Summer has faded and autumn is creeping onto the scene here in Belgrade, a feeling I must say makes me giddy all over. As you know the crisp air, colored leaves and soul warming noms make autumn my favorite season of the year. So you can imagine my excitement as September takes it place, there being no reason to hide my true nature which is to nom, nom and nom some more.
This season also means biannual visa applications and gathering of documents. But much like clockwork, the post application celebration is always something I look forward to. Whether it be a coffee and pastry at my favorite cafe or a giant pizza, you would feel like you deserved it to if you had to do this every six months too!
So this time Milan suggested that we go for brunch after applying and I had just so happened to find out about a new creperie in Vračar that I was extremely eager to visit. Located just a few minutes away from the herculean structure that is Hram Svetog Sava (the church of Saint Sava) Galaxy Creperie is relatively new so as of right now the word isn’t officially out there, so I hope through this post the buzz will spread and people will begin to flock to this fabulous breakfast, lunch and dinner spot.
As a miniature foodie, I don’t necessarily like to follow the rule of restaurants or cafes that are empty to unequivocally mean that there is something amiss. This red flag can mean multiple things, and in Galaxy’s defense, as mentioned before it is because of their newborn status in the area. I like to joke with Milan whenever we are one of the only patrons, that he has rented out the place just for me. In Galaxy’s case, the fact that we were alone only enhanced the overall charm of our experience.
The interior of the restaurant is lovely and brand spanking new, with two levels and a beautiful garden terrace located out back. Creating a green space in the middle of a concrete jungle is quite the feet so when we sat down at Galaxy after the all the visa stress, it was utterly tranquil. Our waitress was adorable and attentive, cluing us in on fresh produce they had just received that day and doing everything with a smile, something that isn’t always apparent in Belgrade.
Brunch being both sweet as well as savory, we ordered a salty crepe to share and would then decide on our sweets once our eyes weren’t speaking for our stomachs. Their menu is a wonderland of all things nom, from breakfast specialties, to decadent pastas, salads and sandwiches, Galaxy seems to have it all. The pages of crepe and waffle combinations rivals that of Hari’s Creperie and since there were so many delectable concoctions that made it difficult to choose only one. They also offer buckwheat based items which is a plus if you’re fooling yourself into eating on the healthier side.
We did in fact choose a buckwheat crepe stuffed with grilled chicken, sour cream, tomatoes, peppers and boston lettuce. The colorful crepe came pre sliced into two halves which Milan and I both admitted later that we thought they were bringing us two pancakes because the pieces were that big! The crepe itself was properly cooked (unfortunately sometimes they can be burnt) and the flavor of the sweet, in-season red peppers was a great start to our brunch.
Our lovely waitress had informed us that strawberries were on the menu so when it finally came to choosing our second course, we both agreed for them to be added to our already over-the-top sounding sweet creations. Luckily for us there was an adequate amount of time to digest and enjoy the perfect weather outside, not a care in the world.
First up is Milan’s choice:
This fluffy waffle consisted of creamy yogurt and honey base, topped with citrus fruits of kiwi and orange, balanced by the natural sweetness of ripe banana and freshly cut strawberries of the day. Milan considered it ‘light’ a word that I dislike using ( because when is a waffle ever light..) but perhaps valid when compared to my own . His favorite part was the waffle itself because of it’s crispy outside and cake like innards.
And then there was mine:
Never one to shy away from over indulgence, I had chosen mine primarily because underneath the frozen cherry yogurt, red strawberries and dark chocolate drizzle was the nom of my life, peanut butter. The presentation was breathtaking and a part of me felt guilty that I would cut into something so perfect. Another great surprise however was that they waffle is already split into fours and arranged as a whole, so the oozing add-ons seep in between the crevices without you ever knowing, and I suppose it would make it easier to share!
It took us the better part of an hour to consume the waffles in their entirety. As you can see above Milan looked a bit apprehensive in the beginning as to whether he’d be able to stomach the huge portion or not, but in the end it was him who was badgering me about taking so long to eat, thoroughly enjoying my blissful brunch to the fullest. When the check came we were in borderline nomas (nom coma) and knew it would be necessary to take a walk around the block before we returned to the car.
