Public, Belgrade, Serbia – Feb 2012

Public
Kosančićev Venac 29, Beograd
011 328 3680
http://www.public.co.rs/

Public is a stylish but unpretentious restaurant situated on the hillside overlooking the river Sava in in downtown Belgrade. In summer the large windows are open and the balcony packed, but this was February and we were inside appreciating the heating. The decor is modern and minimalist with plenty of wood and very lithe frippery… though if you crave decoration have a walk through the open kitchen were you can see the days fare and watch your meal being prepared.

As in most Belgrade restaurants the staff are helpful and friendly. English (and several other languages) are spoken well. There is also an English language version of the menu.

The menu provides a selection of starters, pastas, meat and fish dishes, though the need for a starter diminishes rapidly when the nibble bits arrive. In most restaurants this consists of a bit of bread and dip… or perhaps a mini brochette. Not in Public. We were presented with a huge tub of olive… three loaf size portions of fresh breads and a large jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil. Now at this point you could just stop, order more rakia and make an afternoon of the nibbles. But we pressed on.

I have visited Public before and recommend their home made cranberry, prosciutto (Parma and San Daniel) and hard cheese sausages.
The barbecued ribs are equally tasty and put those scrawny sugar coated abominations produced in your local Lotus Garden or US eatery to shame.
On this occasion however I plumped for the rib eye while my companions had the fillet steak and the sea bass.

Public presentation is interesting. Food is served on wooden boards with vegetables often wrapped in parchment…. and when everyone orders meat, all the meat is on the same board. The idea may seem modern and new and aimed at encouraging sharing (which it does) but serving food this way is a regional tradition that goes back a long way.

They like jars in Public, and the meat platter is accompanied by a selection of large jars of mustard, pickles and savoury marmalades.

 

Now a word of warning about Serbia and vegetables. Serbian’s love salads and you are never likely to be disappointed if you have one. But when it comes to vegetables… there is very little interest. You get the distinct feeling that they are there for visual effect only… no one expects you to actually eat them. Surprising in a way as there are plenty of busy fresh vegetable markets selling first class produce… and perhaps that is why. A Serbian friend explained that Serbians love to go out and will sit at home all week living on potatoes in order to splash out on something special at the weekend…. something special is clearly not more potatoes.

The food was fine. The beef was nicely underdone while the fish was juicy and moist. There was plenty of both.
A nice bottle of Radenkovic Cabernet Sauvignon (any Radenkovic is worth a try and very good value)

As I said earlier; they like jars in Public. And when it comes to desserts it is jars all the way with puddings presented as a tray of jars from which you make your selection ( a nice twist on the traditional sweet trolly). We chose whipped mascarpone with fruit – a sort of mascarpone fool which I found rather sweet, a dark chocolate mousse with peperoncini – rich and mildly spicy, and a chocolate and or and dessert which the waiter described as like a Jaffa cake – he was right. There were about a dozen jars to choose from… and here I must admit I forgot to photograph them before we ate the contents… maybe next time. For those with a less sweet tooth a nice selection of fresh cheeses is also available.

Three people. Three courses. Three drinks each. Coffees and a mountain of nibbles – 12,000 SDR with a decent tip (about 120 euro) not bad for an enjoyable afternoon

  • Glasgow Foodie

    Mrs Foodie aka Emma loves to snuggle with Fred and Cleo, sleep and read. Can be found with gin or a pint in hand.

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