Vladimir's Place @ Off Imbi

November 20, 2014

Vladimir's Place is plagued by paradoxes - this Russian restaurant looks like it's been around for decades, but it was newly opened when we checked it out. It tries to cultivate an opulent lustre, but its interior seems old-fashioned instead of timeless. Plus, there's no Vladimir working here.

The contradictions continue: Vladimir's Place is Malaysian-owned but stakes a claim to authenticity with two Russian cooks. Its fine-dining setting makes it look perilously pricey but a meal here shouldn't surpass RM50 per person. It has banquet tables galore, but there was only one waiter (bespectacled chap, diligent & obliging) & no other patrons throughout our evening here.

Still, if you're interested in encouraging gastronomic diversity in KL, then Vladimir's Place is worth a stop. It'll never become the trendiest dining destination (two other Russian outlets have opened & closed in the city with scant fanfare in the last six years), but much of its food is reassuringly rustic, with a true-to-its-roots ring of soulful honesty.

Our best bet here so far is the classic 'herring under a fur coat,' a chilled, eye-catching salad with perky flavours. layered with diced salted fish, boiled beets, carrots, potatoes & mayo. An easy recommendation at RM12.50; we bet Putin would approve.

Giblets in a pot - this innard-inundated recipe throws together chicken liver, heart & gizzard with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes & cream, creating comfort food for frosty Siberian winters & stormy Malaysian nights. RM16. Eat it!

Love your (chicken) liver: Have it minced & stuffed into a breaded pancake that makes for a punchy-flavoured snack. RM9.50; in an interesting move, Vladimir's menu states exactly how much each recipe weighs. This one's supposed to be 170 grams.

Beef tongue baked with potatoes, onions, cheese & bechamel sauce (RM18.50). If you think you'll like this, you likely will.

Vladimir's menu lists this as 'pork lard,' but it's more of a meaty-fatty pate, tinged with garlic & topped with mustard. RM8.50.

Aspic of pork feet & beef; a protein-powered plate, though not the one we'll remember best here. RM13.50.

Boiled buckwheat with mushrooms & onions (RM7.50). Grainy greatness, enjoyably earthy & tantalisingly textured.

Noodles, milk & butter; three simple ingredients made into a soup dish. The Russian epitome of 'cucina povera.' RM6.50.

There's still much more to the nearly 100-item menu (beet prune salad to borscht, casseroles to dumplings), but we'll wrap up with a simple slice of dense, Russian-inspired wheat bread (RM1.50).

Wine may be available by the time you read this; for our visit, there were only cocktails like the White Russian (but of course!) ...

... plus Margaritas & Martinis (RM20-RM25) mixed by the friendly waiter who performs double-duty as the bartender. 

All in all, Vladimir's is a satisfactory Russian eatery, with all the local limitations taken into account. We hope it'll do well.

Vladimir's Place is open for lunch & dinner, except Mondays. There's limited parking in the restaurant's compound.

Vladimir's Place
32, Jalan Inai, Off Jalan Imbi, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Next to Jadi Batek Gallery. Tel: 03-2144-5636

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