One Steppe beyond

For some the words 'good food' and 'Russia' are, at the very least, incongruous. The Russian Bar Cafe Kalinka however is determined to show Scots that they can eat as well as they drink. Words: Daniel Fisher

If there is a gap in the market then someone will find it and that is exactly what Bar Kalinka has done. If we can get used to Indian, Chinese and Greek food then why not Russian? The first authentic Russian cafe in Scotland is Jointly run by a Russian countess, Elena Domoshirova, and a Scottish businessman, Malcolm Pitts Evolved from The Bay Horse, an old, working man’s boozer in Leith docks, the Bar Kalinka aims to serve as a focus for all those interested in anything to do With Russia.

From the moment yOu step inside the door it‘s clear that Kalinka has nothing ir‘ common With any run of the mill, franchised theme pubs. In fact, there


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can be nowhere else like this in Britain. The eclectic collection of Russian artefacts and pictures such as Tchaikovsky's portrait, Russian dolls and indigenous folk art hover aiounci the bar in an uneasy truce With the Alloa Export, the pistachio d:spenser and the mild cigar beer mats Add to this the spectacle of the Countess in fuII national costume singing Russian folk songs every Sunday afternoon and the

Thank You




just off Royal Mile EDINBURGH 0131-2261112

Open Seven Doys I0.00om - 11.00pm “'

Shocks & meols available all day Ucenced Egon Ronoy recommended

Voted best cheap & cheerful meal in Edinburgh by List readers

102 THELIST 2—15 May 1997

9-" 1 r"

From Leith with love: The Kalinka Russian Bar Cafe

picture is complete. A Russian Artiste Of The First Category (that's an official title that is), an academic and an aristocrat, the Countess has now become a businesswoman in a Scottish pub.

All this pales into insignificance, however, once the seventeen Russian vodkas hove into VIEW. No one does vodka like the Russians do vodka and whether it's the kick or the taste you are after, they have your pOison. The inventiver named ‘Strong Vodka’ or Krepkaya packs a formidable punch With 56% alcohol content, while for smoothness and finesse why not try a shot of Siberian vodka or 'Stolichnaya Kristal'

Shots start from {I 15 and are unfortunately British measures, the Russian ones being rather more generous, or deadly, depending on your mm of View and constitution. AIternatively, if you are in a more adventurous mood, there is ’Kvass' on offer, an alcoholic brew made from fermented rye bread. Plans are also afoot to introduce draught Russian beer Pint of 80 rouble, anyone“

Booze apart, the cafe, serving a selection of home-cooked RusSian

dishes, is open noon—6pm texcept Mondays) but welcomes evening bookings by prior reservation. Its back lounge can hold twelve to fifteen people comfortably. The borsch, like the other Russian soups on offer, costs

No one does vodka like the Russians do vodka and whether it’s the kick or the taste you are after, they have your poison.

£1.80 and main courses start at £330, With nothing on the entire menu costing more than £4 except Russmn champagne, a snip at £12.50 a bottle The vareniki, raspberries wrapped in pastry and served wrth cream, have to be tried to be believed

While it is perhaps unlikely that we are going to see chains of Kalinkas stretching across the country in the same way that O’Neill's, Scruffy Murphy’s and other assorted Hibernian

pretenders have done, Kalinka should ; do well for itself wrth people eager to =

taste Mother Russm Without paying the airfare,

Edinburgh: The Russian Bar Cafe Kalinka, 65 Henderson Street, Leith, 467 7053.


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