Disclaimer: this "cafe" is to test interest in the concept. No real cafe. if you like what you see here you can visit me as a private guest. so far the response has been quite discouraging (one enquiry every 3-4 months) so I am not likely to go forward with this cafe idea any time soon. nor will i scrap it altogether. the status of "uncle Pasha's vegetarian cafe" will be that of a backburner project...

Uncle pasha's cafe

On this page I will be documenting some of my more popular or fortunate culinary combinations in hope that they will developed into a menu around which a real cafe may someday develop. At the time of writing this (May 14 2010) I'm in Moscow and it is entirely OK to invite yourself to my place for a dinner. A few people already did! The location is by Metro Alexeyevskaya or Metro Novokuznetskaya.

I'M PRESENTLY KEEPING MY EYES OPEN FOR A SUITABLE SPACE. OFFERS WELCOMED!

Here I'll try to share my thoughts on how I see this cafe. Interest from potential partners is especially welcomed.


Rice, tofu, bean sprouts, and wild rice, all served on seaweed sheets. As a beverage for this plate I recommend ginger tea.


I personally visit shops and markets to bring you the freshest and most interesting products that can be found on the bland and boring Moscow scene


Rice noodles with lentil, pepper, and tomato sauce


Uncle Pasha's is the only vegetarian cafe in this part of the world where drinking is entirely OK. House specialties: Snejana's mildly intoxicating kvas in the summer, and contraband Vietnamese rice vodka the rest of the year. The photo is from the Dubrovki period of my life.

There is something in me that revolts at the word "vegetarian". Guess serving alcoholic beverages and even allowing to smoke, despite my personal low tolerance of tobacco, is to serve as a statement to differentiate my humble establishment from "vegetarian" cafes and the crowds that populate them. There will be no word "vegetarian" on the sign in front of my establishment. Just a note that we only use raw ingredients of plant origin.

Tofu is often used in this cafe. 

 

 

 

 

Tofu for sale. Frozen tofu is nearly always available. Write me a day or so ahead of time if you want freshly made tofu. 30 roubles ($1) for a small brick, 80 (just under $3) for a large one.

What have I done to deserve this fate of being perhaps Moscow's only real tofu dealer?!

 

 

 



Chickpea flour patties are popular with the kids.


My regulars quickly learn to appreciate avocado.  They are usually served cut in half, with olive oil, a bit of crushed black pepper, with toasts. Avocado cream soup is also common.

We'll probably use the fixed "suggested contribution" system. I'm too lazy to count things up. I'll aim at 300-450 roubles ($10-15) per person for a full belly and a bit of buzz in the head.  


Couscous, Beluga lentils, eggplant rogue, and marinated ginger


Another house specialty is ginger tea. Not for the timid.

There is no detailed menu in the cafe. Just some samples. And a list of available ingredients. Guests are asked to describe how they want their food: hot or cold, solid or watery, with or without spices, crunchy or mashie etc. Food is prepared and put out on the table in the manner I've been practicing during the rural exile part of my life: one large pot of soup, one large wok with stir-fry, mostly self-serve, with no "portions". What's left is handed out free or nearly so at the end of the day. As in Dubrovki, guests will be encouraged to wash dishes and participate in time consuming such as peeling veggies.


Warning: I make liberal use of hot peppers. By default a couple of these goes into every plate. If you are a wimp be sure to tell me.


I confess this dish has shrimp in it.


Only proper soya sauce from The Netherlands or Japan. None of the caramel-and-glutamate stuff commonly available here. No diluted Chinese substitute either.

Found quite palatable sauce for under $4 for a one litre bottle. Some of those asked to assess it said it is even better than Kikkoman. No glutamated detected!

  
When buying coffee I always check the roasting date. Coffee is usually prepared Turkish style but on request French press can be used.


Sea salt only! The iodized nonsense is not allowed in my establishment.


I explore markets and identify sources of fresh yet inexpensive products. This is the cubicle of my favourite nuts dealer. Location: Prospekt Mira, near Metro Alexeyevskaya.


