Davayte yest (that's 'Lets eat' in Russian according to Google) #IntrepidEaterDxb
So as most of you know, if you are following my social media timeline, I love food, the Ahmed sisters, family, friends and an excuse to try something new (and not necessarily in that order). So with a birthday celebration (the only singing allowed should be this one) in order, I combined them all with an #IntrepidEaterDxb experience with just my friends and family and left most of the organising with Farida and Arva. Since I have been with them on a lot of their tours and on a few tasting sessions aside from the tours too, they suggested something new and suggested Russian. When I thought of Russian - I thought cabbage and potatoes. Apparently I wasn't far off but they do something really interesting with their cabbage and their potatoes and add a whole lot of other stuff too that is just delicious. You can see some background on Russian cuisine on Wikipedia. I was only too happy to be guinea pig and take some close friends and family along - because they were happy to join me on this adventure. In true Ahmed style, we met at the bus stop opposite Four Points Sheraton (because we weren't told what the restaurant was) and walked into the Nefertiti (just behind the bus stop). There was nothing even remotely Egyptian inside because the food was Lebanese Arabic and Russian. The waiters were a mix and spoke fluent Russian (I'm guessing because the Frying Pan guest hostess - Anna Iermakova - spoke to them in native Russian or it could have been Ukrainian) and Arabic but there were a lot of Russian and Russian looking people in the restaurant.
The food was pre-tested and tried and ordered for us. What a relief. So we started with Vinigret (Beetroot, cucumber, potatoes & onions salad) - beautifully prepared and fresh; Kapusta Tushnoi (Steamed cabbage salad) and Assortie Ribnoie (Salted, smoked & non smoked medley of salmon, herring & mackerel served with pickled cucumbers, potatoes & onions). This was accompanied by some bread from a local bakery run by a Russian lady - normal brown bread, a tad dense with a sweet after taste and a perfect accompaniment to the starters and the borsh that followed this course. Loved the tangy tastes of the picked cucumber and mackerel. I knew from experience that we should pace ourselves so I did but it was tempting to keep dipping into and eating a bit too much of the Vinigret and the steamed cabbage.
Next we had potato dumplings (Vareniki S Kartoshkoi) served with sour cream followed by a very delicious borsh (beetroot based soup with tomatoes, onions, cabbage & beef garnished with sour cream & dill). It came in what was termed a 'half' portion bowl which would have left little room for anything else. I might go back for the borsh but without the meat which was a bit tough and chewy.
Next came the mains: Kasha S Miasom (Oven baked beef, mushrooms, cheese & buckwheat) and Kotleti Pojarskie (Fried chicken cutlets). Perfectly cooked cutlets that I ate with some of the vinigret and cabbage from the starter and the buckwheat dish was a big hit with all of us: so moorish and delicious. Its amazing to know that something that delicious could also be so good for you. I am definitely going back for this one and for the final part of our evening: Medovik (Honey & cream cake): light, perfect balance of sweet with a hint of salt, honey. Apparently there was another cake that Farida also tasted but settled for this one. Guess I have to find out the name of the other cake and go back and get some more.
So if you haven't tried Russian, go back and feel free to use this post as a reference to order and as the Russians say, Davayte yest.