Mali Princ is a poslaticarnica (pastry shop) inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella The Little Prince. Both the cafe and the book have a special place in my heart. The original Mali Princ poslasticarnica was tucked away behind a quiet Belgrade street. The shop resembled a little girl’s dream tea party, with its pastel tables and floral decor. This pastry shop had character and charm.
Unfortunately, in the past couple of years Mali Princ gained popularity, turned into a chain, sold its original location and turned itself into a trendy cafe. While the decor is no longer unique and the locations are in more prominent areas, I wanted to see if the cakes and pastries were still up to par with what they used to be.
First things first, I had to select a dessert to try. The original Mali Princ offered a wide variety of cakes from Serbian classics to Snickers-inspired slices. The new shop still had a large selection of cakes, just under a trendier vitrine and at prices marked up to meet its high-street location.
I chose a petit cake consisting of Chocolate-Covered Hazelnut Mousse (395 RSD = $4.60) because it was beautiful to look at. Fortunately, it was just as tasty as it looked. The outside of this cake was covered in a sticky chocolate ganache and dipped in crunchy, caramelized hazelnuts. The hazelnut nibs were so tasty. They added a lot of flavor and a wonderful crunch to this little cake. (Note: The desserts didn’t have names, so I’ve improvised)
The inside consisted of hazelnut mousse layered between cake. The cake was too rich to finish, but by the time I gave up, the filling got a little monotonous. However, the macaron on top of the cake added both aesthetic quality and a break from the heavy nougatiness.
I also tried some of the beautiful Raspberry Mille Feuille (395 RSD = $4.60). The Serbian version of French mille feuille is called “krempita” or “cream pie.” It consists of custard and whipped cream layered between sheets of phyllo dough. Traditional krempita has only those fillings, but Mali Princ’s version had raspberry jam at the bottom and a picturesque berry display on top. The krempita was topped with raspberries, cherries and redcurrant berries. I liked the raspberry twist to this traditional dessert, but the pastry wasn’t very fresh.
In this pastry battle, the Chocolate-Covered Hazelnut Mousse definitely takes the cake! I’m so clever.
On this outing, ma grandmere got a classy Coffee with Whipped Cream (220 RSD = $2.60). I didn’t have a sip, but Mali Princ serves world-famous Julius Meinl coffee, so it must be good. Also, when did a Starbucks paper cup ever look this cute?
The rest of us drank tap water, which came served in a glass bottle with mint leaves. I thought it was a really nice touch, especially considering dining establishments in Belgrade always try to serve you bottled water instead of tap water. Even despite the recent flooding, our water is good for drinking. Restaurants just try to make money off of serving bottled water
The original Mali Princ specialized in making beautiful marzipan figurines of anything from animals to cartoon characters. The new Mali Princ continues to impress guests with marzipan art, but instead of small figurines, Mali Princ now displays large marzipan cakes in its display case.
Unfortunately, the decor of the new Mali Princ locations is nothing like that of its original location. The interior is trendy, wooden and lacking the charm of the first Mali Princ. The outdoor seating area is a more quaint and features woven chairs and curlicued circular tables under large umbrellas.However, the interior still pays still homages to the Little Prince’s timeless youth and innocence.
If you want to know what the original Mali Princ looked like, I found two pictures on The Best Shop Magazine’s website.
And if you’re interested in the new locations, there are three. This is the one I went to and the rest are on Mali Princ’s website:
Mali Princ Poslasticarnica
Address: Obilićev venac 26 (right off of Knez Mihailova behind Vapiano’s)
Phone: +38111 2635303
Hours: Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. ; Sundays 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sundays