At the moment Galaxy has a small ‘Galaxy Cash’ promotion (invariably to gain momentum) which can be used towards your next visit, something we most certainly will be doing and hopefully with every foodie we know it tow. Truly, Galaxy Creperie is not to be missed and if you’re reading this now, make a note to visit the Vračar area soon for some outstanding noms.
Belgrade is well known throughout the Balkans for it’s nightlife and party-like atmosphere. However, if you’re looking for something apart from the raging clubs and party scenes then make sure you visit the city’s monthly Noćni Market or Night Market at one of the many outdoor green markets throughout Belgrade. I have now been to a handful of these evening spreads and each time is better than the last.
The market boasts live music, lines of food stalls and craft beers, and rows upon rows of locally produced goods, from handmade jewelry, clothing and cosmetics to farm fresh produce such as smoked meats, cheeses and spirits. These markets are a great place for family, friends, and even a first date. The bottom line is that if you’re in search of something authentically Belgrade, Noćni Market is the real deal community bonding experience.
On this trip we brought along our friend Micko, local Belgrader and “Gurman” which is loosely translated into a guy who loves all things food. Since his last trip to the night market in Zemun, he was on the hunt for sizzling sausages and a piping hot Hungarian chimney cake. Having found the prior within minutes of our arrival at the Cirkus Pab stall we hunkered down with a few beers from Južni Vepar and thus I decided to ask Micko a few questions about his meal:
N&N: So Micko, you’ve got the sausage you were looking for. Are you happy?
Micko: Yes, very much so. (hunger in his eyes)
N&N: Tell me, how would you describe the sausage?
Micko: Well it’s very juicy, and it doesn’t have a chewy casing on it which is easier to eat. The flavor is quite nice too.
N&N: I agree, I’m not a huge fan of the sausage ‘snap’ either. Now what about the bun? It looks like a pretzel bun from what I can see.
Micko: The bun is great. It’s soft and seems to be absorbing both the juice from the sausage and the condiments without it being hard to eat.
So there you have it. After having a bite of Milan’s, I wholeheartedly agree with my foodie friend. Did I mention this was the same day we went to Galaxy? Hence the reason why I chose to only drink liquid sustenance that evening.
We slurped down the rest of our beers, and chatted until we felt it was time to wade through the crowd of people, also another traditionally Serbian market custom. Following our noses towards the fragrant aroma of sweet baking dough, it didn’t take long until we found the Kürtőskalács stand.
Earlier I referred to them as “Hungarian chimney cakes” because of the way they are prepared. Stretched out dough is cut into strips then wrapped around an iron cylinder, placed on a rod and cooked via rolling over an open coal pit. It really is something you have to witness at least once in your life, not to mention nom on. I will applaud the chimney cake team because of their ability to work under extreme temperatures.
Once the cakes are cooked, they are taken off the now searing cylinders then either placed directly into parchment and into your hands or rolled in a variety of toppings. My preference is cinnamon and sugar because it reminds me of childhood toast but you can choose from nuts, chocolate bits, vanilla sugar or Micko’s choice, Nutella and Plazma!
Being the generous person Micko is, he shared his sweet creation with both Milan and I to which we were very grateful. The defining thing about chimney cakes for me is their golden crispiness on the outside while still maintaining a puffy texture on the inside. Be sure to nom them while their hot, but I doubt it will last that long!
After our tastings we wandered through the vendors, our senses overwhelmed by all the amazing local products this wonderful city has to offer. We passed by a cheese stall and sampled some of the best cheese I’ve had the pleasure of tasting and Milan simply couldn’t pass it up. While he waited in line for a hunk of gold, Micko and I continued on and like a heat seeking missile my brain registered the Cyrillic letters on a small glass jar : кикирики са медом – kikiriki sa medom – peanut butter with honey. There just so happened to be a kilo or two of apples at home from when we had gone to the village the weekend before so I was certainly on cloud nine.
After all that, the three of us left feeling anomplished. This night market happened to be located at Block 44 in New Belgrade so we decided to stroll the Sava Quay (behind Ada Ciganlija) afterwards, another must visit area for those who want a change from the congested streets of Belgrade.
On another side note, we took a day trip to Palić (on the boarder of Serbia and Hungary) for the first time since we took my mother when she came to visit exactly two years ago. Only a two hour drive from Belgrade, the scenic town of Palić has a wonderful lake and zoo among other things. For all you readers, this is yet another place on your list of things to see once you come to Serbia!
More noms to come!