Balkan Grill, 57 St Albans Road, St Albans. Phone: 0438 887 017
Bennie: “This is stupidly good!”
Kenny: “Wow … mmmmmm!!!”
Bennie: “Absolutely top tier!”
Kenny: “Why would anyone ever want a regular burger again after having these?!”
These are some of the comments uttered by Team CTS as we chow down on two utterly fabulous burgers at the newly re-located Balkan Grill.
We met Danilo Majmunovic when he was ensconced in the clubrooms of an Ardeer soccer club.
With the football season completed, he has moved on – to a small shopping strip on St Albans Road, one we’ve whizzed by countless times on the way to Alfrieda Street.
As we head this way for a Tuesday lunch, we’re truthfully not that optimistic the new Balkan Grill will be open and running.
But it is – and there even a few other customers in and the odd delivery going out the door.
This augurs well, we reckon, for the ongoing prosperity of Dani’s new project, offering a wonderful contrast to the more Asian-inclined food to be found up the road a few blocks.
True, at this early point some of the more earthy items on the menu (see below) – potato pie, beef ragu, stuffed cabbage leaves – are yet to be offered. But they’re on the way for sure.
But the grill is running so we’re happy to grapple with that in the form of a couple of super-dooper Balkan burgers ($15).
We each have half of the two burgers we order.
Bennie prefers the plain burger patty (above) with its mixture of beef and pork.
I prefer for the more charry flavours of the beef chevapi sandwich (top photo).
In the both cases, the meat is excellent.
But that is just part of the story here.
Because the dressings – ajvar, just the right amount of chopped white onion, excellent tomato and greenery, some mayo – are absolutely spot on.
And the glory that is the Balkan Grill burgers doesn’t end there.
We are well used – as, I’m sure, are all our readers – to considering burger buns/bread as little more than an after thought.
And that goes for the trashiest of fast food right up to the most hipsterised brioche.
Here, the house-made “buns” – sarajevski somun – are a real-deal part of the meal and simply superb and chewy in their own right.
Given that significant substance and the size of the burgers, $15 is an excellent price – even without chips.
But we order some anyway at $3 a pop and they’re fine.
As well, for review purposes, we re-acquaint ourselves with Dani’s cabbage salad ($5) – it’s as vinegary and excellent as ever.
There’s nothing else for us to say.
Except this: Get thee to Balkan Grill and burger up!