Cafe Pushkin Moscow

I’ve eaten vegetarian food all around the globe,  speak menu in at least ten languages, and read cookbooks in bed as much as I read novels, so it’s a very unusual occurrence in my travels to come across a dish of which I have never heard.  So imagine my glee on Wednesday night when I got to order pelmeni – Russian dumplings – a word that was wholly new to me.

Of course I have eaten European dumplings before – Dixon is an expert in all things Polish so she introduced me to pierogis and all things Polish food-related when we went to New York together in 2007. And, if you live in New York’s East Village,  as I did back then, sopping up last night’s alcohol with a plate of pierogis & sour cream at Veselka (billed as Ukranian soul food) on 2nd is obligatory.

But, if I were to be properly honest, whilst I appreciate the massive carb overload in the winter, and lashings of sour cream never, ever go astray, I’ve always found them a bit heavy in the stomach. I guess that’s because I sit at home writing, and have little need of food as hardcore fuel.

Reading the fascinating menu at Cafe Pushkin on Wednesday night, I was reminded that Russia is not known for its vegetable-based cuisine, so I ordered the one vegetarian main course – pelmeni – dumplings, mushroom in this case, and hoped that I wouldn’t be able to see them on my thighs come morning.

And, well, yum. They were smaller and a lot lighter than the pierogi I eat in New York. That’s because there was a much higher proportion of minced filling to dough, and I gather from my online research that pelmeni dough is stretched as thin as possible, so you don’t get quite as much of a jaw workout as you would with pierogi.

Served with a sauce boat of sour cream for generous ladling, they were much closer to their near relation, ravioli, than I was expecting, although much plumper and, whilst not exactly a diet option, they were utterly delicious. (Although B & I agreed that a squeeze of lemon to cut through the richness would have been no bad thing.)

LLG was thrilled to be a guest of Mango at Cafe Pushkin in Moscow

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12 comments

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Now THERE’S a plate of food I wish I could have taken home in a doggy bag for the next morning (was very sad to only manage to eat three whole dumplings). Yummy!

B xx

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I know! It was *such* a shame to have leave them…LLGxx

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mmmmmmn, they look & sound lovely. but then I seem to have a soft spot for anything you can eat with sour cream….and a squeeze of lemon.

I wonder if you can find them here in London.

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It’s difficult not to love dumplings! I’m sure there must be a Russian restaurant that serves them…LLGxx

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I love the russian style pierogis that we ate bucket-fulls of in Krakow last summer…(the white soft cheese and potato, with crispy onions sprinkled on top…) So I’d be very intrigued to try a mouthful of those dumplings…

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Oh, yes pielmeni are REALLY famous in Russia, not only Russians but a lot of other people in Eastern Europe like them. Pielmeni are those with meat and there are also varieniki which can be made with pretty much everything: cabbage, potato, cherries, home-made cheese etc. My favourite are with potato and mushrooms with lots of sour cream, mmmm
My friend actually used to work in Veselka so I’ve heard about it. 🙂 x

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Oh wawwww! you’ve made me so nostalgic. For 20 years my New York home from home was 9th St/2nd Avenue, so Veselka like my personal kitchen… Also 2nd Avenue Deli just around the corner for matzo balls of extreme fluffiness (and extreme size…).

And very useful info on iPad. I am always so relieved when I find someone else not glamoured into infantile worship by the Apple hegemony (perfect word for it too). They do some things brilliantly, but it doesn’t make everything they do beyond level-headed assessment.

You have confirmed that I will want to buy an iPad 2…

Mxxx

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When you return to Russia, make sure to try Вареники с Вишней, the cherry dumplings.

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Can you believe I only had seafood dumplings for the first time this year and then vegetarian dumplings last week. They are heavy but have discovered the Asian ones with rice paper and it has a beautiful light and fresh feel to the palate. Love your description of the Russian dumplings, although would have gone for the squeeze of lemon and no cream.

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I remember being alternately delighted and appalled at the food I ate when I visited Russia. The pelmeni were a highlight, along with honey and jam from our host’s dacha… the breaded salmon (texture like sawdust) and the breakfast of the bulgar wheat in sour milk were less lovely. Tomatoes good, squid bad. It could have something to do with Moscow being so far from the sea that the sea food was so bad.

Glad you’re finding tasty food where ever you go!

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similar is Gyoza in japan restaurants….

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Glad you enjoyed Pushkin: it’s a pretty amazing place and, despite being the Moscow equivalent of the Russian Tea Room, is not remotely tourist-trappy. Just authentic, fab Russian food. It was one of the stops on the Great L&J Wedding Tour and the peeps really enjoyed it.

The Bear’s nanny makes the awesomest pelmeni. Next time you are here, he’ll make sure to ask his Auntie LLG over for lunch! Xx

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