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Category Archives: Moscow

EUROTRIP: THE BEAUTIFUL CAFE PUSHKIN

We decided to take Chris’ mum out for a nice dinner in Moscow – somewhere none of us had been to and was highly rated. After doing some research, it was obvious Cafe Pushkin (26A Tverskoy Bulvar, Moscow) was it. It’s considered by many to be “the best restaurant in Moscow”, which is a pretty high expectation to set, LOL!

The luxe Cafe Pushkin has three stories and is in a building made to look like a Russian aristocrat’s home circa 1825. It’s moody, decadent, and filled with lots of businessmen dining and drinking (and probably spending a small fortune). The service is very polite, and the staff all speak fluent English. I suppose you get what you pay for :) Strangely (and annoyingly), they said “No photographs” for no logical reason! I hate restaurants that don’t allow photography, but they weren’t rude so we just let it slide. Anyway, we still snuck in some photos, bwahaha. If I’m paying for my food, I’m damn well going to photograph it if I want, thankyouverymuch!

Outside the understated-looking Cafe Pushkin

Cozy intimate cherrywood bar

The Orchard Room wing that we were seated in

Us!

The food was excellent. I believe this would be authentic Russian cuisine? I can’t say for sure since I’m not Russian nor grew up there, but that’s my assumption ;) I had the Beef stroganoff in sour cream with potatoes which was sublime – tender beef bathed in a rich creamy sauce and perfectly spiced. A very decent portion since it filled me right up too. Chris’ mum had a lovely Chicken cutlet with cheese sauce, cepes, truffles and mashed potatoes which came out jauntily sitting on little wooden props, very cute! And Chris had the Trout stuffed with vegetable mousse, with crayfish, mushrooms, and asparagus garnish which he was delighted to find already de-boned and ultra tender.

Half-eaten so it looks unappetizing :P But lovely spring roll things stuffed with meat

Our mains – Beef stroganoff in sour cream with potatoes,
Chicken cutlet with cheese sauce, cepes, truffles and mashed potatoes

Trout stuffed with vegetable mousse, with crayfish, mushrooms, and asparagus garnish

Dessert was the exceedingly beautiful (and hilariously named) Cake in the form of a book. With a name like that, I just HAD to order it ;) It was a very thick and rich baked cottage cheese and flavoured with chocolate, and yes, really in the shape of a book! So cute, and the attention to detail was so impressive – almost too beautiful to eat.

The most beautiful dessert I’ve ever seen. A sort of mousse/cake shaped like a book

A very unique fruity/meringue chocolate-domed dessert

I would recommend Cafe Pushkin for a fancy night out for a date or with friends. It’s seems to be the place to be in Moscow and worth a visit, if not for the beautiful ambiance, then for the excellent food. It wasn’t cheap, but I thought it was worth it since the quality was excellent!

 
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Posted by on 15 September 2010 (Wed) in Food, Moscow, Uncategorized

 

EUROTRIP: ARMENIAN FOOD AT NOAH’S ARK

Chris’ mum took us to this beautiful little restaurant near the Australian embassy, called Noev Kocheg (Noah’s Ark) (9 Maly Ivanovsky Pereulok, Moscow). Tucked away in the winding lanes of the Ukrainian Quarter, it’s not easy to find but well worth it. Step through the large front doors and it’s like stepping into another world… errr.. kinda like stepping back into the old days in the Bible, to me.

The interior is absolutely splendid. Hand-carved decor, luxe wall paintings, copper panels depecting subjects from the Bible, etc.. almost all the decor is imported from Armenia. The attention to detail is amazing – the halls are decorated with tuff and stones by Armenian masters and even the little fish pond at the entrance is shaped like a miniature Lake Sevan (Armenia’s famous body of water)! It’s pretty astounding to see all the opulence and rich colours when you step in.. very very unlike other restaurants we’ve been in.

Armenian cuisine is over 2,000 years old! Read more about it here. I have NEVER eaten Armenian food in my life, so was terribly eager to try it out. It is riiiight up my alley :) To me, it’s in-between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. I was surprised that they don’t swap their dishes by cooking it with a lot of ingredients – instead it’s quite simple so the freshness and flavour of the meat really shines through.

