A new restaurant in Belgrade inspired by one man’s love of Serbian wine
GIG restaurant in Belgrade is a new opening in the equally new part of town (Novi Beograde.) When we first arrived to try the tasting menu at GIG, we thought we may have inadvertently walked into a high-end spa instead of a restaurant. But, we definitely had the right place. GIG has a calm, clean and natural aesthetic, which reminded us of a Japanese Onsen or perhaps a fancy Balinese hotel.
With curved design features, dark wooden tables and matching circular shaped stone crockery, it felt mysterious but welcoming in equal measure. The only splashes of colour in the restaurant come from two large vibrant art prints on the walls. Otherwise, GIG is decorated with a pleasingly understated palette that would make even the British interior designer Kelly Hoppen (famed for her love of neutrals) proud.
GIG, which stands for grapes and gastronomy (grožđe i gastronomija) is just that. This restaurant places equal importance on the wine as it does to the food.
Which brings us on to the story of how GIG came to be. The owner of GIG also owns a vineyard, Imperator Winery, in the Fruska Gora wine region of Serbia (to the North of the country) and longed to create a restaurant which could showcase his excellent wines. Hence, the tasting menu at GIG was created to match the wines and not the other way round. As wine lovers and fans of the Serbian stuff, we were chomping at the bit to try our first glass when we heard this.
A fine dining restaurant in Belgrade where the staff are invested in as much as the food
GIG restaurant in Belgrade is the sort of restaurant that you really want to succeed. Not just because the food is outstanding, but because the staff make the restaurant a great experience. At GIG, our hostess Irina was the peak of professionalism and her passion for the restaurant, the food and the wine was plain to see.
The staff wear silk kimono style uniforms, which are aesthetically interesting – they make them look a little like dining room ninjas. They sneak around the restaurant topping up your drink without you hearing them coming.
What stood out to us however, was the knowledge that the staff displayed. From our kind waiter Irina to the passionate chef. It’s clear that the owner of this restaurant has recruited the best and invested in training them, allowing them to learn about everything from the best way to place cutlery on the table to the importance of glassware for wine tasting. It pays dividends.
When you’re taking a tasting menu, you spend a long time with your host, so much so that they become part of your meal. As our waiter said “we will be together for two or three hours on this journey.” And what a joyful journey it was.
You feel as though you are in totally safe hands when dining at GIG. Attention to detail is just perfection, from the Riedel wine glasses to the freshly filtered water infused with crystals.
Best new tasting menu in Belgrade
The GIG tasting menu that we sampled was nine courses strong, with an additional palate cleanser and not just one, but three amuse bouche to kick off proceedings. Chef Uroš treated us to some delectable dishes from start to finish. He played around with flavour combinations that we never thought would go together, but they turned out to be triumphant.
This started with the first amuse bouche, a wafer cone infused with chicken liver and stuffed with hazelnut and raspberry. We were confused when this was described to us, but once we tasted it, we realised the mastery. Next was a small pastry filled with jam and pork. Mangalitsa no less, which is a delicacy found in fine dining in Serbia and the surrounding areas. We imagined eating a giant plate of this dish alongside an ice cold beer in the summer.
A beautiful plate of fresh tuna arrived as our first course, adorned with subtle flavours of white garlic, fennel and lemon gel.
The star of the show in the first half of our meal was undoubtedly the Tartare Rouge. A combination of beetroot, delicately chopped and displayed to look like a tartare dish, was infused with sweet red berry, deep, rich tomato and bitter horseradish. It was a total taste sensation.
This was followed by an expertly cooked prawn bisque with fresh seafood, poured for us at the table.
Fine dining experience in Belgrade at GIG restaurant
We unanimously agreed that the lamb belly, our sixth course, was a splendid surprise. The red wine sauce accompanying the lamb belly was infused with with strong cumin flavours. This was served alongside a Serbian cow cheese sauce, potato topped with lamb shank and a sharp green salad with a fresh vinaigrette. We were then delighted with more Mangalitsa. This time the pork cheeks were served with red onion and mustard. A classic and heartwarming dish.
The final three courses of the tasting menu at GIG were an excellent way to round off our meal. We enjoyed a cheese course, an underrated addition to any tasting menu. A fresh fruit salad with white chocolate ice-cream as a pre-pudding. But Uroš’ last flourish was the best of all three. A chestnut cake accompanied by dark chocolate sorbet. An orange acid hit stopped the dish from being too sweet. Without a doubt, we had just been served the best new tasting menu in Belgrade.
Aside from the food, one of the things that we loved about GIG, is that the restaurant seems to be on a journey and is intent on getting better. There are plans to open a fabulous garden terrace in time for the summer crowds. As well as some fresh ideas for the menu. GIG is due to offer shorter tasting menus for guests interested in vegetarian cuisine or fish. But, if you’re not looking for a tasting menu in Belgrade, you can still order off the extensive a la carte menu at GIG restaurant too.
Wine tasting in Belgrade
So to the wines. The centrepiece of the tasting menu at GIG. The wines accompanying the splendid new tasting menu in Belgrade, are all from Imperator winery. An organic winery in Fruska Gora, which makes a wide range of bottles each uniquely wine named after former Balkan rulers. From the lightness and freshness of the Claudivs (Sauvignon Blanc) which paired beautifully with the prawn bisque, to the dark and powerful tannins of the Qvintillvs (Malbec Merlot) which matched the pork dish. Our favourite was the Pinot Noir, cherry red and light, a perfect blend of fruit.
If you happen to be hankering after something other than wine, GIG also sells a range of craft beers and offers two drinks trollies stocked full of local and international spirits.
A visit to Fruska Gora without leaving Belgrade
It may be a hard sell for a tourist visiting Belgrade for a few days to venture to Novi Belgrade. This part of town is modern, in contrast with the Stari Grad (Old Town) on the other side of the river. Novi Belgrade is primarily a residential area. But, that’s not to say that it is not worth making the journey. In fact, in the summer GIG restaurant Belgrade would be just perfect as a pit stop before heading out to party on the Splav party boats that line the river.
Besides this, GIG restaurant offers the best selection of wine that we found in our entire visit to Belgrade. It rivals any wine bar.
If you want to try Serbian wine, GIG restaurant is the best place for you. Visiting GIG is like visiting the wine regions of Fruska Gora, but without having to leave Belgrade city to do so.
And if you have to eat the luxurious tasting menu whilst you’re sampling the best of Serbian wines, then so be it. Double the pleasure!
How to get to GIG restaurant Belgrade
GIG restaurant can be found in Novi Beograde, which means New Belgrade. This up and coming area of Belgrade is just across the river from the old town and can be reached on foot or with a short bus or boat ride.
The tasting menu at GIG is 12,990 (RSD) ($116/£98), or 16,890 (RSD)($115/£128) including the wine pairings. GIG also serves very reasonably priced a la carte options. This includes larger versions of the courses served on the excellent tasting menu. You can book a table at GIG via their website, found here and get in touch via their Instagram too.
To find out more about Imperator winery, or arrange a visit, you can access their website here.
Experience gifted at GIG restaurant. All opinions are our own.
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