No matter where we go, we always find a little diner with a soul and tradition. The discovery of that place was in the middle of Sarajevo, just a few corners away from the main attraction – Bascarsia. The cold wind was strong that day and the minute we stepped into the diner we knew where we were going to sit. Right next to the wood stove! There was a free table and I was eager to have my back heated so I could defrost before the first dish came. We were both tempted to put our icy feet closer to the stove that was loaded by an older lady. What a cozy feeling, even though we entered a few minutes ago. In such a lovely granny chick style equipped diner we expected local, clean and delightful flavors. To some limit I found pleasure in rather scattered service, and frisky neighbors playing on the floor while they waited for their order to be delivered. Their recipes originate from their great-grandparents, so it must be verified for good. I totally agree with this one. Why change something good?
The perfect dish for a start was some soup which came with their own bread that was baked in wood stove oven. My choice was some barley and vegetable soup, while Ian went for a real Bosnian soup with young veal. Both soups were surprisingly flavorful and not at all fatty, served in traditional terracotta pots. Ian was very pleased with his selection and said that if only his soup had had a hint acidity added it would have been even better. However, that is just his custom when it comes to meaty soups.
I chose their seasonal vegetables stuffed with ground beef and rice combined with cooked potato and gravy for the main dish. The plate was assembled with miniature rolls of stuffed ground beef in tomato sauce. We had filled sour cabbage – sarma, small onions, and the smallest and tastiest stuffed paprika I had ever eaten. The sauce was surprisingly tasty and the seasoning of dried peppers didn’t prevail, as it is usual for such sauces. Everything was well seasoned and the flavors matched perfectly. I smeared that little sauce that lasted until the end with the bread to the last drop. That dish made an impression on me due to the taste and in a miniature manner. Not only the small sarma and little, stuffed pepper looked appealing, they tasted completely different. The whole stuffing got the freshness of the vegetable around it and it really was different in comparison to larger crops of the same plant. Bigger is not always better and I must say that we were both full until the evening, even though we walked all day long.
Ian’s main dish was beef stew with rice. The stew was without a flaw. The only downside was the side dish. Even though we both love rice very much, we will eat it in Asia. Rice is better integrated into the dishes there. Here, we expected some potato. As a matter of fact, the puree would be perfect with that stew.
“Even though we both love rice very much, we will eat it in Asia.”
After such a scrumptious meal we were looking forward to the desserts but were honestly disappointed. That day the only dessert was pancakes. However, they were too common and we would rather have them in France. Yes, I know that sounds super posh, however, that is the reason why we are on the road a lot. To try local, traditional and original. So, we skipped dessert and had real Bosnian coffee served in the copper coffee set. In addition to the coffee, they offered fruity jelly cube – Rahat lukum or Turkish delight, which kept me occupied for a few minutes. I enjoyed combining coffee and Turkish delight a lot and Ian was intrigued by my show so much that he left his camera for a little while and joined me. Oh, don’t you worry, my friends. I didn’t go without a dessert. Ian took me to Mrvica, a new chic dessert place with a huge choice of desserts.
This bistro has incredible potentials. It would be even more prosperous with a few modest changes; I named three that I believe would make a big difference. The first one is incorporating local ingredients on the sides. As far as I’m concerned the second thing to change is the clutter that has no connection to this place, just a few little things, such as Japanese ornaments, for example. The third suggestion correlates to the service. There is a lot of room for improvement. However, it’s imperative to retain the simplicity and that intimate homey feeling. The last one is well perfected in the restaurant Repovz (review will be on blog tomorrow).
“This bistro has incredible potentials.”
If they managed to comply with these three hints, I’m sure that this bistro would become the number one in the vicinity. After all, that experience was an awesome one and I highly encourage anyone who looks for delicious authentic food and folksy atmosphere to visit Zara iz duvara and be part of this Bosnian pot.