Balkan has been tickling my curiosity for quite some time now since I had no idea how Yugoslavian food tastes like. When we finally got the chance to try it, I came with an open mind and got excited to check out a new cuisine.
Sadly, this particular “chance” didn’t have a good timing because the place was under renovation when we visited. With that being said, I won’t go much into detail about the interiors however, I will say that it’s good that they’re changing the look of the place, because it felt disoriented and frankly, not that stylish for my taste. There was a bookshelf, a wooden country-themed furniture, but with huge industrial lamps for lighting, that it turned out to feel like a messy mash-up of different motifs. The design seemed to have a mind of its own.
Interiors aside, the place is definitely an oasis for meat-lovers. I think that’s how it is in the Balkan region – meat all the time! Its name also suggests “Yugoslavian Home-Cooking”, so I was expecting to be reminded of “lutong bahay” with their dishes.
Sarma (P 280)
Our appetizer was a huge dish of beef and rice-stuffed cabbage with a side of mashed potatoes. True enough, the dish felt like home-cooking. It was hearty and had a slight tang to it, although I found it hard to place it as an appetizer, because it has a large serving and heavy enough to be a main dish.
Stuffed Pljeskavica (P 330)
This meaty delight is beef stuffed with spices and mozzarella cheese. It comes with a side either of fries or rice. You’ll be in for a surprise when you slice the meat open, as gooey mozzarella cheese will ooze out of the warm meat. It was spicy, but I didn’t mind because the cheese balanced the heat. What threw me off a bit though was that it had a distinct, strong aftertaste that wasn’t very pleasant for me; good thing the cheese redeemed the overall flavor.
Stuffed Chicken Batak (P 360)
On first impression, the dish may look like beef patties, but it’s actually chicken stuffed with smoked salami, mushroom, and cheese. It goes well with rice, but in spite of cheese, chicken, mushroom, and more meat, all sounding great together, it still tasted plain and seemed to lack something else to tie everything up. Maybe a pickle would do?
Kobasica (P 320)
My favorite of the night was homemade pork sausage with fries. This is the kind of sausage that I like – spicy with lots of garlic, and the right amount of juice when you sink your teeth into the meat. The simple mustard dip magically made the tasty sausage even more flavorful. If you ask me though, the dish would have made a bigger statement if they served thick-cut fries instead of skinny ones.
After the meal, I wished that I ordered beer to wash down all the oil and meat (which they also serve, by the way). If I’m in the mood for being a carnivore for a night, I’d consider this place for the pork sausage and cabbage rolls. I wasn’t very happy with the ambiance (I felt I was only in a cafeteria) but if we talk about the home-cooking that they’re going for, then it’s a thumbs up for me.