A Perfect Spring Lunch in Belgrade
During our stay in May and June of this year in Belgrade, we attended our baby niece’s christening which ended as many do, with a brass band (collectively known as “Trubači” or “Troo-bah-chi” ) waiting outside the church. Much of the crowd walked past them towards their cars asking me “Do you have Gypsies waiting outside churches in Australia?” …ummm….no, but I wish we did! Wouldn’t it make these sorts of events more fun? They watched my child-like expression and I suppose were more fascinated that I was fascinated about something so typical.
Back in 1999 when I was living for a short while with my late Aunt Gordana (bless her beautiful soul), I remember how she would excitedly call me to the balcony “Sonjaaaaaa….Trubači! ” Like two (grown up) kids, we would throw down some dinars from the balcony and tell them to play my favourite song, “Kalashnikov” by Goran Bregović.
This Spring day in Belgrade, the Christening day, wasn’t any different – I pulled out my dinars, and the Trubači raced over. As I told them to play louder and more exuberantly (this was after all a celebration, not a funeral I told them), I pulled out more dinars waving them around and the Trubači happily obliged. Then, they encircled our car as we left with loud brass music. My kids looked on, jaws slightly dropped, watching their mother dancing to a brass band in the middle of the pavement…not something that happens in Australia!
A traditional Serbian lunch : OAZA Etno Restoran
After we finally parted from my impromptu meeting with the Trubači, we headed over to a nearby, charming etno restaurant (ie traditional) called OAZA, meaning “Oasis”, serving traditional Serbian cuisine.
On the outside, you could drive past and not know what lies within…which is a beautiful, quaint and traditional atmosphere. I couldn’t help but feel like we had all stepped back in time, with walls carefully decorated with items from times gone by.
On arrival at this promising restaurant, we were seated and offered an apéritif – rakija, vinjak or anything else we wanted. Of course, I opted for vinjak (Serbian style cognac – 40% proof) which was served in a little pitcher, enough for at least 2-3 shots. That went down well before our first course or predjelo arrived, which was a mixed plate of cured meats, including pršut (prosciutto, Balkan style), ham, a selection of cheeses, crowned with a Russian salad, served with home-style corn bread, proja. Delicious!
Second course was a delicious veal broth style soup, followed by very succulent, grilled and barbecued meats, kupus salata (cabbage salad) and other salads with home-made bread. Dessert was my favourite, palačinke sa orasima (pancakes with sugared, ground walnuts). The kids had theirs oozing with Eurocrem (Serbian version of Nutella). Sorry, I don’t have a photo of these courses (wish I did have them, but we lost ourselves eating, talking and drinking good quality vinjak, as you do in Serbia!) To finish, strong, traditional black coffee (Turkish style) was the order of most guests. Portions were perfect for hungry appetites, food was fresh and tasty, service was amazing, and the restaurant well looked after.
By the end of it all, and I mean 5, seemingly fast hours, later (no joke!), our guest of honour (baby Nina) was asleep in her pram, our kids were tired, yet satisfied and we were left wishing we wore stretchy pants to this feast (not that we would of course!). Clearly, dinner was out of the question….well, I could always fit in more of those pancakes!
Where is it?
OAZA Etno Restoran, Bulevar JNA 101, 11222 Jajinci, tel: (011) 3942 395 www.restoranoaza.rs Open from morning to late.