Mudra Art Cuisine, Belgrade ‘Dining with the orchestra’ – restaurant review

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Belgrade restaurant scene

When we decided to travel to Belgrade, we hadn’t quite expect to be treated to so many incredible food experiences. It seemed that every street we walked down in this vibrant city had an exciting eatery that we couldn’t wait to dive into.

There are smoke filled dark and cosy nooks, beguiling in the winter. Outdoor terraces, begging to be enjoyed under the sun. And more Serbian restaurants serving Goulash, than one could ever need. Belgrade is not a city that fades into the background when it comes to food. Far from it. Belgrade has such a thriving nightlife scene on offer that people here seem to be constantly out and about and enjoying it.

With so many fantastic establishments in Belgrade, restauranteurs who want to stand out from the crowd need to shout quite loudly. They not only need to offer fantastic service and food, but also a unique experience. One such restaurant that has accepted this challenge, is Mudra Art Cuisine Belgrade.

In fact, Mudra has really upped the ante with their new offering in Zemun. In the heart of a classy district of Belgrade, you will find an immersive fine dining experience like no other. Forget going out for dinner and then a show, in Mudra Art Cuisine the theatre comes to you. The question is, are you ready to be entertained?

Fine dining in Belgrade….

Mudra Art Cuisine in Belgrade, has only been open for two weeks at the point that we take our seats. We find a cosy table for two directly in front of a small stage. Despite the fine dining restaurant being in its infancy, two things are immediately obvious.

Firstly, the restaurant is already popular. On a Thursday evening when we visit, there are only one or two empty tables, which have been cleared from an earlier sitting. Otherwise, there are couples on dates enjoying the dimly lit and romantic atmosphere. There are groups of friends chattering quietly on large tables. Smartly dressed clientele of all ages fill every corner of the restaurant. It is clear that Mudra Art Cuisine is making an impact with the upmarket diners of the Zemun district.

Secondly, the staff do not reveal any indication that opening night was quite such recent history. As our delightful host assures us “we are professionals.” The restaurant had a soft opening to help smooth out any teething problems. This seems to have been time well spent. Much like the orchestra playing in the background, the waiting staff move together in harmony, each man with his own instrument to play.

The service in Mudra Art Cuisine restaurant is top notch. Menus are readily translated to English for us with knowledgeable flair, dishes are served carefully and the wine is treated with the respect it deserves. White wine is chilled in a cooler and placed as though it is a guest at the table. The red is decanted expertly and we watch a tall waiter cradling the glass cylinder so gently that it could have been his first born. We are asked to check the cork. A nod to tradition and fine dining at it’s most decadent.

….with a twist

“Is everybody in? Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin.

Jim Morrison

Pristine white table cloths, chandeliers and a permanent piano player are normally a bit of a giveaway that a restaurant might be trying a little too hard. But, there is no sense of this in Mudra Art Cuisine. The stale or stuffy atmosphere that can sometimes suck the life out of a “posh” restaurant are not to be found in Mudra Art Cuisine. As soon as the enthralling sounds of the violin erupt there is absolutely no risk of having a dull night. There’s nothing pretentious or clinical, instead the whole evening becomes escapist. When the music plays, we quickly forget where we are.

We are treated to orchestral interludes throughout our dinner. Violinists and a cellist integrate with the crowd downstairs. Upstairs a balcony full of saxophonists loom over us. A conductor stands proudly on the stage, whipping the orchestra up to delight us with Guisieppi Verdi. In between the music a gregarious host dressed head to toe in sequins and feathers appears on stage to introduce the next act and amuse diners.

When we first heard about the concept of Mudra Art Cuisine, an immersive dining experience with orchestra, poetry and theatre performances, we were a little apprehensive. Would it be a little awkward or stilted? But, Mudra Art Cuisine gets it just right. The music is not overbearing. Instead it punctuates dinner at perfect intervals, giving customers just enough time to talk in between. One diner dabbed at their eyes delicately with a tissue, so touched by the music that tears had formed. We too were shamelessly entranced by the music.

The prettiest plates of food in Belgrade

Chef Aleksandar Kerekes commands the kitchen at Mudra Art Cuisine Belgrade. The chef has the experience to put this new Belgrade restaurant on the map. He has worked in Michelin Star restaurants in Spain previously. Latterly Aleksandar Kerekes was the executive chef at Mudra Art Cuisine in Kotor, Montenegro. His flair for design is evident and doesn’t fail to delight diners.

We sample the Tuna Tartare flavoured unusually with blood orange. A perfectly sized portion for the prologue of the meal. Next a Shrimp Ceviche which dances around our palates like a spring symphony. Bright, light and zesty. It is clear that Kerekes favours complex, delicate dishes with integrity of flavour and structure. The dishes are dressed up to look like art, colourful and vibrant. But the nuance and importance of taste is not neglected in the slightest.

The star of the show for us is the Cocquilles Saint Jacques. We can pick up hints of dill and a subtle pea flavour – classic combinations handled expertly. But even more exciting is the contrasting tang and sharp acidity of green apple against the buttery cream of the scallops. As if part of the show, our waiter conjures up a bottle of ice cold white wine from the North of Serbia, the floral undertones of which match perfectly with our seafood.

And a most enthralling menu

Each dish is turned out with precision, detail and distinctive style. No plate is allowed to leave the kitchen until it resembles a work of art. As we look around at other diners, we note the “oos” and “ahs” as each course is laid in front of them. Even the most well versed fine diners, of which there are many, are unable to stop themselves from letting out an audible gasp. The musical accompaniment, the art of the food, the theatre of the night; it is one surprise after another for diners.

The menu is seafood heavy, which is fitting with the riverfront location. It is a treat for pescatarians. But the Veal Ragout and Steak Tartare will also please meat lovers. Other dishes offered on the menu include classic flavour combinations, Beetroot Carpaccio paired with Goats Cheese, Risotto with Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara. These dishes still delight with a delicacy of touch. The Tasting Menu “Degustaicioni Meni” in Serbia, offers the chance to sample the best of Kerekes’ creations, at a reasonable price point for seven courses.

Decadent restaurant in Zemun

Mudra Art Cuisine restaurant occupies a prime position on the banks of the river Danube in the exclusive Zemun district. If you’re visiting Belgrade for the first time, you may be tempted not to travel to Mudra Art Cuisine the most decadent restaurant in Zemun. Or indeed or as far as Zemun at all. This would be a mistake.

Yes, Zemun may feel as though it is quite far from Belgrade centre, but the trip over the river is worth it. Not only to visit Mudra Art Cuisine, but to see the quaint and romantic streets of this neighbourhood. A stark contrast to much of the brutalist architecture found elsewhere in the city. Here you can walk along the boat lined river by day and dine with the orchestra by night.

To get to Zemun from Belgrade centre, a taxi will take around 20 minutes. Bus number 83 will also drop you off close to Mudra Art Cuisine. You can find the schedule for entertainment for Mudra Art Cuisine on their Instagram or Facebook account. The tasting menu at Mudra Art Cuisine is 12,500 RSD (approximately $115) or including wine pairing for 19,500 ($175). A la carte prices range from 1,150 to 2,850 RSD ($10 to $25) for a starter and 1,650 to 3,650 RSD ($14 to $33) for a main course.

Experience gifted at Mudra Art Cuisine. All opinions are our own.

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