Friday, December 7, 2012

Discovery XXII

Russia is definitely southeast of somewhere, so this week's discovery could claim to continue in the tradition of some of our recent excursions to Oakleigh and Carnegie.

On Tuesday evening the discovery team made their separate ways from the city, Richmond and Camberwell to meet in new territory at Nevsky in Elsternwick. They came by car, train, bicycle and on foot. For once nobody blinked an eye at the booking in the name of Boris.

Fireplace at Nevsky
Fireplace at Nevsky
On an unseasonably cold and windy evening we were very happy to be seated right next to the fireplace which effectively divides the restaurant into two self contained quiet spaces. Although there were not many people in the restaurant we had to wait a while to be served with a jug of kvass (a soft drink made of fermented rye bread) and a Nevskoe classic ale. The kvass smelt very much like stout, but tasted sweeter. Apparently it is usually consumed by peasants and monks. The Nevskoe tasted just like beer.

We decided to have a main course each rather than trying to share dishes on a rather small table. Except I decided to have three side dishes instead of one main: Euro frites (Russian for chips in beer batter), piroshki and red cabbage. The other discoverers had golubsti (stuffed cabbage leaves); veal stroganoff with buckwheat kasha; and sosiski (sausages and mashed potatoes with caramelised onions and port wine sauce).

This is how it all looked in the dimly lit room near the fire. I forgot to mention that the candles aren't real candles - they are battery operated tea light thingies. But very effective.

Russian feast at Nevsky
Russian feast
I know Euro frites are probably not authentic Russian cuisine, but I loved them. They were hot and crispy and plentiful, unlike some of the offerings we have suffered in the name of discovery. (Are you listening, Bridge Hotel?) The red cabbage was spicy and sour and delicious. The piroshki was not remarkable but very pleasant - just like I could have made at home using one of Anna Thomas's recipes.

The other discoverers were extremely enthusiastic about their meals too. I can highly recommend that you make the trip to Elsternwick for a special eastern European treat. If it is your local, I envy you.

After some coffee, sour cherry blini and more Nevskoe the end of the evening was upon us. Once again we took the traditional drive down Orrong Road (the entire span of it, this time), made the drop-off in Richmond and drove back over the river to the dark and quiet city of Boroondara. Meanwhile Mr 28 proved that a bicycle can beat a car any time.

Nevsky Russian Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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