February 7, 2011

KL hasn't had a Russian restaurant since Changkat Bukit Bintang's Dusha closed a few years ago, but Samovar _ run by a Russian couple _ is striving to fill that void.

We had mixed feelings about the borscht. It seemed sufficiently authentic, complete with beetroot and beef. But the broth itself was bafflingly bland, having failed to fully absorb the richness of its main ingredients.

Golubtzi (meat wrapped in sourish cabbage leaves). Healthy-tasting and grease-free, this traditional favorite was reminiscent of a Korean recipe. Use your fingers and just pop these rolls into your mouth.

Pilmeni (doughy dumplings stuffed with minced meat). Could've been lovingly boiled by a rural Russian grandmother. Rustic comfort food, hot and hearty enough to potentially thaw us out if we were visiting Siberia.

Olivia Salad (chicken, potatoes, eggs & cucumber). A pot-luck offering, more or less.

Marinated cabbage & cauliflower. Made us think of kim chi; chewy and foul in flavor.

Beetroot salad with tomatoes & shallots. Four could feast on this heap of veggies.

Pineapple & cucumber salad with sugar & lime juice. A cornucopia of citrus.

Cauliflower, zucchini, celery & cherry tomato salad. Too many salads? Oh, yeah.

Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Pinot Noir (New Zealand, 2008), purchased from wineactually.com. Samovar has no corkage charge, so bring all the booze you can guzzle.

Look out for the intriguing decorative touches, including paintings and scarves from Russia.

P.S. It's odd how things work out. As I type this, I've also just completed reading the biography of Peter the Great, the former Russian emperor (not a book I'd have chosen, but someone handed it to me). A coincidence, but one that I can't resist noting.

SohoKL, Solaris Mont Kiara.