We predominantly ordered the grilled meats, something very common in Armenia. It was so impressive! Just simple dishes – marinated meats barbecued to perfection and served with some dipping sauces. Even the bread basket (full of unusual Armenian local baked goods) was unique to me, and it tasted delicious.

My favourite was the puffed pastry dessert. I forgot the name :( It came out a large-ish serve, but was so airy it wasn’t too filling. Layers and layers of feather-light pastry and dusted with icing sugar, with a honey flavour. Again, very simple, but the flavours was subtle and beautiful, and the texture of the pastry layers was just amazing. It was an absolute delight :)

If we were back in Moscow, I’d come back to this restaurant for sure!! Well worth a visit..

The impressive Noahs Ark restaurant building

Ornate interior

Beautiful gold-laced table setting

A sort of mulled wine drink to start

A basket of assorted breads – so good!

My assorted plate of BBQ meats

Half a grilled chicken

Mushrooms stuffed with pork fat(!)

Yummy rice

Incredibly flakey, airy dessert. Ohhhhhhh how we loved this!!!

Petit fours and a giant bowl of assorted sugars (for coffee/tea)

 
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Posted by on 14 September 2010 (Tue) in Food, Moscow, Uncategorized

 

EUROTRIP: HOMECOOKED FOOD AND BABY CLOTHES IN MOSCOW!

Since we were staying with Chris’ mum in Moscow, we took the opportunity to make a few homecooked dishes here and there. It was nice because it meant we could veg at home the whole day (and catch up on surfing on the internet – heh) and we could also have some simple, fairly healthy food.

Anyway, some of the dishes we cooked up in Moscow!

Yummy home-cooked brunch – ham, tomato, mushroom, Brie cheese toasties

A warm salad we made, our attempt at being healthy!

Grilled pork chops with veggies and mashed potatoes we cooked for dinner

This LUSCIOUS hot chocolate we bought in Barcelona. Oh it was goooood and so so rich!

“I’m watching youuuuu”

Gorgeous kitty!

On a Sunday, Chris’ mum took us to this mega mall in Moscow, which totally blows away any notion of thinking that Russia is a developing country. It’s a big mall filled with shops and Russians buying, buying, buying… much like in Shanghai! It was full of European brands, loads of womenswear and cosmetics. So much fun ;) But we weren’t there to shop for ourselves… we were there to shop for our BABY!

Man, if we had unlimited incomes we would try and buy all the baby shops… why are baby things so IRRESISTIBLE?? Weirded me out too because just 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have bothered to look, let alone gone “Oooooh!” over anything. And now here I am reduced into a little puddle of goo at every cute thing ;) Chris’ mum was very nice and bought us some cute little clothes and blankies that we liked.. but most of all, it mainly was just hilarious seeing Chris trailing after both of us, holding all our shopping bags and being very patient and even picking out stuff, haha! That is, until he could stand it no longer and whispered “Honnn… I HAVE to sit down and have a coffee, my legs are gonna drop off” ;)

Megamall

Cuuute lil onesies Chris’ mum bought our baby!

My absolute favourite – swaddle blanket with the cuuuutest print. It’s so soft!

 
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Posted by on 14 September 2010 (Tue) in Food, Moscow, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

 

EUROTRIP: TRAIN STATIONS IN MOSCOW

One of the things Moscow is famous for is their incredible train stations. I’ve never seen ANYTHING like this in the world!

Firstly, they are built deep, deep, deep down. You may thing London has deep stations, but it ain’t got nothing on the Russian ones. You get a bit of vertigo if you’re at the top and travelling down, it just goes on seemingly forever. Amazingly, the locals actually rush up and down these escalators – which reminded me of sure-footed mountain goats :P Can’t believe they could do that! I just stood there as still as I could, holding the side, and with Chris in front of me in case I slip. Yes, granted I’m a bit unstable on my feet ‘cos of my growing pregnant belly, but still, it’s scary nonetheless. VERY cool though, almost like a roller coaster experience ;)

Once you get down there, you’re in for another treat. Every station is designed differently. I’m used to stations around the world all being rather stock-standard, nothing much to shout about. But the ones in Moscow have pizzazz! Especially the ones on the ‘brown line’… each one is different, and has beautiful and interesting architecture. It was cool to see them, and surprising that the Russians take such pride in the train stations. I reckon all countries should spiff up their stations because so many people go in/out and it’s such a novel and clever way of presenting your country.

