A marketing coordinator that enjoys reviewing in her spare time. Living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney - on the brink of something fabulous!
Published August 21st 2011
Balkan deems themselves the original Balkan restaurant, having been in its current location on Oxford Street for as long as I can remember.
The restaurant isn't overly fancy, but makes the effort with chilled water glasses and double clothed tables. It's nice to see the run of the mill restaurant do these easy little things that just give it that extra edge.
We dined on a voucher that entitled us to $70 worth of food or a seafood platter for two for $35 (and we had two vouchers between the four of us). The decision of what to order took some time as the double sided menu had lots of questionable items.
What is in the avocado seafood?" "What's included in a Balkan mixed grill?" and, for the novice Balkan diner, "What on earth are Raznjic i- $23.90, Cevapcici - $24.90 and Pola-Pola - $24.90?"
We waited what seemed like an eternity for the waitress to give us even the slightest bit of attention and when she did, she was incredibly abrupt, so much so that it came across as a bit rude. She gave us concise answers to our questions - Raznjici is pork neck, Cevapcici is pork sausage and Pola Pola is half and half of the first two.
We forgot to enquire as to the avocado seafood and just took a gamble with it. It was pleasant, with a ripe avocado and succulent prawns but nothing overly special.
We shared a garlic bread ($3.50), garden salad ($7.90) and a bowl of chips ($8) to start. The garlic bread scored low on presentation - four slices of baguette in a large wire basket, but the chips were lovely hand cut fries that tasted great.
The risotto marinara for $23.90 is served in a tomato or creamy sauce and when asked which she recommended, our waitress condescendingly replied "I don't know darling". The creamy sauce was chosen.
The Balkan Grill was also ordered, and was made up of chicken, steak, pork sausage, frankfurt and raw onion. The steak was on the bland side but the dish was satisfying overall.
The chicken schnitzel came as two decent pieces of schnitzel served with steamed vegetables and mash potato and was well cooked and quite filling.
The risotto was a perfect consistency, however the seafood was somewhat lacking with only fish and a few scattered prawns in the dish. A good risotto marinara always has muscles.
The cevapcici were presented like rays of sun around a circle of chopped raw onion. They were cooked well but looked somewhat unappetising. At first, I found them to be a touch bland but when dipped in tomato sauce, they actually tasted quite lovely. They too were quite filling though and I only got through about half.
The Balkan Grill and Cevapcici were both served with a balkan salad - shredded cabbage and boiled potatoes. We all really enjoyed this and it complemented the Balkan dishes excellently.
Thoroughly stuffed and a touch uninspired by the dessert menu (tiramisu, pancakes, special pancakes and ice cream), we forwent dessert and called it a night.
Would I go back? Probably not. However, we had a great night and the interesting food stimulated some great conversation. If you haven't tried Balkan food before, it's something different and probably most closely compares with Hungarian or Austrian crossed with Russian food.
209 Oxford St
Open for Lunch and Dinner
Wednesday - Monday (Closed Tuesdays)