It was the birthday of Kathi Raneses, aka MUCKING AROUND MANILA, and my favorite foodie group, the Kain Tulog Gang had a mini celebration for her at BALKAN.
You may be familiar with BALKAN as the Yugoslavian restaurant in the small streets of San Juan where there's only 5 tables -- definitely fitting the bill of a hole-in-a-wall food hub. We have often passed the humble restaurant and always wanted to try it but never got the chance, probably taking the whole look of it for granted. It's a good thing that dear Spanky Enriquez invited us to celebrate Ms. Mucking's birthday in BALKAN because we were oblivious to 2 things:
1) I did not know that they have already opened a branch in Bonifacio Global City.
2) I was not aware that we are passing by a restaurant that served SO DELICIOUS FOOD (take note of the all caps). Why oh why have we been so ignorant of your goodness?? What have we done to be deprived of awesome home-cooked Yugoslavian grub for these many years?
I guess for this time, Ignorance is NOT bliss. So we may have to do a lot of catching up to be able to enjoy more of BALKAN's goodness. Anyway, that's a certain plus besides celebrating one of my favorite blogger's birthday.
So, let the merry eating and celebrating begin!
The foodie gods were smiling at us for this night because I was able to get out of work extra early to be on time for our dinner at BALKAN.
Entering BALKAN, I was surprised that it looked like the complete opposite of what I imagine a Yugoslavian restaurant might be. Instead, what we got was a spacious and comfortable hub where I see myself relaxing the whole day with a cup of coffee and the latest issue of Teen Beat... este... The Economist.
BALKAN also seemed to be the perfect place to meet up with friends for great food and lots of laughs.
I know that's what happened to us!
Oh dear my behind is HU-UGE.
The pictures on BALKAN's wall would certainly pique anyone's curiosity. Like THE MOMMIST, I felt transported to the calming feel of the different scenes in the portraits -- simple shots that definitely worked!
I loved BALKAN'S simple table set up and light bulbs too!
Now this gives me an idea! Tee hee!
Anyway, enough with the BALKAN interiors, TIME FOR THE FOOD!
Wow! Delicious Serbian food that won't hurt your wallet!
Now those may be our 7 favorite words now...
....or is it 8? Yes, we are THAT hungry that we cannot tell!
The BALKAN specials! Ooh HAPPY HOUR!!!
BALKAN meynuh 1
BALKAN meynuh 2
BALKAN meynuh 3...
BALKAN meynuh 4!
Wohoo! Birthday celebrant Kathi is here! We could start eating now!
Since we were doing this mini birthday celebration at October 31, 2013, Halloween night, I thought of dressing up like dear Kathi. Since I cannot, for the life of me, become more endowed in the chest area like her, I settled for an authentic "cleavage".
This gave the birthday gal a lot of laughs so I was happy. However, I got word that somebody thought I was wearing this black "necklace".
There you go. Highlight of my night. HA HA HA HA HA!
First up is BALKAN's Arugula Salad with Feta (P270.00).
I know we were supposed to be going all meat in BALKAN but I just can't help but enjoy the crunchy vegetables with the sweet and tangy vinaigrette.
This reminds me so much of my favorite Roka Salata salad in Cyma only cheaper and lighter to the taste!
Don't forget to add a small chunk of the BALKAN feta cheese to your arugula greens and you got yourself a winner of a salad bite!
Next up is the BALKAN goulash (P280.00). Don't let the look of this simple bowl fool you.
What you get is a BALKAN bowl of rich hearty stew that boasts of tender beer chunks and surprises of the spiral pasta.
So perfect to dip the crusty serbian bread which BALKAN serves with the goulash! Rip it apart when you get it and give this baby a generous dunk!
BALKAN Stuffed Pork Loin (P380.00)!
2 fat pieces of BALKAN pork stuffed with cheese and salami! PLUS, this is grilled while wrapped with smoked bacon.
If THAT does not get your mouths watering then you have a heartless soul.
