I always wanted to try something different when dining out with my girl friends every week for our “All-Female” session. It’s not only to collect ideas for my blogging, but to make each session spent with them as special as our conversations and bonding moments. And in my online quest for a unique place, I came across Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking in BGC – one that matches my preference for a new spot, interesting cuisine and good food.
Foreign-sounding menu always provokes my curiosity, but it keeps me eager to learn anew and experiment. Behind those hard-to-pronounce names in the menu book, is a challenge to discover a dish that’s worth your bucks especially when you have to rely alone on photos or suggestive tips from the server. But it’s fun, and must I say a true test of intuition and adaptability. And sometimes you fail, sometimes you win. With my dining experience with Balkan, it’s definitely a win.
My friend and I ordered for number #18 – Stuffed Pljeskavica (see, that was too hard to pronounce that we either had to point it on the menu or dictate the item number ), a huge slab of grounded beef stuffed with mozzarella cheese and can be paired with either rice, fries or mashed potatoes. It’s also served with cabbage salad as a side dish.
I heavily indulge in mashed potatoes, and this one is an addition to the ones I deem worthy coming back to. Its silky smooth texture makes it hard to forget. Most of its entrees can be partnered with potatoes, so that is a big deal for me, a huge potato-lover.
The grilled meat was juicy and tender, flavorful on its own. The oozing mozzarella cheese inside is a notably good combination for the perfectly- made meat delicacy, with mayonnaise and ketchup as simple side sauces. I was kind of expecting for a more “exotic” kind of sauce, something that is rarely served in restaurants for this type of cuisine, but I am settled that it’s already good as it is.
Our other friend ordered Dzigerica or Grilled Pork Liver steak, topped with garlic to enhance that smoky flavor and paired with crisp potato fries and cabbage salad. The liver was cooked well, not leaving any bitter taste. I am not big on pork liver but this one is a good rendition.
Aside from its impressive line of dishes, Balkan can be praised for its sleek and modern interiors. The display of green wine bottles on the wall is cool to the eyes.
The slightly semi-formal dining set-up, with cozy couches make it a nice place to hang-out with friends. But what I find really extraordinary in the place is the quaint hanging bulb-shaped lamps. It is understandable that since it is located at Fort, they have adapted the casual bar-type of setting for weekend diners. We went to Starbucks after for extended conversations because it gets too noisy with party music on a late Friday night.
My satisfactory experience with Balkan is a good indication that there is a high possibility of more favorable dishes to explore in their menu, but not really to the point that I am madly raving about it. The lack of strong spices and flavors was not really a downgrade for me although I am looking for something that kicks in my meal. It can be presumed that the simplicity in is preparation is more of a strong quality of the restaurant.
So there, that was fine introduction to Serbian cuisine. The hefty servings are definitely worth it and would fill your appetite to the brim. Next to be tried are their burgers!