Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bishkek Restaurant Reviews

I can't see Bishkek becoming another addition to the Jiffler empire of obscure city guides, especially since the good people at the Spektator are doing such a good job of reporting on the restaurant and nightlife scene. I should be back here later in the year so I might give the editorial team at the Spektator a call, see if they'll take me out on the town.

I've had a run of bad luck with Chinese restaurants lately (see Dakar Restaurant Reviews for the latest disaster) and my first meal out in Kyrgystan was to prove no exception. Exhausted from two nights in the air and a days work my colleague and I cast out for the nearest restaurant.

It looked popular, and we were led into a back room crammed with smoking Russian teenagers in various states of inebriation. Somewhere nearby there had been a fashion explosion. Girls with crimped fringes sported diamond print sweaters paired with leggings and fuck-me boots, while the boys, shaven haired and pale, dressed as if they were at work on a Welsh sheep farm circa 1983.

With an English menu finally procured we managed to order three dishes and settled back to drink lukewarm tea from dirty bowls. As our dishes came out of the kitchen it became clear that we'd over ordered. First, an enormous bowl of "Meat with aubergines" which was in fact "Tripe with boiled cucumbers and whole garlic cloves". I don't care what people say, tripe is not my idea of easy eating. I've tried it many times, and will no doubt eat it again, but once every two years is probably enough. Next up was a large and murky puddle of bizarrely textured mushrooms served with greens, before we were served the house speciality, that old Chinese classic "Chicken with potatoes".

We ate about a third of what was in front of us. Felt a bit guilty, and left.


Adriatico on the other hand is a smashing place. Rated by many as Bishkek's best Italian restaurant the menu promises Pizzas, pastas and the usual meat dishes. Service is swift, if a little fussy, and once again we over order. This time we eat the lot though.

Greek salad lacks punch, and olive oil, but the selection of salumi more than makes up for this. cheesy ravioli all round comes with what appears to be a super generous serving of grated truffle. Judging by the mildness of smell and flavour. and the paleness of colour, these must be Chinese truffles, bit still, nice to have truffles innit, perigord or not.

Decent coffee, so-so gelato and tiramisu wrap things up. This may end up being the default comfort eating restaurant for my future sojourns to Bishkek. One of those restaurants that fit the bill when you're hungry, worn out and just need something pleasing and familiar.

Adriatico Restaurant
219 Chui Avenue
Tel: (+996) 312 61 46 09 (Take away service available)

No comments: