Saturday, November 1, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS Download APP
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS



BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

19th Century Portraits

History of St. Petersburg Museum: Rumyantsev Mansion

 

  Print this article Print this article

Soviet chic

Kvartirka // 51 Nevsky Prospekt, Tel: 315 5561 // Open daily from noon to 1 a.m. // Menu in English and Russian // Dinner for two with alcohol 2,009 rubles ($67)

Published: August 13, 2010 (Issue # 1600)


With a menu comprising a wide range of traditional Russian dishes, this Soviet cafe on Nevsky Prospekt attempts to give visitors an experience of life in the Soviet Union during the 1960s and 70s.

Decorated to look like a typical apartment during that era, Kvartirka (little apartment), attempts to recreate the atmosphere and intellectual culture once so prized at the legendary cafe Saigon, that famous gathering place once housed in the next building over that attracted the likes of Joseph Brodsky. From the black-and-white photographs on the wall to the Westerns playing in the background, the restaurant does a good job of recreating such an atmosphere, though a few quirks and ironies give the place its own unique modern flavor.

If the menu is meant to continue the Soviet theme, a simple glance at the list of appetizers which includes crab-stuffed tomatoes and herring with marinated vegetables makes it clear that this must have been the food of the Soviet elite, though prices are extremely democratic. There are also separate sections devoted entirely to pelmeni (Russian ravioli) and pirogi, or pies.

The more adventurous diners might select the cold starter of Mother-in-law tongue with green peas, followed by veal liver as the main course (though, in an additional Soviet twist, they might find, as we did, that the pike cream soup or Georgian stew are not available). For the less courageous explorers of Soviet-Russian cuisine, there are beef, fish and plenty of pork dishes.

While waiting for their order to arrive, guests may play with the dominoes present on every table while their children color in the sheets provided; many, however, will find simply examining the surroundings to be the best entertainment. In recreating the atmosphere of Soviet life, the owners have decided to spare their patrons excessive posters, slogans and flags, but the combination of elements sometimes makes for a comical effect. Over each small section of tables hangs a different antique-looking light fixture, and in the corners, ancient looking teddy bears or dolls can be spotted. A tapestry on one of the walls looks like it might have come from one of the Central Asian former Soviet republics, but the large buck at a forest pond who stared down at us from the tapestry near our table seemed a little out of his natural habitat. One thing that for sure recalls the Soviet Union, though perhaps unintentionally, is the fact that the toilets cant handle toilet paper.

In case anyone had forgotten, the elegant presentation of the dishes is enough to remind diners that they are in the apartment of an elite party member. Although the food is delicately arranged, the size of the portions does not disappoint. The exceptionally efficient waitresses (who speak broken, though adequate, English) ensure that empty dishes do not stay on the table for more than a minute after they have been polished off. Inevitably, there is a prevalence of oil, sour cream and dill in the dishes, but it is not overdone, and, whats more, the chef has mastered fitting combinations.

Pages: [1] [2]






 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



Times Talk