In our office, almost everyone watches basketball, and they are most passionate about UAAP games. I guess everyone has a certain pride with their alma mater. And who doesn’t like to eat? With a passion for both basketball and food, I’m pretty sure that knowing former De la Salle green archer member Marko Batricevic opened a restaurant will bring in fans to the place.
This was actually the pitch when I got invited to try out Balkan. I was both excited to try out Yugoslavian cuisine as well as to meet Marko. When I first saw the owner, I was shocked! He is tall, like 6 foot 5 inches tall! :O
He shared with us that the Makati branch is their second Balkan restaurant. They first opened Balkan Express in San Juan and it was a huge success considering Marko got his ROI in three months! Wow! Three months! Restaurants usually gets their ROI in 1-2 years but Balkan Express got theirs in so little time! It triggered my curiosity even more. What is with Balkan that made it so successful?
I surveyed the restaurant and immediately noticed the unique design of the ceiling. I haven’t been to any of the Balkan countries, but I suspect there’s something very traditional about the ceiling design.
The Balkan Makati branch has a relaxing ambiance and definitely considered to be a comfort place. There are photos of notable people and places in Serbia. It somehow gave us a glimpse of where Marko was from.
How about the food? What makes Yugoslavian cuisine unique? As I learned and noticed while we dined at Balkan, they weren’t focused on presentation. What’s really nice and I believe most of us dining customers would appreciate more is Balkan’s huge servings on their dishes plus the price, is really affordable! I wonder how they made money since they are really generous with the food that they serve.
Have you tried Yugoslavian food? It was my first time to try out and I’m sure it won’t be my last…
- Goulash (Php 250)
The beauty of being able to try out different restaurants is knowing the history of each of them. Like Balkan for example, it was my first time to dine in a Yugoslavian restaurant. I came to know that Goulash is apparently a classic beef stew of the Balkans.
The goulash is made of lean beef, onions, and paprika served with noodles.
The wonderful soup is best eaten with Balkan Bread.
From the Grill
- Pljeskavica (Php 200)
I had to wait for the bloggers to cut the burger so that I can show you through a photo how mouth-watering the dish looked like. Pljeskavica is a traditional serbian hamburger served with home made sauce, tomato, lettuce, onion, and french fries.
- Stuffed Pljeskavica (Php 320)
If you’re like me who prefers rice over sandwiches or buns, then I suggest you order this stuffed version of Pljeskavica. Boy, once you cut the burger half? You’ll see the mozzarella cheese coming out. Oh I promise you’ll have a good time eating this dish. Just by the looks of it, while I’m trying to describe this dish, my stomach is already starting to growl..
- Batak (Php 290)
While everyone had a portion of each and every dish, I was lucky enough to have an order of Batak all by myself. Batak is boneless chicken thigh, grilled to perfection and topped with melted mozzarella. I was totally saying ‘delicious’ all the time that I was eating the dish. My gosh, I never thought that Serbian/Yugoslavian dish like batak can taste this good. The meat was very tender and every part of this chicken meat was oozing with so much flavors.
Clay Pot Dishes
- Butkice (Php 650)
Tasty pork knuckles served with baked potatoes and carrots (good for 2-3).
Everyone was raving about this dish! When bloggers were asked which dish they liked the most, it seemed that the pork knuckles were a clear winner! I always thought that pork knuckles are best eaten fried. Apparently, baked pork knuckles work wonders too! I was able to taste one small piece of this. In spite of tasting the dish after 1 hour of being served, and feeling satisfied still, then this must be something. Balkan’s butkice/pork knuckles is a must order friends! Don’t forget this!
- Sarma (Php 260)
Pickled cabbage rolls stuffed with ground beef, rice and spices served on a bed of mashed potatoes sprinkled with paprika.
I’ll make sure I’ll order Sarma next time as I wasn’t able to taste this during the foodie meet. Balkan’s San Juan branch will be my next destination as it was there where Balkan started and became successful.
- Jagnjetina (Php 700)
Jagnjetina is Balkan’s House Specialty. It’s imported baked lamb that is very tender that it falls off the bone.
One thing that you have to know is that Yugoslavian cooking doesn’t involve frying. All they do with food is either grilling or baking which I think makes it a bit healthier comparing to other cuisines.
- Sopska (Php 200)
Sopska is a salad that has cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and olives on a bed of lettuce and cheese.
You might be wondering why I put sopska after the soup and main dishes. You see Yugoslavian dining culture involves eating salads with or after the main dishes. You might wanna do the same when you try Balkan yourself (just to have a complete Yugoslavian food experience).
For dessert, we tried two types of crepes. I prefer the nutella crepe among the two that were served.
- Palacinke (Php 120)
Traditional Serbian crepes with fruit jam.
Traditional Serbian crepes filled with Nutella.
So that’s a preview of what you can indulge in Balkan Restaurants. Don’t forget to order wine and mind you, the wine costs less than Php200. I don’t drink alcohol but I know I need to suggest Balkan’s wine to you all as I saw my foodie friends enjoying theirs.
Delicious, flavorful, unique and generously-filled dishes are things you can expect from Balkan Restaurant. I’m making my visit to Balkan Express real soon and I already have a list of dishes to order in my mind. How about you?
Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking
G/F Maripola Building, 109 Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines