Bishkek restaurant review: Moldova


A heavy wooden front door, cathedral-esque; inside is more sturdy wood, but any impression of sanctity gives way instead to what resembles a homely beer cellar. I spy Moldovan borsch on the menu, and can’t resist. Elsewhere are cabbage rolls, fish, cutlets, several steaks, including one named Ossuary, interestingly: pork.

My eye is caught by a dish labelled simply, or grandly, Moldova. Any food that deigns to bear the name of a country must be attempted. It’s an ambassadorial challenge for cuisine: imagine a plate of Iceland, a bowl of the Philippines, a platter of Djibouti.

The borsch arrives, with dark brown bread. At first I can’t place what’s different, it has all the usual shredded beetroot and potato, but there’s something else, perhaps butter or a stock. As with the naked lunch, the answer appears at the end of your cutlery: small pork pieces. I’ve had an enormous meaty bone shipwrecked in borsch previously, and quite prefer the tastier Moldovan version.

Next to arrive is what looks a small clay pot, but Tardis-like containing great quantities of broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, tomato, cucumber, sweetcorn, and strips of veal, lightly peppered under a layer of cheese: Moldova. This is hearty fare, a sort of English Sunday roast dinner all in one, and requiring concentrated demolition.

Arriving at completion, a half-thought emerges, that the stuffed clay pot, and the beer cellar motif – decorative barrel overhead – is apt, it’s a country that’s been kept in storage and is straining, bursting to be discovered, nestled between its much larger neighbours Ukraine and Romania.

The time for geo-pondering is over, the bill slides into view, and all together it’s a rather reasonable 640 som. Moldova also does business lunches, and runs a 5% discount card scheme.

Location: Turusbekov / Kiev streets

First published in The Times of Central Asia, in January, 2013 

Menu at Moldova restaurant, Bishkek

Menu at Moldova restaurant, Bishkek


About James Willsher

Newspaper and magazine reporter since 2004, has freelanced in Russia and Central Asia, and does local government PR. Likes green tea and interviewing people / places. Phil Garrett was a pen name. @JGWillsher
This entry was posted in Bishkek, Central Asia and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s