Back to Balkan Dinner @ Divido, Mount Hawthorn, W.A.

Three days before I left for Italy, I attended the Back to Balkan Dinner at Divido, a special event to celebrate the Croatian, Macadonian and Greek roots of the team behind Divido. I was intrigued at the idea, particularly by what makes a “balkan” meal and was also looking forward to heading back to Divido, as A and I really enjoyed our meal the last time we were there.

Upon arriving, we looked over the menu for the evening and noticed the large amount of food we were promised – including a spit pig. Reading over Divido’s explanation of the evening on their website, it mentions that the quality of food is not the only important aspect of a Balkan dinner but the quantity is as well. We can definitely say that they met both of these requirements – the food was spectacular and there was enough to feed a small army!

On the night, A and I were seated to Kristy, from Kristy Leigh’s Food for Thought, and her husband. It was lovely to meet Kristy, who is seriously passionate about her food! Typically, her blog features her created recipes however she did write a blog post on the Back to Balkan dinner, which you can read here.

Our Balkan dinner began with Polenta Sourdough served with Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar. The sourdough arrived warm and even though polenta sourdough is typically a dense bread, Divido managed to still make it fluffy. An excellent starter that was a good indication of what was to come.

Polenta Sourdough

Polenta Sourdough

The Balkan dinner was split into three courses, each with a variety of dishes to share between the table. The entrée featured five dishes, covering the entire tabletop. The first dishes I tried were the Salate od Hobtnice (Slow cooked octopus with shallots, olives and EVOO) and the Kiseli Piperki (pickled peppers and cauliflower). I couldn’t find fault with either dish.

Kiseli Piperki

Kiseli Piperki

The Sarma reminded me of a similar dish my mother made me when I was growing up. It consisted of braised veal, pork and smoked bacon rolled within pickled cabbage leaves. It’s impossible for me to say it was better than my mother’s version but it was a very enjoyable dish.

Sarma

Sarma

Our Skordalia (shallow fried salt cod with garlicky potato puree) required 24 hours of preparation time for the salting of the cod. The end result were soft, salty pieces of fish that was paired perfectly with a garlicky potato puree.

Skordalia

Skordalia

My favourite entrée of the evening was the Guba so Ciren, a cheese and leek burek made with traditional filo pastry. Growing up in a Middle Eastern household, my mother made something similar called ‘Gollash’, but minus the leek. The crunchy, buttery filo envelopes a cheese and leek filling – it’s delicious!

Guba so Ciren

Guba so Ciren

After our shared entrée, I could have skipped the mains and gone straight to dessert but was intrigued by the wood roasted suckling pig – my first suckling pig to sample! For our mains, we shared two types of wood roasted meats; the Pecane Janje (wood roasted lamb, lemon and oregano) and the Pacena Swinjetina (wood roasted suckling pig, paprika, and garlic).

 Pecane Janje & Pacena Swinjetina

Pecane Janje & Pacena Swinjetina

My favourite of the two was the lamb, which was possibly the best lamb I have tasted. It was super soft and the flavour from being wood roasted was subtle but it was very unique. The entire table mentioned that it was the highlight and definitely outshone the pig.

To match our wood roasted lamb and pig, we were served Fagiolakia (Braised beans, tomato and cumin)…

Fagiolakia

Fagiolakia

… as well as Salata od Krumpira, a Croatian crushed potato salad, made with olive oil, parsley and aged vinegar and Kupas Salate, a Croatian coleslaw. All three dishes were excellent accompaniments to the meat.

Salata od Krumpira

Salata od Krumpira

By this stage, I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough room for dessert however when the array of desserts arrived, I couldn’t help but try everything.

The favourite of the night was the Turkish Delight ice-cream, made in-house. There were big chunks of Turkish delight within the rosewater flavoured ice-cream and it transported me back to eating traditional Turkish delight in my childhood.

Turkish Delight ice-cream

Turkish Delight ice-cream

I also enjoyed the Napolitanki, a Croatian take on a chocolate and hazelnut wafer, but not as light. The flavours are strong and if you enjoy the flavour combination of chocolate and hazelnuts, then you’ll definitely enjoy this dessert.

Napolitanki

Napolitanki

Once again, I felt as though I stepped back into my mother’s kitchen whilst eating the Melomakarona (Spiced pecan cookies in syrup), as my mother made ‘Ka’ak’, an Egyptian cookie recipe that is typically eaten during celebrations. The Melomakarona’s were very heavy, dense cookies with a unique flavour, thanks to the spices used.

Melomakarona

Melomakarona

We were also presented with Kolac, a Croatian torta.

Kolac

Kolac

Both A and I had an excellent night sampling this Balkan feast and I really hope that Divido does another Back to Balkan dinner in the near future. Trying dishes from cuisines that are rich in history but not easily accessible around Perth was an excellent aspect of this evening, as well as the excellent food presented by Divido.

Highly recommended.

Divido on Urbanspoon

A and I would like to thank Divido for a fantastic evening.

Comments

    • perthfoodjournal says

      Hey Kath!

      Can’t see where this was announced – can you please direct me?

      Thanks x

  1. says

    Great Blog review! Thanks for coming along – we are glad that you enjoyed the night :)

    We will put out the word about your review so that you can gain some extra followers.

    We have conducted a bit of research on our facebook page to see if the public are interested in us staging another BACK TO BALKAN event and the response has been overwhelming…..so we are pleased to announce that we WILL be doing it again:)

    The next BACK TO BALKAN dinner will be in June – with a completely new….and very exciting & different, menu for this second instalment.

    If you are on our Divido Devotee database, you will be the first to receive all of the event and menu info next week, before it is released to the public/facebook etc. You can sign up to our database here:
    http://www.divido.com.au/#/devotee-form/4571586369

    Thanks again, and hope to see you around for Round 2!
    Elena – Divido Restaurant

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