Tucked away in a non-descript side street of Belgrade is an alternate universe. A place where nothing is what it seems to be. A place where you can leave your woes and stresses at the door and enter a world of bohemian bizarre or traditional Tuscan depending on which side of the fence you sit.
This then, is the world of Lorenzo & Kakalamba.
Your senses are assaulted the moment you walk in, with a riot of colour. Everything from garden gnomes to a life-size statue of Roger Rabbit’s Jessica. Fortunately, the food offers more stability than the scenery and in less than a year of opening its doors, Lorenzo & Kakalamba is riding high.
For the sake of full disclosure I suppose it’s worth trying to explain the concept behind Lorenzo & Kakalamba, but in all honesty explanations are futile, you just need to jump in at the deep end and start swimming like there’s no tomorrow.
It is meant to be a celebration of the cuisines of Florence and eastern Serbia. On one side of the restaurant is everything Florentine but not as you might know it. All kinds of tongue in cheek architecture and art abound; a salute to Michelangelo here an amusing nod to masterpieces of Renaissance there. The same effort has gone into describing the Pirot section; an upside down sheep hangs from a ceiling here, cloves of garlic and peppers adorn trees there. It is a veritable indoor Garden of Eden. I find it an entertaining complex world where I’m simply a voyeur watching this strange world going about its business.
It is all quite fabulous.
Having said all this, the food and wines are well worth all the effort. I study the menu over a glass-topped table under which real apples peacefully reside. A fellow diner offer up a witty line. “Perhaps this is a form of subliminal advertising. Let’s see if they have apple strudel for dessert.” Good point made, but I suspect it is yet another designer-run-amok concept.
This is a complex menu with perhaps way too many choices. From cold and hot appetizers to salads, soups, pasta, wood-fired pizza and Serbian favourites. I suppose it’s to be expected when you are trying to blend cuisines from two countries and trying to pack everything in.
For starters we decide to take a tour around Tuscany and Pirot; combining the Lorenzo platter (1490 din) bruschette, crostini, chicken liver, prosciutto and pecorino cheese with the Kakalamba platter (1480 din) yellow and white cheese, dried and smoked meats and a red pepper spread.
Of course, in Serbia shopska salads are mandatory too; tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and feta.
For the main, I avoid the anti-aging superfood section with its grilled salmon with chia seeds or squid with goji berries and choose from the “fine fine dining” option. A very tender Tournedos Rossini (3,600 din) foie gras and potatoes with caramelised onion and white truffle oil.
Washing it all down with a very commendable Chianti Classico (3,700 din) makes everything that much more worthwhile.
Lorenzo & Kakalamba is an extraordinary adventure from start to finish and as far as I am concerned I can’t wait to come back and do it all over again.
Featured image (c) Andy Mossack.
Tell me more about . Lorenzo & Kakalamba Restaurant Belgrade
Cvijićeva 110, Beograd 103614, Serbia
Tel: +381 11 3295351