta. Sliema and the coastline up to the town of St. Julian’s is considered Malta’s main costal resort and is ringed with modern apartments and restaurants. During the sunny Saturday afternoon while we were there, the streets were filled with both tourists and locals dinning among the outdoor cafes and enjoying the beauty ocean view. We wanted to experience the authentic local flavors, and Ta’ Kris Restaurant & Maltese Bistro was the restaurant that was highly recommended by our hotel concierge, so that’s where we decided to visit.
Right off the busy main streets and tucked in the side alley, Ta’ Kris sets in one of Sliema’s oldest bakeries, it is not hard to find at all if you follow your nose to find the aroma of beautiful homemade cooking. The restaurant is all about providing genuine and affordable Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine in a homely fashion and rustic surroundings. With pots and pans hanging on the bright yellow wall right next to the traditional oven and a collection of local decorative items throughout the restaurant, the interiors is charming, yet casual and inviting.
We started our meal with a bottle of dry Rosé that’s locally produced, and an order of Octopus in Garlic as appetizer. We always order octopus dishes when we visit Mediterranean countries, since it is something common around the area, yet this Octopus in Garlic is one of the best we’ve ever tasted. The octopus was cut into small chucks and stewed in a tomato based garlic sauce, with a touch of lemon and parsley as the finishing touch – the octopus is soft and tender and infused with flavors, as the tomato balances the meatiness with just enough acidity. The sauce is as garlic-y as it gets, but not overwhelming at all, it goes perfectly with the freshly baked bread that is served on the side.
For entrée, as much as rabbit is a big part of Maltese cuisine, we went for the other two famous dishes instead – Baked Awrat Fish and Dad’s Famous Bragioli. Awart fish is one of the best-known Maltese local fish; it is usually baked and served whole. The flesh is light and tender without any fishiness, with the vegetables that compliment the fattiness of the fish, it is fulfilling yet satisfying.
Dad’s Famous Bragioli is traditional Maltese slices of beef stuffed with forcemeat and slowly cooked in red wine, herbs and tomato sauce. With the perfect blend of herbs and spices, the flavor of the beef is deep and complex in every layer, and yet tender and juicy that fakes off at the fork as you dig into the dish. The vegetable and potatoes on the side are lightly seasoned, and goes perfectly with the bold and flavorful red wine sauce.
We didn’t leave any room for dessert, but we left the restaurant impressed and beyond happy with our first Maltese cuisine. If you have a chance to visit Malta, don’t miss the opportunity to dine at Ta’ Kris for the authentic Maltese flavor. Here is the information of the restaurant:
80 Sqaq Il-Fawwara,
+356 2133 7367
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.