This was SO juicy and scrumptious! Perfect with rice AND fries! Ha ha ha ha!
How about some BALKAN Karadjordjeva (P380.00) which is fried chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and feta cheese?
Unfortunately I was not able to get a bite of this since somebody swiped it asap. So I guess it was THAT good! Might order this the next time we're in BALKAN to know for sure.
The BALKAN dish that caused the most oohs and aahs (plus bulging eyes from my husband) is the Stuffed Pljeskavica (P330.00)!!!
What is there NOT to get crazy about? It is grilled ground meat with cheese inside!!!
Gooey... nummy... thick... creamy... cheese????
I think I just fainted. This is just all too overwhelming for me.
Me doing gurgling "Homer" sounds at BALKAN... "Ulgggggh"
Surprisingly, we all loved the BALKAN chicken liver (P290.00).
Of course it helped that the grilled Chicken liver was wrapped in bacon and topped with this mushroom gravy. SO perfect with rice.... AND fries.... ha ha ha ha!
BALKAN's Kobasika aka pork sausage (P320.00) !
Fairly delicious and flavorful!!!
It was such a shame that I was not able to get A LOT of servings this BALKAN grilled pork with chili cheese topping. Such a shame too that I was not able to get the name. Definitely something to come back for!
Another must try dish in BALKAN is their Chicken Batak (P310.00) which is grilled chicken topped with mozzarella cheese!
I got a flavorful bite of this BALKAN best seller and it was uber juicy and tender! W.O.W!
But when I make a return to BALKAN I would definitely have for meself a full order of their Cevapcici burger (P230.00)!! You should try this! At first I was skeptical thinking that yes, it was another blah choriburger. But one bite and I assure you, you'll be a convert. EVERYONE loved this! Imagine the flavorful serbian ground beef with fresh veggies and their special sauce. Then everything is showcased in their chewy and home baked Serbian bread!
Oh dear mighty, I am drooling right now just thinking of it!!!
And I would definitely NOT share with this guy! Har de har har!
If you're controlling your carb intake, you could just opt for a BALKAN Cevapcici platter!
See this mini BALKAN plate? I was able to finish 3 or 4 servings!!
At this point I gave my simple birthday gift to Kathi! HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ms. Mucking Around Manila!!! Here's to more food tripping and crazy meals together!!!!!
Such a fun night! I'm sure my "cleavage" agrees with me.
That's how much I love you dear Kathi! HA HA HA HA HA!
For dessert we had some BALKAN's Princess Krofne (P150.00) which were like chilled cream puffs....
We all had a lot of laughs trying to get a picture of this dish since some "peace loving" fingers (including mine) would always get in the way!
Hi there Ate Irene!!!
Next up is BALKAN Tulumbe (P120.00) which are like your favorite biscocho dipped in sugar sauce.
This was such a fun night with never ending Yugoslavian home cooked grub and the BEST company of food bloggers there is!!
counterclockwise -- Kathi Raneses (MUCKING AROUND MANILA), MEH, Mr. Marko Batricevic, Yub - the handsomest creature on earth, Sumi Go (THE PURPLE DOLL) and boyfie, Joko Magalong and Jeeves de Vera of ABS CBN, Len Altea (THE MOMMIST), Gerry San Miguel (DUDE FOR FOOD), Richard Co (TALES FROM THE TUMMY) and wife Ate Irene, Eugene Constantino (HEFTY FOODIE), dear Spanky Enriquez (JUICE.PH), and Jericho San Miguel.
Thank you so much to Mr. Marko Batricevic, handsome owner of BALKAN, for having ERICJAZ FOODIES!
Special stress on the word "handsome". Duh, I'm sure you all agree. I was on tippy toes for this picture by the way.
And of course thank you to one of the coolest guy in the universe, Mr. Spanky Enriquez for inviting us to this Yugoslavian dinner feast! Our tummies are in gratitude of you for life!
2/f Crossroad Bldg., 32nd Avenue
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig