DZHAGANNAT EXPRESS VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

 

AN OLD STORY FROM AROUND 1998-2000

 

SUBMITTED BY ONE OF MY GUESTS

Dzhagannat Express Vegetarian Restaurant
11 Kuznetski Most
Moscow, Russia
(+7-095) 928-3580
www.newage2000.ru

 

Recently I spent a long weekend in Moscow as a detour on a business trip Ц flying back to Canada seemed pointless when I had two major events in Germany with just few days separating them. There I stayed with Uncle Pasha, Olesya and Bubsik (a rather ratlike but happy dog) Ц all vegetarians except I suspect the latter. One evening we decided to check out the new vegetarian restaurant, and headed out from their apartment on Ovchinniovskaya Naberezhnaya, through the Red Square and towards the Bolshoi Theatre Ц the restaurant is at 11 Kuztentski Most (Blacksmith Bridge) behind the Bolshoi.

Located behind a vegetarian cafe and food store, the Dzhagannat Restaurant can be a welcome relief from the overwhelming beef, ham and chicken dishes that make up such a large part of the Russian culture. The place is an interesting clash of classical Russian features and a mainstream vegetarian restaurant that would not look out of place in most university neighborhoods in North America.

On entry, we were greeted by a uniformed doorman. The entry hall had a bulletin board on the wall advertising various New Age activities taking place in Moscow Ц certainly not my cup of tea but an excellent resource gathering much disparate information in one place. This was followed by a cafe and vegetarian foods store Ц if you need such common staples to take home like soy chunks, rice pasta, good vegetable oil, soy sauce Ц this is the right place any time of day or night Ц it is open 24 hours. Before or after shopping you can get yourself a coffee and a desert.

Past that is the restaurant proper. We did not have to wait Ц the hostess showed us to the table right away. The decor was that of a trendy cafe Ц complete with Japanese paper lamps and Ikea furniture Ц the Western patrons will find the environment familiar. The menu was in Russian only, so this is an excellent opportunity to practice your language.

The service was fast Ц a little overly so. It seemed that the staff was actually overdoing what they perceived as Western efficiency Ц they will no doubt learn that it is possible for a waiter to be too efficient. We ordered a miso soup, a borscht, and a salad bar plate with three forks, and masala chai to start. The waitress came back to inform us that the same salad bar plate (this is not an all you can eat salad bar) costs triple if three people eat from it. Without questioning the logic involved we decline the salad bar.

The borscht was a bit too cold and too sour, and the Miso soup seemed to be a bit weak Ц and used the firm tofu rather then the soft Japanese tofu which usually works better. The masala chai was good but not inspired.

For the main course we ordered a Greek salad, a vegetable curry and a vegetarian shashik (the common Russian term for a kebob). The Greek salad was good. The vegetarian shashlik used both soy protein chunks and tofu cubes. The former were excellent, while the latter indicated lack of familiarity with tofu cooking Ц it was a bit tasteless in the middle. In the land of fur hats and sausages, the vegetarian curry was welcome Ц but leaving plenty of room for improvement. It was on par with a shopping mall food court curry Ц except the latter will never get any better.

We did not feel like desert, and the bill came to 650 [approx. $40] roubles for the party of three.

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SO WHO EXACTLY SUBMITTED IT? MICHAEL V.? IS IT THE FINAL VERSION FOR POSTING?