View Full Version : Out on the Town Recommendations, Updates, Info.

20-05-2008, 17:29
1) Fenicks. In between Taganskaya, Proletarskaya and Rimskaya metros; 23 bolshaya andronevskaya ulitsa.

Lebanese food; very inexpensive. Classy but non-extravegant interior; some smaller, more private areas; belly dancing and kalian on demand.

Hummus starter, kharcho soup, miniature meat and pine nut pirazhki, lamb shashlik, 6 mohitos (at 220 each, by far the most expensive item) only about 2500 roubles.

The hummus was outstanding, far, far better than I'd had at the much touted, plushly located Shafran. The taste of the chick peas shone though, and it was embalmed with a lemon freshness and a hint of sesame, with none of the bitterness that sometimes comes from over use of tahini.

The soup was OK, but a little creamy and sweet tomatoey for my taste, as I like kharcho to be gutsy and heavily spiced and to hell if there are any rough edges. The lamb shashlik was excellent, with the meat tender and full of taste, nicely spiced and, best of all, just about perfectly seasoned. The pirazhki were outstanding, with a meaty, authentically middle-eastern taste all wrapped up in thin, delicate, lardy pastry. Delicious!

I suspect the food will become more expensive, because the place has just opened, and while the atmosphere isn't anywhere near Lebanese leading-light shafran, it was less than half as expensive, and, really, I doubt in a blind tasting I'd have been able to tell which was the swanky place and which was the off the beaten track new place. But for a cheap night out and great food – actually spicy, in Moscow, for heaven’s sake! – you could do far worse.

2) Torro Wine Bar Proletarskaya/Krestyanskaya Zastava metros.

Here’s something: A Spanish themed wine bar, with very little Spanish food on the menu and no license to sell wine. Only in Moscow. I hated it when I first went in, thinking that it was yet another devotee to the Moscow obsession with ‘pivnoi restaurans’ with grills that had tried to set itself apart from the pack by going for a Spanish theme without having the balls to follow through. I thought it was absurd. Only it turned out great. Sometimes, you really get knocked out when you have the lowest expectations, and so it was with Torro.

The homemade beer – red or white – is a steal at 110 rubles per half liter or 395 for a big old 2 liter pot. I especially recommend the red, which is slightly sweet and fragrant and tastes like real beer should.

But, actually the best part of the place is that because they have no license to sell wine, you can bring your own, for free. Just think of the amount you save of the bill. If you're anything like my girlfriend and I, you'll know that its not difficult to double the cost of a bill just by adding a bottle of wine. It's brilliant.

Just as good are the steaks. The ribeye steak is fabulous. There’s not much to say about steak that hasn’t already been said, and its beauty is its simplicity when done well, as it is at Torro: robustly flavoured, meltingly tender red meat, perfectly cooked on a flame grill, seasoned, and slapped in front of you all bloody and steaming for about 250 roubles per hundred grams. I’m a real fatty, and a 300 gram steak with a side is more than enough for me, which works out OK for Moscow prices, especially since you pay supermarket prices for your wine, and not Moscow prices. Service is excellent, toilets are immaculately clean, if basic, and the atmosphere is super relaxed.

3) Shesh Besh.

I’m not sure what happened with the other outlets of this once nice little canteen food-restaurant hybrid, but the one at Taganskaya has lost five semi-regular customers. Me and the guys were going for the lunchtime sufra – a buffet where you can have all you can fit on one place for 290 roubles – only to find that it had been ruined, obviously by a management that had as much culinary sense as a gulag commandant. First they’ve taken away all the meat dishes, one of the major attractions. Second, they’ve also removed all references to Azeri/Caucasian food, which surely symbolizes a place like this. Finally, they’ve replaced them with fewer dishes along a ‘typical Russian salad bar’ theme.

Which is great, because I was really worried that there simply weren’t enough places here that I could get beetroot and mayonnaise salad and herring in brine. And all us expats know that decent, reasonably priced spicy food was in plentiful supply here.

Sorry, but that’s awful, Shesh Besh management. Removing the meat, and the spicy food, replacing it with the kind of mayonnaise swathed detritus I could pick up for 12 roubles per kilo in Kopyeika, and increasing the price, not only indicates a tight-fisted management with no business sense, but also one with an asinine lack of imagination. One out of ten, no marks for effort, red card, I’m never going back.

Transparent Theatre
20-05-2008, 17:36
But what was your real feeling about Shesh-Besh, Carbo? ;)

20-05-2008, 19:28
But what was your real feeling about Shesh-Besh, Carbo? ;)
Ha-ha, maybe I was a bit harsh, but I used to really like that buffet. Three different spicy-ish meat casserols, loads of great fresh veg, some tasty sauces and relishes and side dishes, and packed with choice.

Now the buffet table looks empty, and it offers no meat or spice or interest, and has filled the void with onion rings and mayonnaise salads and other assorted turd.

As you can probably tell, I took it rather personally.

20-05-2008, 19:54
They seem to be cutting back in Moscow. I remember that Il Patio had an all you can eat salad bar with pretty good stuff. They cut that out. Sad.

I think only Elki Palki still offers a decent salad bar.