Balkan deems themselves the original Balkan restaurant and approaching the restaurant on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, I looked up at the sign and exclaimed, "Oh, I know this place! It's been here for ages". Indeed, it has.
The restaurant isn't over the top 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.
Tonight's voucher 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!) Hungrily, we pored over the double sided one page menu, discussing our possibilities as a group.
"What do you think is in the avocado seafood?" Ash asked. "I want to know what's in the Balkan mixed grill." Colin stated. I for one was most intrigued by the top three dishes on the back of the menu, Raznjici for $23.90, Cevapcici for $24.90 and Pola-Pola for $24.90.
We waited what seemed like an eternity for the waitress to give us even the slightest bit of attention. We had a growing list of questions for her. Including a request to see the dessert menu. I find it very useful in order to determine how large a meal I'll eat! The waitress was incredibly abrupt, so much so 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 half of the first two!
We forgot to enquire as to the avocado seafood so Ash and Colin just took a gamble with it. It was pleasant, with a ripe avocado and succulent prawns but nothing overly special.
Sam and I shared a garlic bread ($3.50) , garden salad ($7.90) and a bowl of chips ($8) to start. The garlic bread was low on presentation - four slices of baguette in a large wire basket, but the chips were lovely hand cut fries that tasted great.
Poor Ash ordered the risotto marinara for $23.90 and was given a choice of tomato or creamy sauce. She politely asked our waitress which she recommended to which she received a reply of "I don't know darling" in a fed up and patronising tone! (She went with the creamy).
Colin decided upon the Balkan Grill, which had chicken, steak, pork sausage, frankfurt and raw onion. He commented that the steak was on the bland side but apart from that, was content with his choice.
Sam ordered the chicken schnitzel. It was two decent pieces of schnitzel served with steamed vegetables and mash potato.
Ash's risotto was a perfect consistency but in her opinion, the seafood was somewhat lacking with only fish and few scattered prawns. We agreed that a good risotto marinara always has muscles!
My Cevapcici were presented like rays of sun around a circle of chopped raw onion. They were cooked well but looked somewhat unappetising! They were a touch bland but when dipped in tomato sauce, tasted quite lovely. They 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.
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.
209 Oxford St
Open for Lunch and Dinner
Wednesday - Monday (Closed Tuesdays)