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Art, parties and kajmak: it’s the best of Serbian London

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

By Ana Russell-Omaljev, May 10 2017

Serbia’s famous faces are many, from Wimbledon regular Novak Djokovic to actress Milla Jovovich and performance artist Marina Abramović. But there are 70,000 non-celeb Serbians living in the UK, most of them in London. Many families came here during WWII, including the upper classes, who camped out and waited for the war to end.

These days, Serbian Londoners are most likely to be young creatives and designers following in the footsteps of Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, and fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic. Serbian artists are beginning to thrive on the London art scene, too. The Griffin Art Prize was won by Serbian artist Ana Milenkovic back in November, and the Contemporary Balkan Art organisation supports up-and-coming talent. Their current show at Library features my photography alongside work by seven fellow Serbian artists.

Did you know? Serbian crown prince Alexander II was born in Claridge’s during WWII. Churchill was said to have temporarily placed Suite 212 under Yugoslav sovereignty to ensure his claim to the throne.

Serbia is famous for its meat-loving cuisine, which mixes central European and Ottoman culinary traditions. You can enjoy delicious Serbian barbecue at The Corner Terrace in Ealing – try the ‘mixed meat Balkan-style’ and then dance the night away to live traditional music!

I love Mugi’s Coffee Bar, also in Ealing, a traditional Serbian restaurant and deli where you can stock up on groceries including kajmak: Serbian cottage cheese.

Serbia House on Dering Street hosts events and expos, with a new exhibition curated by Contemporary Balkan Art opening on July 1.

The Serbian City Club is a non-profit, apolitical organisation for Serbian professionals in London, which welcomes newcomers from the Balkans and elsewhere.

Contemporary Balkan Art’s Interruption exhibition closes on Thursday May 11 with a free discussion of Marina Abramović’s book ‘Walk Through Walls’ at Library in Covent Garden.

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