27 April 2017
As I mentioned in my last compilation review of Belgrade, the food has been quite an eye-opener and I enjoyed the simple stuff quite a lot. But on my second evening in town, I headed to a southern suburb to visit a restaurant I read a few things about called Oxalis, to see what Belgrade can do from the fine-dining, tasting-menu angle. Few people go to Serbia for fine dining, and let’s see if that is about to change.
Took a bit of effort to find it as it was hidden on the back of a building, but once I walked in I knew this evening would be a nice one. Humble and simple, a philosophy that rang through the entire night. I was seated and the friendly and solid service commenced for a fabulous night. As I pondered the menu, some snacks appeared — first off some crisps made of various things like sesame and polenta.
Nice start, then some salmon on crackling.
I happily told chef, who has staged at many top places like Maaemo, that I’ll leave my tasting menu up to him. He said he’ll mix it up a little with stuff from the previous menu, so my interest was piqued. However, it was a little sad to see the place so empty — albeit it being a weeknight.
I relaxed and enjoyed a chardonnay from Vojvodina when the first course arrived, and a playful one…
They called this a “Serbian breakfast” — which had a very tasty 64-degree egg, with cream cheese and pancetta. Excellent with the toasted bread. A cute and tasty start, the gooey goodness of that yolk memorable. More of that same excellent Komuna chardonnay and the second dish arrived, parsnip ravioli.
Excellent, lovely flavours here with some aged cheese. Perfectly cooked, another good one here. Then a little side treat with the bread…
The server’s mum had made some ajvar, and it had such a lovely fresh taste with the bread. Then after enjoying this little treat we moved to the next dish, veal neck.
Mmm, this was lovely, soft and tender with mild but balanced flavours thanks to the onions. Nice quality meat, enjoyed that. Then a nice pour of a prokupac and we had another wonderful meat dish.
This lamb was fabulous, ridiculously tender but without losing any flavour. Excellent stuff once again. Had a wee chat with chef and he explained that they can obviously do more but what they are trying to do is to balance creativity with local sensibility — which is a good way to do it as a neighbourhood restaurant.
Chilled out a little before we moved onto the cheese course, and it was an interesting one.
A really nice local fatty cheese with onions. Really nice, I enjoyed this far more than a heavy, bread-laden cheese course that usually makes me so full I feel strained. Tasty. Then they started with the desserts, as chef is best known for his desserts.
First up was a lime cream and strawberry dish, very nice. Refreshing, really fresh tasting strawberries. Touch of white chcoolate added a wee twist. Nice! A nice pouring of a not-very-sweet muscat from Vojvodina and the second desert is presented.
This “forest gnocchi” has won chef accolades around Europe, including with the San Pellegrino folks. Looks beautiful, and tasted quite nice, with so many elements including chocolate, tea and mandarin. A really nice end to a very nice meal.
I enjoyed a šljivovica and had a nice chat with chef about the challenges of doing this kind of restaurant in Belgrade. I wished them luck, as you can see talent and vision here. And it’s dirt-cheap, with the tasting menu costing about 25 dollars. I really highly recommend this place, even if it’s a little bit of a hike outside the centre of Belgrade. It’s worth the taxi ride most definitely.
If any place Oxalis makes me think of it’s actually the wonderful Stages at One Washington in Dover, New Hampshire. You have a very talented young chef pushing the boundaries but in a very humble and natural way.
If the tourism fates help them, this could be the start of something quite fabulous. Highly recommended!
Neznanog Junaka 47