Sunday, November 17, 2013

Haut Cuisine

I have written before about Kalemegdan, the fortress at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, sort of the Battery Park of Belgrade. What I didn't tell you is that there is also a nice looking restaurant up there, and although Tyler Cowen says you shouldn't eat in a restaurant that trades on its location, I think he tends to underestimate the value of some of those externalities (he says for example, that you should avoid places where people are having fun, since clearly they are not there for the food.).

It's about an hour walk from my apartment, including the length of the Knez Mihailova, a pedestrian zone filled with cafes and shops and cafes, with a few charming spots to sit and have a coffee and a cigarette.

Yesterday was, I suspect, the last day of fall, sunny and 50, and I left the house around 1, thinking that I would get there before later in the afternoon, when the restaurant might be busy (since, as everyone knows,  that is the proper time for lunch).

I got there about 2, and, indeed the restaurant was not crowded, although there were a few tables. The hostess seated me in the conservatory with a nice view (too cold for the terrace), and the waiter brought me an English menu.

One of the reasons that I had decided to do this is that the restaurant is running an Orient Express promotion, featuring the cuisine of a different country on the famed Paris to Istanbul journey each week. This wee's stop was France, and as good as duck a l'orange sounded, I just wasn't feeling it today. I was in the mood for comfort food, and, from the main menu, a blend of European and Serbian gourmet selections, I chose some ajvar to start, followed by an appetizer of red wine risotto with duck breast and an entree of local sausage with baked beans and roasted potatoes. I had a tiny glass of apricot brandy with my salad (as is customary) and one of red wine with my meal.

I paid the check ($32) and noticed that the restaurant was now full, including an enormous wedding party. I'd definitely recommend it as a destination, but I'm not so serious about food that the experience wouldn't have been improved by some pleasant conversation. Definitely worth a visit.

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