When I was invited to a dinner at Balkan in Makati, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m geographically challenged and all I knew then was that the Balkans is way up north where it’s very cold and mountainous. It also turns out I was wrong cos it’s not always cold there. Anyway, the fair warning given to me was that there was going to be a lot of meat that night. I love meat (Sorry, Morrissey) and I was ready to feast on it.
Balkan is an offshoot of the hole-in-the-wall Balkan Express in San Juan. Honestly I have never heard of it before that night but it seemed popular among the other bloggers who were present. Both are owned by Marko Batricevic who used to play for DLSU’s basketball team…which I didn’t know since I do not watch UAAP or basketball games. This bit of information is irrelevant but Marko is a heartthrob so even if you don’t like meat, you might want to drop by just to see him.
So what exactly is Yugoslavian food? Well, I still have a vague idea about it but it’s generally a combination of Mediterranean cuisine and…and…meat. Don’t ask me about it anymore! Food is carefully prepared and cooked in Balkan so the Greek Orthodocs and other strict religious types who frequent the place will have worry-free eating.
Cevapacici Platter (P200) is Balkan’s signature Serbian sausage made from ground beef. This is one of their most popular dishes and I have to agree with the populace because I found it tender, flavorful and just slightly spicy.
Stuffed Pljeskavica (P320) is meat stuffed with mozzarella. It may be served with rice or fries. I should have taken a photo of the cheese inside. This dish is definitely not for the lactose intolerant.
Batak (P290) is boneless chicken thigh topped with melted mozzarella. Technically it was still meat but it served as a break from red meat for me that night.
Jagnjetina (P700) is the house specialty. It is imported lamb which is very tender. I’m not much for lambs so this is just okay for me.
Butkice (P650) is tasty pork knuckles served with baked potatoes. This is one of my favorites because of the sweetish flavor and I’m partial to pork knuckles.
This red pepper appetizer (?) isn’t in the menu but I shall call it the restaurant’s token vegetable which is a rarity.
Pljeskavica (P200) is a mouth-watering burger. It’s spiced ground beef stuffed with cheese and token veggies. The bun is homemade and fresh, so very worth your P200.
You’ve probably read about Goulash (P80) in literature well here is the real thing you can get to try. If you don’t know what it is, it’s tomato-ey beef stew perfect for cold nights so that means not for this season.
This odd-looking food is called Sarma (P260) which is pickled cabbage rolls stuffed with beef, rice, and spices. With a side of mashed potatoes. I was very surprised at how good this is. I mean PICKLED CABBAGE ROLLS? PICKLED. CABBAGE. How can that possibly be delicious but it was. All thanks to the beef and other goodies inside it.
Sopska (P200) is their version of salad. The white shredded stuff in the photo is all feta cheese but don’t be mistaken. There are vegetables at the bottom.
Their Traditional Serbian Crepes (P120) are a bit different from the crepes we know. They’re more spongy and chewy than the usual but they’re still good dessert.
You see how much meat we ate that night? Balkan is a place to visit if you want something new and different. You have been warned about the amount of meat here so vegetarians, vegans, and raw meat fanatics (does this even exist?!), do not go here. However if you are like me, pretty much a carnivore who loves Morrissey but doesn’t listen to his message that meat is murder, GO HERE and eat up!
Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking
GF Maripola Bldg
109 Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati