Cevabdzinica/Central Cafe

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Shop 26/1 Princess St, St Albans. Phone: 9310 7444

This business has closed.

Welcome to a taste of Bosnia in St Albans.

I reckon there’s a tendency for those of us who live close to the CBD to consider the term “western suburbs” as referring to – mainly – Footscray, Yarraville, Altona and a few others.

But those, of course, are just the start of Melbourne’s growing west – there’s a whole world out there!

Happily, Bennie’s place on the playing roster of the mighty West Footscray Roosters necessitated, in the winter thankfully now winding up, many trips into far-flung burbs we would never ordinarily visit. What an adventure!

It was one such Sunday outing that I noted Cevabdzinica down for future exploration.

It’s been open since February and is a dazzlingly bright, fluorescently lit place; it’s red and white style is something like classic American diner filtered through an Eastern European sensibility.

It serves snacky food, and not the heartier cabbage rolls, soups and stews that I had been mentally preparing myself for.

Undeterred, I asked for the hamburger combo; when told that was now unavailable, I settled for the grilled chicken with salad and bread ($12).

It was right tasty, too. The thigh meat was sparingly seasoned, juicy and tasty. It was topped with some grilled red capsicum while some salad bits and pieces sat alongside. The longish bread roll on which the meat was served was good, though a bit on the oily side.

We eat so much food that is heavily spiced that it was a pleasure to enjoy something so plain.

Nevertheless, there was little about my meal that spoke of any distinctive Bosnian flavour or characteristics. For that reason alone, I will likely return to sample the “chevaps” which are served five for $8, seven for $10 or 10 for $13 – and presumably with the same trimmings adorning them.

Bureks in meat, cheese and cheese-and-spinach flavours are available for what seems like a steep $6.

A post-lunch amble confirmed that is a neighbourhood that will be the target and many repeat visits.

For example, just around the corners is a place called  Saraj, the signage of which announces the availability of “Balkan food”. This being a Monday, the kitchen was closed, so I didn’t even to get check out the menu – but I did note that a $10 gulas was listed on the specials board. The gents relaxing outside cast suspicious glances in my direction as I came and went.  My tie-dyed Grateul Dead T-shirt might have had something to do with that.

For example, Alfrieda St, a wide thoroughfare packed with so many Vietnamese/Chinese eateries, butchers, fish places, groceries and so on that I’m a little surprised that it isn’t more regularly spoken of in the same breath as Footscray, Richmond and Springvale.

For example, Cafe U&I, a splendidly named mixed bag that is part Asian tucker, part ’70s coffee bar and part pasticceria – and where I had a perfect coffee.

For example, a Chinese seafood/yum cha establishment boasting the great title of Just Good Food. Can’t argue with that!

For example. dozens more groceries worth a look – not just Vietnamese, but also Indian, Filippino and even Pacific Island.

4 thoughts on “Cevabdzinica/Central Cafe

  1. St Alban is right on the other side of town. The unknown side to me. But the idea of Bosnia food is intriguing. I shall have to make a trip.

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