Mystic Burek has been a long time coming. Since the first fateful summer of lockdown Spasia Dinkovski has been whipping up traditional Macedonian filo pies using her grandma’s recipes; semi-psychedelic swirls of pastry packed with ground meat, gooey cheese, and enough butter to make you see into the future. Until now, the Balkan-British chef resorted to flogging these gorgeous golden bakes via Instagram, dishing them out of a car in pizza boxes, or at pop-ups in the restaurants of foodie pals across the capital.
It’s in an unassuming corner of south London that Mystic Burek has found a forever home, which must have come as a relief to the nomadic chef – finally, a kitchen of one’s own. Like the Julia Roberts movie from which it takes its name (we beg of you to watch the excellent Mystic Pizza if you haven’t already seen), the bricks-and-mortar Mystic Burek is endlessly charming. A former Italian deli, it bears all the hallmarks of a great London caff; wood panelled walls, red and white gingham tablecloths, and stacks of mugs ready and waiting to be filled with piping hot tea.
Spasia Dinkovski whips up filo pies using her grandma’s recipes; semi-psychedelic swirls of pastry packed with ground meat, gooey cheese, and enough butter to make you see into the future.
Added into the mix are vintage accoutrements of Balkan culture – embroidered banners for FC Skopje and 1970s Yugoslav rockers Bijelo Dugme’s kitsch, bottom-bearing vinyl records – as well as framed photos of Spasia’s nan behind the counter. A vibey Northern Soul soundtrack completes the cosy deal.
Spasia – who served her time in kitchens from Brooklyn to Dalston, as well as a stint at the dearly departed Bodega Rita's – is a champion of the ‘do one thing, but do it perfectly’ school of catering. There are four hand-rolled filo pies on the menu and – a sweet and sour cherry baklava bun for £5.50 aside – little else. Slices are thick enough to satisfy the most impudent of lunch cravings. The house special is a hearty £7.50 vegetarian slab of creamed spinach, parmesan, potato and kurdish chilli, the filo perfectly flaky and filling rich enough to do away with any cravings for a side dish. Dips of hot ajvar oil and creamy roasted garlic and sesame are by no means essential, but layering these silky flavours together is addictive. We washed it down with a bottle of Slovenian cola called Cockta, a rosehip-infused soda that transported us right back to primary school and the slurping of so many Panda Pops.
The £8 beef, sage butter, celeriac and taleggio pie was heartier still, the meat and cheese combo making for a far burlier, but no less nuanced, mouthful. On our next visit – and you can bet we’ll be returning before the month is out – we’ll try the other veggie offering of soft white cheese, green goddess leeks and sticky tomatoes, as well as the mortadella, dill potato, cornichon and Serbian mustard slice.
Mystic Burek; nothing less than a new neighbourhood essential.
The vibe Your friendly local Balkan bakery and caff.
The food Incredible savoury filo pastry pies, and a sweet treat in the shape of baklava buns.
The drink Tea and coffee – in trademark pink mugs – as well as traditional Balkan sodas.
Time Out tip It’s BYOB, so pop over for an early dinner (doors close at 8pm) and pick up a bottle of something natty from nearby wine shop, 161 Food and Drink.