It never struck me as the kind of place I'd like to spend my time, until Damjan and I walked by one day and noticed a faded menu – and by menu I mean a a simple pricelist printed on a sheet of A4 paper – hanging from the sign. Among standard meat dishes and french fries, one thing caught my eye: eggs. "We're coming here for brunch one day," Damjan declared, reading my mind.
A couple of weekends ago, we convinced Milovan to come along with us to give it a try. A round of homemade rakija kicked off what would turn into a five-hour-long event, complete with several platters of grilled meat, countless glasses of wine, and many new friends. We set up camp just outside, balancing our drinks and trays of food on a tiny bar while wagons of fish trundled back and forth to the market and a pair of cathedral spires rose overhead.
Of course, it wouldn't be Croatia without song, and we were lucky enough to be serenaded by the two waitresses, who knocked back rakija shots themselves as they poured wine and manned the grill. Somehow, though, they managed to produce the best grilled chicken, liver, and čevapi I've eaten in Zagreb. (Čevapi is a popular seasoned and grilled minced meat dish.)
When we arrived, we ordered just one plate of chicken and liver, skeptical about the food and a little disappointed that all of the eggs had already been devoured. The liver was delicious, so we decided to give the čevapi a go. We ended up ordering four rounds of food.
The problem with most čevapi in Zagreb is that the ground meat is mixed with soy and mineral water – I suppose to make a small amount of meat go a long way. The result is spongy čevapi that fills you with regret as soon as you start to digest. (Gross, I know.) These čevapi, though, were made from pure meat, and the difference was remarkable. Not only are they super tasty, but none of us felt heavy or bloated afterward, which is normally a given when you go out for some grill.
Enough talk: time for photos. I haven't divulged the name of our secret bar because we're not quite ready to give it up yet. It's in a pretty conspicuous spot, though, and you might be able to locate it with the help of the photos. Or, we'd be happy to take you along next time we're craving a hearty brunch.
The bartenders/grill masters/singers. I asked if I could take some photos, and they replied, "Only if you take some of us!"
Finally, the food. Rounds 1-4.
And the final result.