Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vardar Grill

Knock knock.......

Vardar 003


Vardar 002

"Are you sure this is such a good idea?" said my friend as we rounded the corner.  At the top of the stairs, though, the hearty albeit pleasantly surprised welcome from the owner made us feel instantly at home.  Vardar Grill is on the first floor of a quiet shopping strip in St Albans and is an extended "Dad's pool room", decked out in fishing trophies, pennants, flags and scenes of the old country.  It's a welcome refuge for the western suburbs' Macedonian community but also warmly welcomes seekers of grilled meats and quiet conversation.

Vardar 004

I know very little about Macedonian food.  I had a Macedonian housemate once but his only acknowledgement of the food of his homeland were his mad scientist-like yoghurt experiments, which left the stovetop a perpetual shade of burnt and bubbled brown and the house infused with the alternating smells of boiled or off milk.  He was never successful.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, all he would say of Macedonian cooking was that it was "hard".

Vardar 005

Here at Vardar, there is a small menu in Macedonian (its English transliteration, at least) above the bar.  Vardar specialises in grilled meats and we happily deferred to the owner's suggestions.  The fish was perfectly cooked, dusted in flour and fried quickly.  We also sampled cevap or skinless sausages which were super-meaty, juicy and rich.  An accompanying salad of vinegared coleslaw and just-sliced cucumber was excellent.

Vardar 006
Look for the red sign on the balcony - entrance on the side of the building (there is a sign ;)

We sipped our beers and then an impeccable short black.  As the world outside darkened slowly, one of the guys on the balcony fetched a huge accordion-like instrument and with his friends, began to sing.  Outside the Sydenham line rushed past and the gum trees came into relief against the summer night sky.  The Macedonian presence in the west is perhaps not immediately apparent, but like a folk song carried on a Balkan breeze, if you care to listen you will be richly rewarded.

More Macedonian treats can be found at Kings Fresh Burek, 58 Kings Rd, St Albans (amazing spinach & cheese burek) and Michael's Deli, 50 Leeds St, Footscray (the best sausages - try the kolbasi)

Vardar Grill
First floor, cnr Furlong Rd and Willaton St, St Albans (map)
Phone: 9364 1440
Hours: Mon/Tues 2pm-11pm, Wed-Fri noon-midnight, Sat 2pm-2am, Sun noon-11pm

Wheelchair Accessibility
Not accessible.


  1. Woo - good one! I love the way they do the cabbage salads. (I don't think they're technically slaw ...). How were the prices? How were the chips? (Usually also great in such establishments?)

  2. Hi there! I did not get the prices (bad food blogger) but it was about $40 for two beers, two meals and coffee was on the house. So I reckon maybe $15 a plate? Chips were yummo!

  3. I love the men's club look about it. The cevap look great, we went to a bbq years ago and the european host cooked cevap on the bbq, yum!

  4. Deb, I just saw cevapi yesterday in the Coles at Central West! Michael's Deli in Leeds St also sell them.

  5. wow, what a fantastic find... and an amazing adventure.. never tried Macedonian food but it looks delicious Lauren.

  6. "The Macedonian presence in the west is perhaps not immediately apparent, but like a folk song carried on a Balkan breeze, if you care to listen you will be richly rewarded."

    Finished beautifully!!

  7. hmmm, on the strength of this review we tried this venue last night. personally i dont recommend it. its not really for the general public. its a club where macedonian men meet.
    the owner, Alex, is a charming man and looked after us with food and wine... but he doesnt really expect dinner patrons. the food was ok, but not special. the highlight was when a fight broke out over a card game on the balcony!

  8. Anon, sorry your experience wasn't great. I did call the owner before I posted this as I wanted to be sure he would be OK with the general public coming in (only time I have ever asked permission to write about somewhere) - he was more than happy. That said, obviously him being happy and the overall atmosphere are two different things.

    Maybe you could try Nick's Grill in Main Road, St Albans which is more of a restaurant and has fantastic trout soup?


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