Sunday, October 23, 2016

Zemun, Serbia: Lunch on the Stari Slep Boat

Not too far away from Belgrade city is the seaside town of Zemun. The town is officially part of the greater Belgrade area and is about 15 minutes drive with the car.

I was here in Zemun on my last day in Serbia. I planned on having lunch on the boulevard before driving off to the airport which is located nearby as well. It would be a nice change after leaving the busy city of the capital.

Arriving in town was easy. My old Nokia Mini GPS wasn’t working on street level but it brought me to the heart of the town. Parking was difficult to find so I had to drive a bit further down the road. When you are travelling in a strange city with a rental car, and especially on your last day in the country, the last thing you want is to have a rift with the local police. I do not want to miss my flight! So I made sure I find a safe place to park the car. I got lucky because I found a free parking space the minute I entered this block full of parked cars. The place wasn’t very far from the waterfront boulevard as well.

My initial plan was to have lunch at a restaurant along the boulevard. The pictures on the website of this particular restaurant looked good, but for some reason, I could not find it, and I did not want to waste my time searching for it as well.

I got lucky though, whilst walking on the boulevard, I spotted this blue and white boat which looked more like a recycled junk boat really, docked on the water halfway across the boulevard. It has a small bridge, and I saw people walking on it, getting inside the boat and going out as well. I got intrigued naturally. I have to admit that I do not understand Serbian Cyrillic language but I guessed that it must be a restaurant.

Well, my hunch was indeed correct. It is a restaurant—And I now know where I will eat for lunch!

The name of the boat restaurant is Stari Slep (Restoran Stari šlep). I found out when I asked the waiter who barely spoke English if they have internet. You see everyone knows WIFI and it says Stari šlep Wifi =)

So I was the only tourist on board and it was very obvious that the boat restaurant caters 99% to the locals and local tourists. They only have 1 menu in 1 language so I had to do some guessing game. But I gave up and asked the waiter again for some assistance. But he was not much of a help, not being familiar with English, so he summoned another colleague who he says speaks English.

Well I found out that my new waiter is the only waiter in the boat who speaks English. He saved the day for me.

After a little bit of scanning the menu and discussing my options, I have made my choice and ordered a traditional food specialty from the area – stuffed fish with potatoes. I cannot remember the name in the local language though. A bit heavy but the wait staff promised it is the best choice for me. I paired it with a small bottle of the local brew, a Jelen beer. The bottle reminds me of San Miguel beer in the Philippines.

The kitchen was rather quick and before I knew it the food was served on my table. I could not contain my surprise though on the manner of presentation of the dish, in particular the fish. I was quite not sure if it was theatrical or too raw. And if it was appetising at all? You be the judge. Scroll down below for the picture.

The fish however was delicious; it was fresh, meaty and juicy and the filling of rice, tomatoes and paprika were very tasty as well. The potatoes that accompanied it were also cooked very well. I am not a big potato fan but this was really good. But rather redundant though, carbo on carbo, but hey, this is Eastern Europe, they love their carbs here. The bread, another carbo added into the energy type of food mix that came too late was also nice—warm and nicely done, but yes it came when I was finishing the fish.

If only sitting (later) on the plane and the miles flown could count as burning calories. Well, I enjoyed the Jelen beer too, if that was a consolation.

To sum this up: This was an interesting lunch amidst the locals in a quite peculiar setting. Definitely not something that I can easily forget.

Walking the plank to the boat restaurant.

It was a bit cold to be sitting outside the outdoor boat terrace.

The boat is divided into a cafe with the outdoor terrace and a proper restaurant. I chose to sit at the restaurant. You can see the menu in Serbian.

The local brew -- Jelen.

This lunch was quite heavy I must admit. I do not think I ate dinner later in the evening when I arrived back in the Netherlands.

This is how I learned the name of the restaurant, haha.

The view from the boat. You can see Belgrade city in the far distance.

Travel Period: March 2016
Destination: Zemun (Belgrade), Serbia

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or iPhone.

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