Many of the articles and advice I had read online suggested that the small-ish spa town of Nis in Serbia was a food destination in the country, with particular reference to their excellent pizzas and Italian restaurants. Fast-food pizza joints are common where you can buy pizza by the slice, but we opted to try a more formal sit-down Italian restaurant around the corner from our B&B, called Night and Day.
When you enter, make sure you ask to be seated in the back room which is a no-smoking zone! It means you can sit away from the groups of people chain-smoking in the restaurant as they drink their cocktails and share a pizza. As an added benefit, the TVs in the non-smoking room are constantly tuned to the Serbian TV network 24 Kitchen which runs international cooking shows day-round. It’s quite an addictive network, even when you can’t understand what the presenters are saying and can’t read the subtitles either!
We ordered a Thai Salad with Beef Sirloin Steak to share – I missed my healthy fresh Thai-style salads! Unfortunately this one didn’t quite live up to expectations, with the ‘Thai’ element present only in the slight use of chilli in the creamy mayonnaise dressing and a scant scattering of peanuts on top. The beef had been sliced then over-grilled, resulting in tough leathery pieces of meat, rather than the tender pieces of beef that should top a Thai-style salad. The main benefit of this salad was how ample it was – more than sufficient as a meal for one person, and a good serving to share between two people. Mea culpa – next time, we’ll know to order something simpler like a caprese salad!
We also ordered the Soup of the Day – a creamy mushroom soup served with toasted cheese sandwich triangles on the side. I liked the mushroom soup – despite its name, it actually wasn’t as creamy as I thought it would be, and I think the texture comes more from an abundant use of blended mushrooms than it does actual cream. Unfortunately the gouda in the cheese sandwich wasn’t melted the way it should be in a good cheese toastie – a definite no-no in my book as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the cheese toastie.
We finished off with a pizza – a Prosciutto crudo e Night and Day. Honestly we probably didn’t need to order this pizza as the first two dishes had already filled us up sufficiently. However given the reputation for fine pizza in Nis, we buckled down and bravely ate a few slices each. The prosciutto was quite salty and with the number of olives on the pizza, it proved to be a bit too strong for me – I ended up picking the olives off my slices. I liked the slightly doughier pizza base, but unfortunately it wasn’t cooked as well as it could have been on the base, with no sign of charcoal crusting at all. I found this pizza a bit hit and miss to be honest.
All in all, our meal at Night and Day didn’t quite live up to the expectations set by the numerous articles I’d read extolling the virtues of Italian food in Nis. Perhaps we should have moved away from the more formal sit-down restaurant and tried Night and Day’s more casual takeaway pizzeria just down the street? Casual takeaway dining definitely seems to be more of a trend in Nis – I’ll talk more about that in my next blog entry!
Night and Day is located on the first floor of 31 Obrenoviceva in Nis, Serbia.