21 Grams: beloved Dubai Balkan restaurant to reopen with 'new point of view'
Owner Stasha Toncev will reopen her popular Jumeirah Beach Road restaurant on Monday, July 20
Beloved Umm Suqeim Balkan bistro 21 Grams is reopening with a fresh menu, different working hours and a "new point of view".
Owner Stasha Toncev will reopen her popular Jumeirah Beach Road restaurant on Monday, July 20.
This comes after a two-and-a-half month closure for the small business, which cultivated a loyal fanbase as the first restaurant in Dubai to serve food solely from the expansive Balkan Peninsula.
In a statement, Toncev says the cafe will reopen with a "completely revamped and developed new menu", which will offer "a different point of view".
The new menu will offer more of what the bistro has come to be known for; melding traditional home-cooking with modern Balkan dishes using locally sourced ingredients.
However, purists shouldn't fret: Toncev has promised that their hugely popular breakfast dishes, such as the Komplet egg and the cheese burek, will still be on offer.
New menu items include sarma, sour cabbage rolls with minced beef and smoked wagyu brisket; Adriatic octopus with fennel sauce; and Wagyu beef cevap tartare.
21 Grams will no longer be open for dinner: Toncev announced that the restaurant's new working hours would be 8am to 5pm, to allow them to focus solely on breakfast and lunch (and everything in between).
Wasn't it closing for good?
In April, the 21 Grams team did say they could no longer sustain their operation, but have clearly now found a way.
The bistro has been closed since late April: it reopened briefly following the easing of Dubai government regulations and moved to a delivery-only model, but was unable to sustain itself and announced it would close and "re-evaluate the operation".
"While we have hoped to enter our strongest year to date, the Covid pandemic has shattered those hopes, dreams and plans," the April statement read.
"The reality is that we don’t know how long this pandemic is going to last, what the fallout will be and what the new ‘normal’ will look like. While there are some changes in restrictions, and some of our peers have reopened, we simply cannot sustain operating in current circumstances."
The small restaurant is known for dishes such as its piquant pindjur eggs, brothy komplet eggs and perfectly flaky burek.
Its dishes cover a geographical area that includes Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, mainland Romania, southern Serbia, and even bits of Greece, Turkey and Italy.
Over the centuries, various parts of the Balkan Peninsula were controlled by at least three empires – the Ottomans, the Austro-Hungarians and the Italians. Accordingly, Balkan cuisine is a combination of these different influences, and includes a diet rich in breads, cheeses and meat.
Updated: July 15, 2020 12:52 PM