It was Saturday night, it was well below freezing and I was in need of a good feed. I headed back up the hill to the west of the Sarajevo old town and soon alighted upon Mala Kuhinja.
It’s worth pausing to mention that Bosnia has not caught up with the rest of the world in banning smoking inside restaurants and cafes. This gives the place a really outmoded feel. It felt particularly incongruous in this setting which was one of the city’s smarter mid-market eateries.
Anyhoo, upon arrival I was seated at a table next to the window. I was not brought a menu as they don’t have one. Instead the waiter asked what I might like to eat, whether I had an allergies or preferences, and how hungry I was.
This approach is fair enough, but all I was able to advise was a preference for something local in terms of both food and drink. The suggestion was a meaty main course which sounded fine. Soup was suggested to start which seemed a good plan.
The chicken soup soon arrived and was in a very similar style to the soup I’d had at Avlija. This was no bad thing as again in was a heartily meaty dish that fit the chilling temperatures very nicely.
The main course was less successful. Two chunks of peppered steak had been stuffed with a smoked cheese and consequently cooked rather beyond medium to ensure the cheese melted. It seemed an odd combo and a poor use of what was quite good quality meat.
The accompaniments to the dish were rather better with good roast potatoes and crisp fresh veg. A side dish of creamy curried mushrooms was another oddity and failed attempt at fusion cooking.
Dessert arrived in the shape of a fruits of the forest topped cheesecake which was pretty good. I rounded out with decent espresso. It had been a mixed bag.
Overall, it was slightly hard to assess Mala Kuhinja. The no menu approach didn’t really work out for me as I suspect if I had a better idea of what they usually cooked or the style of the restaurant, I may have been able to guide them more helpfully towards a main dish I would have enjoyed better than overcooked beef. It’s still worth a look, but I’d suggest you do some research or preparation before your visit to have a chance of enjoying it more fully than I did.
Blythe scores Mala Kuhinja
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
I ate: chicken soup, smoked cheese stuffed peppered beef with seasonal veg, roast potatoes and curried mushrooms, forest fruits cheesecake
I drank: local lager, local red wine
I wore: Hawaiian shirts 4 evah
Total bill: 56.50