A wholly wholesome lunch at Anise

by Plator Gashi07/05/2018 - 09:55


Healthy and toothsome, Anise offers a broad selection of sandwiches and salads alongside a restful ambiance in downtown Prishtina.

For good or ill, depending on who you ask, lunch places in Prishtina are gradually cutting down on the traditional meat and grease of the local cuisine by providing options for non-conforming palates. Furthermore, new restaurants keep offering curious tastes and combinations for the hungry and longing.

Located just a few strides away from the former OSCE headquarters in Prishtina, on the same street as the famous Small Café(s) (Kafja e Vogel), Anise and its unassuming garden do not look too different from many of the other cafes in the neighborhood. But upon walking in, I found a bijou restaurant with cute decor and a tranquil Bossa nova backdrop.

While the place was empty at first, the chairs quickly filled as the clock struck noon. In spite of that, it was far from hectic: the chatter was smooth and the calmness remained intact.

Although I am aware that looks can be deceiving, the beautiful interior did raise my expectations for the food. I sat at one of the few tables next to the white brick walls and was pleasantly surprised by the variety of choices on the slick menu. The selection is dominated by salads and sandwiches, both incorporating a rather broad medley of flavors: from savory to buttery, and juicy to nutty.

Psyllium husk smoothie.| Photo: Plator Gashi.

I started off with the psyllium husk smoothie, the only one I have encountered in town, which was sufficiently refreshing and full in taste. The marriage of apple, coconut milk and chia seeds worked well with a tinge of honey to make a satisfying bridge for the subsequent meal. Only afterwards did I learn that psyllium is supposed to prevent overeating – I guess that did not work in my case.

Of the eight available salads, all of which looked unbelievably good, I chose the bulgur based platter. Surrounded by sweet corn, black beans and chicken breast, the different flavors fit together like a puzzle. The slight, nutty aftertaste of the bulgur was enhanced by rough bits of walnuts scattered over the salad. Although easy to miss, the earthy and bitter undertones of the cumin seeds enrich the general experience of the dish. On top of that, the additional sauce comprising mayonnaise, mustard, lemon and extra virgin olive oil offer a savory, optional adjunct.

Bulgur based salad. | Photo: Plator Gashi.

The chicken and the beans offer enough protein to push through a mediocre day at work, and the lettuce ties the ingredients together.  Other salad choices include a panoply of differing ingredients: rice, eggs, broccoli, avocado, Kalamata olives and even salmon, thus being friendly to vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike.

As salmon seemed like a less common ingredient, I was gratified to learn that they also have a salmon sandwich. Of Norwegian origin, the slices of smoked fish are comfortably placed between two light slices of soft, rye bread without additives. Simple yet hearty in taste, it also contains gjize, a type of local cream cheese, which goes impeccably with the smoky flavor of the cured fish. Bits of dry dill give freshness to the sandwich, which is coupled well with the thin slices of pickled cucumbers.

It is certainly, by far, one of the sandwiches with the most well-working ingredients I have had in Prishtina. Yet, as a disclaimer, I am a big fan of fish, so I do have a bias. (I found myself agreeing with the menu: the dish was indeed crafted with care).  

In addition to the salmon sandwich, Anise offers seven other types of sandwiches, which are as diverse in flavor as the salads. Pick your ingredients: tuna, mozzarella, Indian spices, feta cheese, and others, the combinations are sure to work for most.

Aside from the sandwiches and salads, the menu lists a few quiches, a fresh daily soup and four choices of parfait — quinoa, chia muesli, banana and peanut butter, and avocado. Unsurprisingly, I have a strong urge to go back and try more as I am writing this. Moreover, the menu also includes four desserts, which are probably great if you have any room left after the multitude of entrees.

If you choose to do so, by the time you try the whole menu, you will already want the first meal you started with again. Apart from being very tasty, the dishes are very nutritious, making Anise the place to go for days when you feel exhausted as soon as you wake up, as well as when you want to give yourself a flavorful boost during the day.

07 May 2018 - 09:55



Fehmi Agani n/m


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