First published in The Times of Central Asia, December 2012.
All I had wanted was a bowl of borscht, a token vegetable offering on an otherwise cake-and-chocolate-heavy Christmas Day. I ended up with much else besides, and what is perhaps the finest meal I have had so far in Bishkek.
The wood façade suggests a grillhouse, the baroque interior something rather more grand. I took with me The Turk, and the extensive menu – I noticed stuffed baked boar, and pig ears – proved all too tempting.
First was herring with potato salad, an ideal way to whet even the most replete of appetites, swiftly followed by that bowl of borscht, with strips of veal. Splendid, and refreshing. I looked around, it was an otherwise quiet Tuesday night, and staff were attentive but unobtrusive.
At this point a woman costumed as a fairy godmother and armed with a microphone entered the private (birthday?) party in a room nearby and required games be enacted on the dancefloor in front of the bar, where they were joined by a Father Christmas and with much merriment ensuing.
Then the knockout arrived: beef stroganoff. A classic, I’d had it several times elsewhere, and this was absolutely superb, so much so that The Turk couldn’t resist frequently diving in. Her chicken liver and salad was worthily healthy, but the grandeur of that simple combination of beef, potato, onion, and creamy sauce, if that’s the correct term, I cannot recommend strongly enough.
I regret to inform you that dessert was not considered an option after a day spent grazing on several tons of sweet things. Apparently, tea arrives with a samovar and lashings of cream buns, but that will have to wait for another day, and hopefully very soon.
All together with wine this was 2,760 som, and more than worth every penny.
Location: Kiev / Togolok Moldo streets