Unfortunately no photos from me :( There are Russian police everywhere and they aren’t always the nicest. Plus, photography isn’t allowed in the stations and I wasn’t in the mood to get strip-searched and carted off to the nearest police station. So all I got was this one photo below, snuck in!

The crazy looooong escalators, taken from near the bottom

The other “cool Russian experience” I was keen on having was eating Russian Blinis (also spelled Bilinis, or Blintz, etc). They’re a traditional dish in Russia yet surprisingly wasn’t that easy for us to find! They’re basically crepes, but slightly thicker with a bit more of a chewy/moist texture, as opposed to the super-thin, dry French version (which we also adore). You stuff ’em with savory meats, or have them as a dessert with jams etc.

We LOVED ’em. We’re huge crepe lovers, so it couldn’t really go wrong ;) The savory ones we had stuffed with beef and also with chicken were delish – great comfort food and so unhealthy but tasty. But the best was the dessert one. It came with Nutella and bananas and was STUFFED full with it! It was perfection… sweet and rich and chocolatey and you feel (vaguely) healthy with the sweet sliced bananas inside. Ohhhhhh luscious!

Russian Blini with minced beef and sour cream

Russian Blini with chicken and bechamel sauce

Russian Blini with bananas and Nutella, covered in chocolate sauce

Amazing coffee with Milk choc, and one with Dark choc

And this below is another Russian cafe, Cafe Courvoisier. Open 24 hours, it’s actually a hip bar/lounge amongst the beautiful young Russians… but seeing as we are not that, we went for lunch instead :P It makes a lovely lunch time treat, especially if the weather is good enough to sit outdoors and people-watch, which we did.

Chris’ Lamb meat balls in an alcohol-spiked cream sauce looked very very much like those Ikea swedish meatballs :P But they did taste different since they’re made of lamb and the portion size was very reasonable. It was filling, considering how ‘heavy’ the dish was.

Mine, however, was a totally different story. I ordered the Tortellini and when it came out in a little glass saucer/bowl, I actually thought it was a side-salad with Chris’ meal. Then it was placed in front of me and I asked, “Errrr… is this the pasta?” because I was so shocked. It was TINY!!!!! Not just saying this because I have a big appetite and want big portions by the way, it was seriously TINY, even to a small eater. It was just a little bowl of maybe 8-10 pieces of pasta. Soooooo sad, because it was absolutely delicious and I could have eaten 4x the size of that dish. It’s like they were trying to put me on an enforced diet – d’oh!!

And thus, still hungry afterwards, I hit up McDonalds for Chicken Nuggets and French Fries to fill my belly… muahahahhahahhaaaa……

Cafe Courvoisier

At the cafe entrance

Relaxed outdoor dining

Luscious lamb meat balls in an alcohol-spiked cream sauce and mashed potatoes, with a beer :P

A teeny tiny serve of tortellini!! :(

It was sooo good though…

 
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Posted by on 13 September 2010 (Mon) in Moscow, Uncategorized

 

EUROTRIP: AMERICAN DINERS IN RUSSIA

I ADORE American diners. It ranks up there amongst one of my favourite ‘cuisines’. Mainly because it’s home to almost all my favourite foods – burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings and milkshakes :) :) :)

We coincidently went to 2 different diners whilst in Moscow. Hurray! They’re actually really good – I was wondering if Russians would pull off good ‘ol American food well… and they do. The portions were large, and the food was delish! It was just awesome, and so fun that the diners are all themed-out “old school” style. I wish Shanghai had more of these, complete with good food..

Beverly Hills Diner. Heh!

Just like an old-school American diner. LOVE.

A luscious luscious Oreo milkshake….. *salivates*

One of the nicest Onion rings we’ve had. So crisp and tasty!

