We headed to Kvatira 44 for our last meal in Moscow on the recommendation of An American in London who described it as “Cafe Pushkin lite”. Once you locate Kvatira 44 in a side street off Boi Nikitskaya ul and then through an archway, the atmosphere is very welcoming. The timber walls are lined with books, a piano stands in one corner and service is (amazingly) with a smile.
The menu offers a mix of Russian and Italian dishes, so in this vein I ordered the borscht and MTV boyfriend the parma ham bruschetta to begin. My traditional Russian soup was a rich red colour from the beetroots. It contained generous chunks of vegetables, huge slivers of beef and was topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh flat leaf parsley. It was so hearty that I wondered if I could fit my main in. MTV boyfriend’s bruschetta was not so successful (that will teach him to order Italian at Russian restaurant) and was more of an open parma ham and sliced tomato sandwich.
He was appeased by his main course which was lamb cutlets with grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes. The restaurant was generous with the quantity of cutlets and MTV boyfriend was a happy man. As for me, there was a mix up with my main and although I thought I was getting veal with vegetables I actually got a fettuccine carbonara. I blame this misunderstanding much more on my lack of Russian than our waitress who was doing a sterling job so I decided to keep quiet and eat the carbonara. It was fairly heavy on the cream and I refer to my earlier comments about eating Italian in a Russian restaurant.
Since there was an extensive dessert and tea menu MTV boyfriend and I went for both to finish off our meal. MTV boyfriend had the apple pie which was actually an apple strudel and reportedly delicious. I tried the berry soup topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some pistachio nuts. It seemed somewhat disturbingly like a dessert version of my earlier serve of borscht. In future I would say one red soup per meal was enough, but I would still recommend Kvatira 44 for its friendly atmosphere and good selection of traditional Russian dishes.
Details: 24/8 Malaya Yakimanka, Moscow, Russia (Ph +7 495 238 8234)
Other tips for Moscow
Coffee Bean (everywhere): This is the Russian version of Starbucks and I do not mean that as a compliment. Bad coffee and sickly sweet blinis for a high price. Best avoided.
Cafe Margarita (Patriachs Pond, Malaya Bronnayu ul): Atmospheric book lined cafe. We enjoyed the spinach soup.
Vogue cafe (Ulitsa Kuznetsky Most Lubyanka): Yes really. Cafe based on the magazine. Order a cocktail and people watch the voguettes consuming blini with caviar.