Welcome the 'Russian Year of China' with a feast

(Beijing Today)
Updated: 2007-01-08 09:37

In 1954, the former Soviet Union built the Moscow Exhibition Center complex, including the Moscow Restaurant in Beijing, to display the "economic ad cultural achievements of the Soviet Union." After the exhibition, Moscow Restaurant opened to the public. Because of its different architecture and cuisine, Moscow Restaurant quickly earned a good reputation around Beijing. Recently, more and more new Russian restaurants compete to attract Beijing citizens' appetites for exotic food.

Kiev Restaurant

Is there an unwritten rule that all Russian restaurants must be difficult to find?

The main hall of Kiev Restaurant is underground, making it look quite ordinary. Once you enter it, though, you will see why it's special. There are shows at around 6pm, and all the performers' photos are hanging on the wall, which will make you remember 'the good old days'. Of course, the simple decorations also help. I noticed that nearly all the customers were 50 years old and up. Yes, a pretty good place to be nostalgic.

Red Soup, as its name suggests, makes the bowl red and dense. The color is good, but not the taste-a little sour. Maybe you'll like it, but that's certainly not my cup of tea. Cold Toast Fish has fresh meat and bread. Strange, isn't it? And they are toasted together. When you put it in your mouth, hot and cold burst into your mouth togethr, yummy!

Some students majoring in Russian often come here for a gathering, as it's near the Beijing Foreign Studies University. However, some people go there to reminisce...

Where: No 13 Puhuinanli, Yuyuantan Nan Lu, Haidian

Open: 9am-midnight

Tel: 010-68283482/68277309

Cost: 110 yuan per person

The Elephant

Located in Beijing's historical Russian district, The Elephant offers Russian hospitality and culinary excellence. Opened by Ali and Homeyra Darugar, the restaurant has an atmosphere of aristocratic dining-the feeling you're enjoying a meal at your beloved grandmother's table. The dining room is spacious with tables lining the walls. The lighting is low and walls are decorated with large paintings of Russian scenes. On Friday and Saturday, you'll be entertained by strolling musicians playing violin and strumming guitar.

The owners have put efforts into the culinary details, from the seemingly endless variety of tangy cream sauces to the use of such herbs as tarragon and dill. The Russians had brought in many French chefs, hence the French culinary influence.

Many of the menu selections are actually prepared at your table, including the Nicholcia Flamb? a buttery-soft filet mignon prepared tableside using a small gas burner. The waiter sears the pepper-encrusted filet in a cast-iron pan, then finishes it off with a sauce, which is ignited with a splash of brandy. This entry is accompanied by broccoli and marinated beets and scalloped potatoes.

There are 20 meat and poultry selections, including the well-known Beef Stroganofff, made of sliced beef tenderloin and mushroom in a creamy sauce; Kulebiaka Po-Baranina, made of puff pastry with lamb, vegetable, tarragon sauce and Kotlety Po-Kievski; and Chicken Kiev, made of baked breast of chicken stuffed with butter tarragon sauce.

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