An Albanian Feast! Sampling the tasting menu at Mullixhiu, Tirana
One of the things we were really excited about before heading to Albania was trying as much local food as possible. When we heard about Mullixhiu (pronounced: Mooleedjoo), an award winning restaurant that specialises in Albanian cuisine, we quickly booked a table!
Tucked away in the Grand Park of Tirana, Mullixhiu’s a la carte menu is a fabulous blend of traditional Albanian recipes served with a modern twist. When the owner suggested the 8 course tasting menu, we jumped at the chance – what a great way to try as many different dishes as possible!
Over three hours and accompanied by a bottle of excellent Pulsi white wine from the Berat region and some homemade sour dough bread with olive oil, here is what we tried:
1. Vine leaves stuffed with rice in a spinach and sour cream sauce
Albanian cuisine blends influences from Turkey (from the Ottomans), Italy and Greece. These stuffed vine leaves reminded me of meze I'd tried in Istanbul or dolmades in Corfu.
2. Meatballs in Trahana
Tender herby meatballs in a traditional savoury vegetable soup. David’s favourite – he could have happily eaten a huge bowl of this! We saw this on the menu of a lot of restaurants throughout Albania.
My favourite! Pronounced Chiff-Chee, these are Albanian riceballs a bit like an Arancini from Italy. Crispy on the outside and bound together with egg, Mullixhiu served them with a smoked paprika sauce and white cabbage. Qifqi are a speciality from the Gjirokaster region, and we made sure to seek them out again when we visited the city later that week.
Flaky layered pancake batter with honey and sour cream, and cold tender beef cheek with grated cheese- this dish was unbelievable. The fli with honey was so sweet and crispy, I’d have loved it with a big dollop of yoghurt! And the beef was so juicy and well flavoured.
5. “Trahan Bulgur”
Mullixhiu’s signature dish: bulgar wheat with pickled grapes, toasted sunflower seeds and a spinach sauce. Unlike anything we've ever tried before!
6. Trout served with caramelised onions and tomatoes
Flaky and delicious, another of our favourites.
7. Quail served with a plum sauce.
We’d never tried quail before, such a tiny bird! It’s a richer darker meat than chicken, very tasty.
8. Dessert! Creamy cheesecake with orange gliko
Gliko is a traditional Albanian technique from Gjirokaster where fruit is soaked in lime water and then boiled with sugar to give it a firmer, preserved texture. Almost like candied fruits that we have at home.
The service was exceptional, warm and welcoming, and the restaurant manager and waiters took the time to talk us through every dish, explaining why it was special and where in Albania it came from. By 8pm the restaurant was completely full, and all of the tables had been booked in advance, so we would definitely recommend making a reservation before your trip. Mullixhiu is extremely popular, and we can see why! If you're wondering where to eat in Tirana, look no further than one of its top restaurants.
By patronising Mullixhiu, you're also supporting local farmers, as the restaurant only buys its ingredients from small farms all over Albania.
You can check out Mullixhiu's menu on their website here
They are also on Instagram here
For more Albanian food you need to try, check out our latest blog!
Disclosure - we were given a discount on our bill in return for writing a review, however as always all opinions are our own!