Stasha Toncev and Chef Urosh Mitrasinovic
You can take the Serbians out of Serbia, but you can’t take Serbia out of the Serbians. Wait, what?
When your title is, Chief SoulKitchen Officer, work’s not just a 9 – 5. A hospitality, marketing and events background plus a passion for sharing the flavours of the Balkan Peninsula, meant that Stacha Toncev was destined to create a space where an edible piece of her heritage could come to life. Together with Head Chef Urosh, who trained in the US then returned to Serbia to explore his love of local ingredients, dishes and cultures; they’ve introduced the UAE to the warmth of their homeland at award-winning bistro, 21 GRAMS.
Fasoulia Piaz Bean Salad
Beans had a serious glow-up.
Beans are a staple of Balkan cuisine, and on every street, someone will insist that their recipe is the “right” one. White and red kidney beans, roasted red pepper, fresh cherry tomatoes, spring onion, red onion and aromatic herbs, all doused in the most gimme-more feta dressing. Sounds about right to us.
Balkan Roasted Veg with Labneh Dip
Labneh to meet you.
These flavours are apparently reminiscent of a Balkan summer. Well, whatever the season, we’re into it. Sweet, smoky roasted red and yellow peppers, hearty grilled eggplant and zucchini, all marinated in olive oil, parsley and a dash of vinegar, then topped with feta cheese and walnuts, and served with a creamy labneh and yogurt dip.
Beef Shish Cevap Wrap
Talk about a crowd pleaser.
What’s better than one great recipe? TWO. Duh. A Shish Cevap is a blend of two all-time fave Balkan street food dishes – a cevapi, or Balkan kebab, and a pljeskavica, the Balkan burger. This spiced beef kebab sits in a homemade flatbread that’s smeared with chilli cheese called urnebes, roasted red pepper relish called Ajvar, then topped with parsley and pickled red onions and purple cabbage.