From Russia With Love
There is an old Russian saying that, when translated, means: “Appetite comes with the meal” meaning that an activity grows on you once you start practicing it. This applies, too, to Russian dining as I found out. It didn’t take long before I discovered Suvoroff located at the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai.
From the moment you walk through the door you are embraced in old-world character and charm. The restaurant is smaller than expected yet cozy. There’s a moose head above the fireplace and a large brown bear that, for lack of a better description, epitomizes every image you’ve ever had about Mother Russia.
We were greeted warmly when we arrived and ushered to our table with a flurry. The dining options had been pre-chosen for us and were already prepared by the time we had arrived. One thing was for certain, we had not counted on Russian efficiency being that close to Germans.
“The Beautiful Lure”
The appetizers came first. Herring was the fish of choice and was apparent in almost all of the dishes. From the kitchen we were treated to a classic Russian salad referred to as “Dressed Herring”. This layered salad is made of finely sliced pickled herring, onion, potatoes, carrots and beetroot…which is primarily responsible for the bright pink color.
The second salad was the Vinaigrette Salad. Similar in bright pink color but milder in flavor due to the lacking of the egg that was present in the Dressed Herring, it consisted of diced cooked vegetables, chopped onion and sauerkraut and/or brined pickles (we couldn’t distinguish). Initial reactions were of being refreshed, which was perfect for the hot summer evening and it conjured up memories of a what some westerners might consider a ‘bean salad’ – albeit with no beans.
The most intriguing and yet dish that we were most apprehensive about was the Boiled Veal Tongue with horseradish. Thinly sliced, it didn’t make any friends by appearance. The ashy colored meat redeemed itself in flavor as we quickly discovered it was a close relative to roast beef. Dipped in a small amount of the salsa supplement, it had quickly become one of the table favorites so far.
When the next round of morsels made their way from the kitchen, the all resembled a fried breakfast pasty rather than what we were told were ‘pies’. Uzbek were on the first plate. These half-moon shaped pastries were stuffed with ground veal and seasonings.
The Bilyashiki were on a plate next to them and were triangle shaped, but these were filled with rich and creamy cheese and greens; which as near as we could tell were perhaps chives or perhaps dill.
A third option came out shortly after and these were stuffed to the brim with green onion and egg which made for a very rich flavor despite being encased in dough and then being fried.
“Out of Danger”
By this time, we were all beginning to feel satisfied, but had yet to arrive at the main course for the evening. Brimming out of a homemade bread loaf, the Roast Beef and vegetables were smothered in a thick stew-like sauce and baked in the oven. The bread loaf was crusty on the outside yet soft and puffy on the inside…much like our Russian comrades of the North.
This was a dish that I hit my inner-Russian as it was similar to what Mom used to make back home in the very cold state of Minnesota during the winter time. It was a comfort food which we all dove into and enjoyed immensely with flashbacks to home. Even my Filipino friend said it was something they had in the Philippines, it just came by a different name.
“A Piece of Cake”
We were now contemplating how much damage we could do to the three desserts the kitchen had prepared for us. Presented to us was a giant triangular slice of home made honey cake, a square slice of Napoleon Cake that was the size of Mother Russia herself, and some more fried pastries this time filled with curd cheese.
What can I say? They were all rich and filling and maintained the stereotypical Russian mantra of it’s going to be heavy. The consensus was that we all enjoyed the Honey Cake; perhaps because it was something that really made us feel like we were in Eastern Europe. It was also fairly dense which helped to fill in any gaps that we might have had in our stomach.
It would have been nice to have some traditional Russian Vodkas along with the meal, but we certainly didn’t miss them.
Although we didn’t get to try some of the more commonly known dishes such as the Borscht, my only regret is that I didn’t find this restaurant sooner. It’s not a place that I would frequent all of the time, but it certainly became one of my favorites.
Jumeirah Beach Residence - Jumeirah Beach Road – Dubai
10am – 12am
Not necessary, but if you want: 04-437-0178
Photo Credit: Neil Hernandez | Instagram: @tabaneil