Another popular item is rolls stuffed with whatever happens to be around.

Stuff normally present in my kitchen

The greens ordinary cooking onions
purple onion
small crunchy onions that are served whole
green onions
garlic (Russian, no tasteless imports from China or Holland)
BEAN SPROUTS
parsley
celery
tomatoes (I walk around the market literally sniffing out tomatoes that actually taste like ones)
broccoli
avocadoes
mango when I can find it
asparagus when I'm in real luck
Grains, flour Thai or Indian long-grain rice
wild rice
red lentils
Beluga lentils
couscous
bulgur
crushed maize
CHICK PEA FLOUR
Oils corn oil
rapeseed oil
olive oil
SESAME SEED OIL
vegetable ghee
Spices and seasonings fresh hot peppers
cumin
curry mix
whole black peppers
pepper mix
soya sauce (Kikkoman)
Sweets Sweets are not really my thing but as of recent I've started serving coconut cream with brown sugar. A popular combination that does not offend me either.
Miscellaneous sea salt
"Black" salt from Kostroma
brown sugar
seaweed
urid? flour patties
Tonic beverages a variety of teas, including bitter green tea
freshly roasted coffee beans
fresh ginger
coconut milk
Alcoholic beverages Snejana's mildly intoxicating kvas (only in the summer)
contraband Georgian wine
contraband Vietnamese rice vodka
(when given a choice I pick illegal sources out of my built-in rejection of things official)
Smokables Tobacco is somewhat discouraged although by no means prohibited after a good meal. I will not mention other smoke-related details for the fear of getting myself into trouble.
   


Urid flour chips

We are no health freaks. Quite to the contrary. Only for the reasons of taste and style we refuse to use microwave ovens, Teflon-lined pans, or MSG. I carefully check the ingredients label of anything I procure, and personally taste it for hints of anything that ought not be there.

[photos]

Two old cast iron pans founds at Alla's dacha. One classic Chinese wok brought from Canada by one of my guests. These are my two main cooking aids.


Wild rice, Thai rice, lentil, and avocado soup served with chick pea patties

 
Choice-fatigued? At our establishment we won't force you to make any decisions. If, like me, you are fatigued with the need to pick among an annoyingly large number of alternatives, here at my place you can relax. Just say "feed me" and leave the rest to me. By default I'll aim at slightly overstuffing you and making sure you leave a bit tipsy. I may ask for your preferences as to liquid vs. solid food or lots of pepper or really lots of it. But no, there won't be a menu. Not according to the present concept. And no one leaning over you with a notepad expecting you to make a decision. The problem with this world as we have it at the moment is an impossibly large number of decisions. Here you just get fed, not asked to strain your brain.

[A PHOTO OF ANXIOUS LOOKING FELLOW LOOKING AT A LONG MENU]


 


Beluga lentils dominate the landscape. Pink stuff may be ginger. White is bamboo.


Another example of fattening stuff misleadingly called salad


July 3/10  Found small young asparagus from Thailand. Not the huge overgrown stuff from among rejects shipped here from The Netherlands. In this case it is served under coconut sauce. Yes, the new addition is coconut cream that I use to make either hot sauce or sweet dessert.


January 31 2011  About the worse has happened. Seen a doctor today. For the first time in my adult life. Got a short but penetrating lecture on the details of when and especially how I will die unless I change my eating and drinking habits. Thus this oil-free creation. No pepper. Low-sodium "black" salt. Extra-small servings. No fried chickpea patties I was planning for tonight. Accompanied by herb tea with honey instead of the usual contraband rice vodka.  Damn..

 

 

 

 

 


May 14 2010
February 22 2010

 

Client feedback >>

 

I will consider, with the greatest and most intense interest and enthusiasm a disillusioned old grouch is capable of, offers of employment or partnership in a food establishment in Moscow, where I'm sort of stuck, in Israel, where I am seriously thinking of moving, or in any other livable place.

 

 

We recommend www.happycow.net to veg*n travellers

 

 

 

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