The trek up Sunny Hill is well worth it for Artizan’s cheap lunch fare and gorgeous, crusty loaves.
Though it’s been around for awhile, Artizan Bakery’s distant, residential location has kept it under my radar. Upon my first visit, I was immediately charmed by the simple, bright interior. Better yet, the presentation of the warming and simple food matches the homey yet clean decor.
The soup of the day, served in a small ceramic pot, is a great deal. The vegetable minestrone was tasty and wholesome, exactly what I’d want if I were under the weather. On a separate day, I also tried the house pumpkin soup. It tasted smooth and natural, although it was a tad bit too sweet. A tangy component, such as a swirl of fresh cream and a squeeze of lemon would help to balance the sweetness. But at 70 cents per serving, it was a great starter before I got to my sandwich.
The rump steak sandwich is nice, a bit reminiscent of an artisan-style philly cheesesteak. Beef, caramelized onions, sweet pickles, and white melty cheese was stuffed between soft sesame sandwich bread.
The chicken sandwich meat was well-cooked and moist and went well with the homemade mystery tomato-based spread. Its panini-style bread was crusty on the outside and just the right amount of softness on the inside. It was accompanied with fresh cucumbers and surprisingly, Doritos corn chips. I could have done without the chips, but everything else tasted fresh and balanced.
The burger was the great surprise, and what this bakery is well-known for in this part of town. It was smaller than your normal Prishtina burger, but alongside a small serving of fries, it was the perfect size to fill you up but not make you crash afterwards. The thick patty is served in a soft bun with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, a melted cheese slice, tomato sauce, and a mystery white sauce – which could be homemade mayo.
In terms of pastries, Artisan has a small selection of muffins, croissants and modest-looking cupcakes. The carrot cupcake wasn’t bad, but really a glorified muffin with a frosting toupe. The cake itself had a great taste but was very dense. The cream cheese frosting was tasty, but the texture missed a smooth, airy quality that I am used to in American style baking. The most surprising part was that the frosting was topped with a plop of ‘flour halva,’ the simple, sweet Balkan paste often served at Bajram or after funerals. The halva had some caramel tones, and worked well with the carrot cupcake’s flavor profile. However, the same toppings were also on the blueberry cupcake, which as a muffin would be simply yummy, and would make a better cupcake paired with a light lemony glaze or frosting.
If cupcakes aren’t necessarily Artizan’s calling, at least the krofne certainly are. These traditional Eastern European jelly-filled donuts are airy and pillow-soft, generously sprinkled with sugar. Ten-out-of-ten.
Unfortunately, sourdough pizza is no longer on the menu, which is a shame because though the lunch menu is delicious, it is rather limited and Prishtina could use such a place. But on the way out, I did notice big round loaves of sourdough rye waiting to be plucked off the bakery shelves. I took one home and it was a hit at Sunday family lunch. It wasn’t as tangy as my preferred San Francisco-style sourdough, but it had a nicely crunchy, slightly burnt crust that went wonderfully with homemade cabbage soup.
Weekend mornings can get crowded with families streaming in to share croissants and Turkish tea. It’s no surprise, as Artizan has excellent offerings at extremely low prices. A walk up Sunny Hill to grab bread and breakfast to-go might just become a regular Saturday morning routine.
22 December 2016 - 15:46
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