Earlier at the Sweet Hostel Safe House, Local Agent Liberty Rock handed his phone to McBurger who received direct intel from an unknown lady informant. Having no knowledge of the Serbian language, the best we can decipher from what she told us is that we’re to investigate a restaurant whose name may loosely be pronounced to sound like ‘Marshmallow Vodka’.
We’re on the case…
We exit the fortress and cross the river again. This leads straight onto an open promenade/pedestrian strip that denotes one of the downtown areas in Niš. This place is way more built up then it was when we were here years ago. We pause by a statue in the square and pull out our phones. We are now searching the maps app for restaurants while repeating marshmallow vodka, marshmallow vodka. Trying to use our rough understanding of Cyrillic to read if there are any places that sound like marshmallow vodka on the map.
“Pleasure Ambassador?”, “We’re not looking for Serbian sex shops, homie”, “No, no it’s a restaurant”, “Pleasure Ambassador does not sound like Marshmallow Vodka”, “No, I’m just saying. There’s a restaurant with that name. There’s also Pleasure, Pleasure M and Pleasure Center. That one looks like a breakfast joint”, “Guess Serbians get a lot of pleasure from dining. Irish Pub Crazy Horse?”
Ok, this method doesn’t seem to be working. We put the phones away and use our eye sensors to scan spots up and down the strip for marshmallow vodka.
We reach the end and there’s absolutely nothing that sounds like marshmallow vodka. “Try down this way?”, “Sure”, “Whoa check that out!”
McBurger spots a rooftop restaurant with a hammer and sickle logo design that transitions into a knife and fork.
“Fuck marshmallow vodka, we’re doing that!”, “Yep. How do we get up there?”, “Ahhhh don’t.. know..”
We examine the building for possible entrances but nothing obvious is presenting itself out front. Maybe down here? We navigate an alley beside the building and check it out. Yep, there’s a back alley elevator here. “Whaddya think?”, “Fuck it.” We hit the call button, get in, and choose the top floor.
Found it! KGB themed restaurant. “Now that’s top notch Adventure Detective shit right there!” A super model server with dyed blonde hair collects us upon exiting the elevator. She leads us inside. We sit up against the railing to get a view over the city and order some fancy comrade-themed girl drinks. “Meh, G and Ts next?”, “Yep.”
The food looks killer. We opt for a meze plate to start, then I order a beef risotto and MacKay gets a haloumi salad. It’s a little windy by the railing and we’ll probably need more space for this meal so we move to an interior table. This is shaping up to be a great spot. Still not actually sure what it’s called. The menu just has that hammer and sickle logo and something in Cyrillic that I think translates to Kitchen. Or maybe Comrade? We’ll just call it Commie Kitchen.
They’re playing Lenny Kravitz’s greatest hits in here for some reason. Despite that, MacKay and I are still wired with return to Niš energy and the server is having a hard time keeping up with the drink demand. This small amount of forced pacing is probably good for us actually. She does come back with this bombshell meze plate though.
And then returns with some amazing beef risotto. It’s so good.
The haloumi salad ends up being a pasta dish. Creamy and delicious
Wow. Good find. Great meal. And it all only comes out to about 50 bucks with 3 rounds of doubles included. Crazy. Communism is awesome!
We thank our waitress, leave a generous tip, and see ourselves out to the elevator again.
The back alley elevator stops on the next floor down to let people in. Oh maybe this is above a mall. A trio of young locals hop on and we squeeze back to make room. I see the guy pointing at the elevator sign and I parse something similar to ‘over capacity’ from what he says. “Over capacity? Are you saying I’m fat?” the guy spins around slightly shocked, “Haha no, no. Where are you from?”, “Canada”, “Canada?! Wow. Why are you here?”, “We love Nis. It’s actually our second time here”, “Sheesh. That’s nice to hear. How do you like Nis night life?”, the elevator doors open and we step out, “I’ll tell you in the morning!”, “Haha ok have fun”, “You too!”
“Super full after that meal. May need to take a breather”, “We could stop in here for some rehydration drinks?”, “Whoooa. You’re crazy man. Like a gatorade?”, “Yep. We suck at doing that. I think it’s a good… Idea”
We dip into a market called Idea. At the back there is a good section of vitamin juice options. We take them to the front and just as the cashier is running them through I toss a bunch of naughty leg leotards down on the conveyor belt. Fwap! She looks up super surprised. “No no just kidding. Just kidding.” We’re all giggling. She thinks this is hilarious, which in turn makes MacKay and I start laughing harder too. She’s shaking her head, “Haha that’s fun. Have good night”, “You too!”
Alright whadda we got here. “Some happy juice?”, “That will not make you un-crazy.”
These look legit. We pound them on the sidewalk, “Do your job!”
We find some lounge seats at a covered bar section in the middle of the promenade and laze into them. Server Guy comes over and we order a couple more double G&Ts and chill for a bit, recovering from our food comas. We’d sat in almost exactly this spot seven years ago and marveled at wave after wave of insane hotties passing by. “And all the guys had man bags, right?”, “Ya, ya that’s right. Like, every dude had a purse”, “It was a crazy trend that year or something. I haven’t seen one yet on this trip”, “Ya, weird.” (Here’s a blog w funny comments to corroborate)
There is a TV in this lounge area playing VH1 Name That Year which is also providing the music out here. We can’t even name the songs let alone the year. It’s all music we’ve never heard of but is probably incredibly popular outside of the states. First up is Nico & Vinz. “Dude, that sounds way cooler than McBurger and Diesel”, “I’ll be Vinz”, “Shit! I wanted to be Vinz!”
This is followed by Womack and Womack. “You wanna be Detective Womack or Detective Womack?”, “Womack”, “Shit! I wanted to be Womack!”, “You’re outta control Womack”, “No, YOU’RE outta control Womack!”, “Whoooooa Mack!!”
Over another G&T things get even more silly, “We should catch a metal show when we’re in Kosovo”, “Ahh we might not want to openly talk about that here”, “Really? Serbs have a bad attitude about.. Ko..er… Musquodoboit Harbour“, “Haha holy fuck. Yes! Let’s refer to it as that instead”, “Or do you wanna catch a metal show in Kejimkujik?”, “LOL! We’ll drive south through Serbia and cross Musquodoboit Harbour into Kejimkujik ahahah”
This level of nonsensical rambling indicates that we’ve sufficiently lounged through our digestive downtime and are ready to proceed with the shitcannery. “Let’s see what else we can get into”, “Pay up and split?”, “Serbibucks, let’s go.”