Author: Ajla Omerhodzic
Brunch is a relatively new concept in Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina that is known for its traditional food mainly associated with the also traditional three meals of the day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nonetheless, it has certainly grown to attract the attention of local residents as well as tourists. While it first experimentally appeared as a rare offer in some restaurants in Sarajevo several years ago, this globally popular option has found its way to become regular in an increasing number of catering facilities across the city.
What exactly is brunch? In a nutshell, brunch is a word coined from the words breakfast and lunch, and as such it is a combination of these two meals. Brunch is typically served from early morning until mid-afternoon. It thus represents a convenient option for the early birds as well as those who prefer to get up later during the day.
Brunch options in catering facilities in Sarajevo, but also around this city, may vary depending on the food concept of the place that serves them. However, this can only be seen as a positive side, since it adds to the diversity of the offer and citizens can learn many different brunch experiences by visiting different places and enjoying a variety of tastes.
Bosmal Arjaan by Rotana
‘Urban café.deli’ is an all-day dining restaurant located at Bosmal Arjaan by Rotana, the first branded aparthotel in Sarajevo, at 12 Milana Preloga Street, and it offers a brunch option to its visitors every Saturday, from 12:00 to 16:00 hours.
In addition to a rich a la carte brunch menu, this family-friendly brunch also offers a children’s buffet section, a playroom with face painting and lots of fun games. The brunch served at ‘Urban cafe.deli’ is based on an open buffet and is conceptually and essentially the same every Saturday. Depending on the time of the year, the restaurant makes slight changes to the seasonal dishes such as salads, side dishes and desserts. Given the huge variety of meals, all guests should be able to find something that will satisfy their senses of taste and smell. The brunch is served with salads and cold appetizers, and several types of main courses, accompanied by a rich selection of local and international desserts.
Speaking for Pulse.ba, Director of Business Development at Bosmal Arjaan by Rotana Enis Hadzimujic elaborated on the brunch offer at ‘Urban café.deli’, saying that an important characteristic of this brunch is the family atmosphere. “Brunch is most popular on weekends and is characterized by the fact that it replaces family lunches. In one word, brunch is a meal that we enjoy slowly and in company. One of the pillars of our work at ‘Bosmal Arjaan by Rotana’ hotel is creating precious moments for each of our guests, which is really our promise to each and every one of them. Spending quality time with your loved ones is increasingly difficult in the fast-paced modern world. That is why our goal is to create a comfortable environment precisely for such occasions”, Hadzimujic underlined.
Another popular place in Sarajevo to have brunch is the pastry shop ‘Mrvica’, at its Old Town location at 1 Jelica Street. ‘Mrvica’ serves brunch on Sundays, from 08:00 to 14:00 hours.
Each Sunday, a large part of the old town facility of ‘Mrvica’ is reserved for guests wanting to have brunch. This brunch is based on an open buffet, and it offers a lot of breakfast foods such as eggs being prepared in different ways, domestic sorts of fresh cheeses from ‘Mrvica’ farms, fresh salads, but also a lot of different desserts and healthier sweet options. ‘Mrvica’ is famous for preparing its original Nutella-like chocolate dessert called ‘Mrvella’ and a thick caramel sauce that can be served either on croissants or sprinkled with loads of nuts and muesli and eaten with a spoon.
The content of ‘Mrvica’ brunch rarely changes, meaning that it usually includes the same variety of dishes, with occasional additions of new dishes aimed to surprise guests eager to try new things. All dishes are served in an extremely aesthetically pleasing manner and quite resemble the dishes seen on popular cooking shows, which ‘Mrvica’ guests also have the chance to watch while eating.
Slatko i Slano
The restaurant ‘Slatko i Slano’ has been regularly organizing brunches at its location at 9 Lozionicka Street since July 2019. The brunch is available on Saturdays from 09:00 to 13:00 hours. The special feature of the brunch at ‘Slatko i Slano’ is seen in the fact that it is organized under the name ‘Jufkali Brunch’, which literally means a brunch made of phyllo dough.
The idea of organizing ‘Jufkali Brunch’ has emerged from the desire to introduce phyllo dough products that the brand ‘Bujrum’, belonging to ‘Slatko i Slano’, is known for to the restaurant’s guests. Hence, the brunch includes sweet and savory pastries, particularly different kinds of pies. Besides a range of these pastry products, ‘Slatko i Slano’ serves various types of other dishes, sweets, salads and spreads, since guests tend to enjoy a greater variety of foods on the table during brunch time.
In a statement to Pulse.ba, Public Relations Manager and Marketing Assistant at ‘Slatko i Slano’ Naida Kraljic explained that, at brunch time, ‘Slatko i Slano’ guests were provided with a unique opportunity to try out “pastries prepared according to original recipes, using the finest phyllo dough of the brand ‘Bujrum’”. “To those who do not know, the word ‘bujrum’ means ‘welcome’, by which we want to say that everyone is welcome to our brunch. We are certain that they will enjoy and experience the wonderful world of flavors”, added Kraljic. She concluded that, in the summertime, ‘Slatko i Slano’ brunch is served in the outdoor area of the restaurant, so that the guests can use the best of the sunny days, while in the cold wintertime, brunch is served inside the restaurant.
Tarcin Forest Resort
Those who prefer having their morning and mid-afternoon meal outside the urban zone of Sarajevo, in its more natural surroundings, can do that even if they choose to escape the stress of everyday life and opt for a more scenic, forest surrounding filled with fresh air. One location of this kind is ‘Tarcin Forest Resort’, found around 38 kilometers away from Sarajevo, in Tarcin settlement.
It is possible to take a break at this breathtaking forest scenery and enjoy sustainable and healthy foods at the resort’s restaurant, with a family brunch option served on both days of the weekend, from 11:00 to 14:30 hours.
This brunch is specifically designed for families seeking a perfect place for their quality time together. As the family brunch and the restaurant in general are very child-friendly, children under the age of six get their brunch for free and the facility provides them with numerous high chairs for feeding. The resort is conceptualized in the manner that all of its segments are related to a healthy lifestyle, so all meals from the brunch buffet are also made with selected, natural, healthier and unrefined ingredients.
Besides the fact that all of the foods are locally produced and homemade, a major positive side for all families with children - as well as other people who are up for brunching in the middle of a fresh air oasis - is that the entire restaurant is a smoke-free zone. As a matter of fact, ‘Tarcin Forest Resort’ is even included in the online map of smoke-free public places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, created by the anti-smoke initiative ‘Smeta Mi’ (‘It Bothers Me’) to help anyone wanting to find public smoke-free locations, whether it be cafés, restaurants, hostels and hotels, hair salons or other facilities.
For more information on other smoke-free places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, feel free to check out our comprehensive article on this topic.
While brunch is typically organized on days of the weekend, the restaurant ‘Oxygen’ within the first amusement park with an alpine coaster in Bosnia and Herzegovina - ‘Sunnyland’ - offers brunch during working days. ‘Sunnyland’ is located in Miljevici district, on Mount Trebevic above Sarajevo, and it takes only about a ten-minute drive from the city center to reach it. This makes it a great opportunity to briefly step back from the air polluted urban zone and breathe in tons of fresh air, while brunching delicious meals and enjoying a stunning view towards the city, visible even from the restaurant. As a matter of fact, this could even be a convenient option for a business lunch, or for a quick yet satisfying meal during lunch break at work.
‘Sunnyland’ serves brunch, calling it ‘Quick Lunch’, on Monday through Friday, from 11:00 to 14:00 hours. Guests can pick out their meals from five available menus. A special protein brunch has also been included into the offer.
Historically, brunch originated in England in the late 19th century and became popular in the United States in the 1930s. This concept can partly be traced back to the upper-class British tradition of hunting luncheons. In between rousting the foxes, men and women gathered for decadent early lunches, complete with a multitude of meats, egg dishes and plenty of adult beverages. That meal was in fact registered as the first time that breakfast and lunch foods were combined into one mega-meal. Throughout the years, brunch foods changed in a way to please the tastes of the target customers, but the general, traditional concept has been largely preserved. In terms of linguistics, the term ‘brunch’ was coined by author Guy Beringer, in his 1885 essay that originally appeared in Hunter’s Weekly. Beringer wrote about the health benefits of replacing the traditional heavy, late Sunday meals - common in England - with a brunch that offers a spectrum of lighter dishes.
Keeping up with the modern trends, albeit being known for traditional heavy meals, Sarajevo has turned into a B&H hub where the brunching takes place. Based on the current options that are available here, brunch has become ideal for spending a casual morning or mid-afternoon time with friends and family, enjoying delicious foods that bring the best of both worlds - breakfast and lunch. Besides, who wouldn’t want to enjoy one meal in a day tailored to the taste of an upper-class British? Following the positive examples of restaurants that have so far marked success and attracted a lot of people to their original brunches, it is surely not excluded that more catering facilities with this sort of meals will keep on coming, creating room for socializing while exploring a multitude of novelties in the area of food.