Philly cheese steak sandwich and fries

Grilled chicken burger and fries

Chicken quesadilla

This is taken with Chris’ mum’s friends, at another diner (yay!), the Starlight Diner

 
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Posted by on 13 September 2010 (Mon) in Food, Moscow, Uncategorized

 

EUROTRIP: RUSSIAN FOOD

I was so excited to try Russian food. Never had it before! Well, bits and bobs, but obviously not in Russia so it doesn’t count ;) Verdict? It’s very more-ish and stodgy… but so delicious, heh! It’s great if you’re into fatty creamy foods, not so good if you’re on a diet or into healthy-living. I mean, you can just eat salads (with creamy dressing on the side), but that’s just no fun when the other food is so inviting, is it?!

Russians eat a lot of bread (much like people in Europe I suppose) and a lot of the salads have some sort of cream sauce, coleslaw style. Their soups are healthy though, specifically the Borscht soup! I was so surprised when we got this because it is NOTHING like the “Borscht” I’ve had in other parts of the real (I realise now they are far from authentic). The proper Russian Borscht soup is predominantly made with beetroot, so the soup is a bright red/pink broth. It’s unique but yummy :)

And of course, the meats. Lots of deep fried, lots of meat swimming in pools of cream sauce, and lots of cheese and butter. It’s all really appetizing, obviously! You can’t really go wrong with deep-fried food smothered in cheese, can you ;)

At Cafe My My for lunch

What a cool interior

Beautiful glazed buns and salads galore

Huge vats of meats

Our tomato salad with sour cream(?)

The famous Russian Borscht soup!

Deeeeelish fried chicken and cheese, with butter rice

Giant meatball thing with creamy buttery mashed potatoes

The little bun had apple inside, like an apple pie!

A fluffy cheese cake

Complimentary caramels

Another cafeteria-style Russian place – I just loved these! Cheap and good.

Dessert bar……. *lusts*

Creamy pasta carbonara and meatball with cream sauce, and
Meatball in creamy nut sauce with rice and chicken kebab

 
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Posted by on 12 September 2010 (Sun) in Food, Moscow, Uncategorized

 

EUROTRIP: HELLO….. MOSCOW!

And so we hopped onto a plane and headed to…………………….

Moscow, Russia!!

Yes, I know it seems a tad strange we decided to go to somewhere as far-flung as Russia, but we had good reason to. Chris’ mum lives there! She’s been there for the past 2 years (his parents are both Australian embassy folk). I wanted to see her before our baby is born, because I think it’s a bit strange for someone to ‘suddenly’ become a grandparent, which would be the case if we didn’t see each other until the baby is born. She couldn’t take the leave to come down to Shanghai to visit, so we decided to schedule Moscow into our Eurotrip.

It almost didn’t happen though. If you keep up with international news, you’d have heard that in August Moscow was hit with hundreds of bushfires. The bad kind – the kind that comes from peat and releases huge amounts of carbon monoxide into the air (!). There were reports of the skies being totally smogged-out, residents wearing masks, and embassies evacuating their stuff and issuing “pregnant women should not be in Moscow” alerts – much to our alarm. In fact, a mere 48 hours before our flight, Chris was already on the phone to Air France, asking how we can get a refund on our flight tickets, given the situation.

Then, rain poured down in Moscow, and the skies cleared. And I just decided “OK, let’s just do it” and off we went! It was the right decision, because when we got to Moscow, the weather was PERFECT. Absolutely clear blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and no smog in the air. It was like some sort of big conspiracy or something ;) Very hard to believe that just a week before we arrived, it was that bad people had to stay indoors in air-conditioned rooms!

In the car from the airport. Dunno what else I was expecting, but Moscow’s
just like any other city! Wide streets, lots of shops, etc..

Lovely wide-open spaces and blue skies

Some sort of government building? I forgot…

See?! Hard to believe it was so smoggy just a week ago!

Map of Moscow

The famous Red Square

Unique Russian architecture

Pretty!

Inside the mall at Red Square.. it was so nice! If only all malls were like this..

Love the airy spaces and natural sunlight

Chilling out with a coffee. Can you spot Chris? :P

We took the tourist boat one day, up and down the river

Space, glorious space! We miss this in Shanghai ;)

Sailing down the river

Stately gold-topped building

Red Square again, from the river

HELLO FROM RUSSIA!

 
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Posted by on 12 September 2010 (Sun) in Moscow, Uncategorized