Homa, pioneers of Serbian fine dining

Discovering the restaurant of Filip Ćirić and Vlastimir Puhalo, the first interesting establishment in Belgrade

by Giovanni Farinella
The staff at Homa, since 2011 the first fine dini

The staff at Homa, since 2011 the first fine dining establishment in Belgrade, Serbia

The zero year of fine dining in Serbia is 2011, when Homa, a bistro in the Stari grad neighbourhood opened. Before then, the culinary scene that one could see from the fortress of Kalemegdan, was limited to generous dishes – in terms of portions and flavours – such as soup (čorba), vine leaf rolls (sarma), stuffed peppers (punjena paprika), cevapcici and pljeskavica (meatballs and ‘steaks’ of minced meat), served with glasses of rakija.

Then at one point, from the kitchen of number 19 in Žorža Klemansoa, chef Filip Ćirić introduced new memories to a tradition made of Turkish and Austro-Hungarian influences: the hours spent as a child, eyes fixed on the oven while the chicken was roasting, the years of training at Pirot (in south-east Serbia) in a restaurant that sourced its ingredient through barter, the work with statesmen and businessmen, the influence of Istria, the challenges in French and Japanese restaurants.

The result is a cuisine made of simple and tasty ingredients, as required by the local region and taste, which become unique at the same time because they’re the result of a meticulous and eclectic approach to food: to give a few examples, the vine leaves are enriched with lamb, rice, lemon, butter and honey; the peppers are smoked, dried and grilled before being filled with green mung beans and prunes, the beef tongue matures for 30 days before being served with a Bordelaise sauce and a mustard ice cream.

Garganelli with squid ink and calamari

Garganelli with squid ink and calamari

Beefsteak tartare with smoked bone marrow 

Beefsteak tartare with smoked bone marrow 

While the kitchen is a prerogative of Filip Ćirić, marketing and dining room are handed to Vlastimir Puhalo – a career that began in restaurants by chance, at 24, to support his studies – and Italian Antonio Pasarela is in charge of finance and wines.

The interior design is relatively simple but strongly influenced by the diktat of Nordic hegemony, with lots of wood and metal, and an ancient and questionable idea of elegance that forces to eat in religious darkness, in the evening – even though in this case white round lights replace candles.

Guests can order à la carte, the menu includes a range of vegetarian, meat or fish dishes, or choose from two tempting tasting menus with 6 or 8 courses, for a cost of 9,000 dinars maximum (75 euros) excluding wines, a significant amount for the Serbian market and certainly the highest in the city’s fine dining scene.

Senjanina Ive
Belgrado, Serbia
Closed on Tuesday 
Average price: 9,000 dinars​

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso