Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fine dining

As I have told Kharkov is not rich on more refined culture, as goes for the more artistic forms of cooking. I once made a small survey and found that terms like 'haute cuisine', the Michelin guide and even the word 'gourmet' are completely unknown to my colleagues. The terms even seem to be more or less unknown in places where they pretend to know. One funny place is an allegedly French restaurant in Kharkov. The menu states that the chef has been making food for several unspecified foreign movie stars and that the food he is making is 'exactly like in France, except the portions are bigger and prices smaller'. At this place we ordered foie gras as the main dish. I did wonder how come they served foie gras as a 300 grams main dish but I wondered more when they brought the actual dish. What they called foie gras was actually the usual flat steak with cheese on top and a lot of ketchup based sauce around it. The final artistic touch came from some croutons which they lit on fire. One time later I did actually find a restaurant with real foie gras, but the chef did not seem to know which wonders ought to be created from that.

This is the best restaurant in Kharkov, or at least the most expensive, Italian of course. As in all other of Kharkov's restaurants (literally) we could not avoid big TV screens showing music videos and fashion shows, but they were so kind as to turn it off. The service in that restaurant was actually good. As for the food I was surprised to find a bit of (misunderstood) 'molecular gastronomy' on the menu, I had a celery soup which was made to look like a big cup of cappuccino. The soup however was not particularly tasty and since I knew that I had ordered a soup the dish really lacked the element of surprise and wonder, the 'foie gras' actually gave me more of that.

While I have been here I have seen quite a few new restaurants pop up. They look very fancy but there are never any people at all. They say these places are used for money laundering.

No comments: