Zagreb is not a transit city anymore, but still lacks street food.
International restaurants in the Croatian capital are offering guests “the world cuisine on a plate”, and the increasing number of new such restaurants in Zagreb shows that they are becoming a profitable business, reports Poslovni.hr on March 20, 2016.
Last summer, Bloomberg published an article about the best new street food restaurant in London which offers traditional culinary specialties from Sri Lanka. Brian Senaratne happily read it and returned to work in his restaurant Curry Bowl in the heart of Zagreb. The article was published at the time when he opened his own restaurant serving Sri Lankan cuisine, and it was the first such restaurant Croatia. His Bloomberg-reading habit remained from his previous career. In 2014, Brian was named as the best manager in Sri Lanka. He was 33 and working at Microsoft. But, all this had not motivated him to continue on his job. He left his promising career, left his home country and came to Zagreb at the end of 2014.
In Tkalčićeva Street, he opened a restaurant with good food and good atmosphere. Even in the morning, when there are no guests, the place resonates with the laughter of its employees. The restaurant is open seven days a week. “The story in Bloomberg showed us that we have a good product at the right time, but also at the right place, because we will give Zagreb something it lacks, but is popular in the world. Zagreb is for me a smaller version of Vienna or Budapest. It has a great nightlife, but we should also think about the city’s life during the day. The restaurant scene is not rich enough, they mostly offer ‘ćevapi’, kebabs or pizzas. I do like ‘ćevapi’, but this kind of offer is simply not enough for this city. Zagreb lacks street food, small restaurants with big portions that offer ‘value for money’. It is very popular in the world now, especially among young people who are travelling, and we want Zagreb to get closer to the trends popular in the big cities. It needs this because it is no longer a transit city”, Brian said.
Some local celebrities happily come to his restaurant, but he does not recognize all of them as of yet and does not feel the pressure. However, because of all the praise he gets on Facebook, Brian does not need to spend much on advertising. “I say hello to every guest and talk for five minutes to them no matter who they are. I am used to selling IT solutions worth one million or two million dollars, and I still have that habit to approach each client with a lot of respect”, he said.
Brian’s chefs have been trained by Rajendra Kuman Premkumar, the most famous chef of Sri Lanka, and one of Premkumar’s colleagues will soon come to continue with the training.