Sunday, 21/01/2018 11:56

Moscow dreams come to life at Hà Nội restaurant

Hot or cold: Red beet soup, a traditional dish of Russia, is a must at Little Dream in Ha Noi. Photos by Ho Ngoc
Viet Nam News
By Ha Nguyen
Viet Nam’s once large Russian presence is reflected in the Little Dream Moscow Restaurant in Ha Noi. It serves dishes with true Russian flavour.
On a recent Sunday,  I was invited to the restaurant located in quiet Nguyen Gia Thieu Street.
When we arrived, we immediately recognised the restaurant because of its Russian characteristics. My friend, Nguyen Xuan Tam, 70, who had worked in Russia for many years, said he and his friends met there every year.
A waiter in Russian traditional dress welcomed us and led us to our table near a window on the third floor. We could enjoy  the beauty of  green trees in villas opposite.
While waiting for our dishes, we heard Russian music and songs that reminded us of the elegant beauty of Russia and its birch forests. Tam was particularly moved, declaring the restaurant was part of Moscow. 
We agreed to let Tam to do the ordering because he knew the food well. Our starter was Russian salad (VND88,000) which is a mixture of several sorts of vegetables, herbs, nuts and roots and a special mayonnaise imported from Russia. I’ve heard of the dish, but it was the first time I had tried it.
Tam said the dish was good for women because it helped keep them slender.
Next came the traditional red beet soup (VND35,000) which is so nutritious it seems to be a part of every Russian meal.
“The dish comes from a favourite vegetable of the Slavonic people, known as red beet root," said Tam. "It is great to enjoy hot soup in winter because it keeps you warm, and to have cold soup in summer because it helps to reduce body heat.”
For the main course, we ordered grilled pork (VND 118,000), Leningrad steamed rolls (VND 48,000) and salmon caviar (VND 680,000/ a 70gr tin), cucumber and salted garlic stalks (VND108,000).
The waiter told us that these dishes were traditional Russian food, particularly the salmon caviar which I tried for the first time. Eaten with bread and butter, I really enjoyed  when chewing the eggs which crackled in my mouth. 
Fragrant: The grilled pork is so tasty that no one can refuse.
Zest: Russian salad can be an enjoyable meal in itself.
Herbal: Kvas, a traditional Russian drink, is almost addictive.
Delicious: Grilled salmon Russian style is as good as it gets.
The grilled pork was similar to Vietnamese pork, but a bit different as the meat was fragrant and crispy and had a buttery taste.
I liked the dish and ate so much I felt thirsty. Tam told me I should drink Kvas (VND 58,000 per glass), a traditional Russian drink.
Looking at the drink, I thought it must taste like Coke or Pepsi that I don’t like. Tam encouraged me try, saying it was fragrant and cool. “I’m an addict of Kvas. I drank one or two litres a day when I was working in Russia,” he said.
He was right. The drink was so good that I drank three glasses despite the low temperature outside. Curious, I asked Tam about Kvas and he said the drink was being fermented from buckwheat or rye. Although fermented, Kvas is listed as non-alcoholic in Russia.
“It is much more tasty when mixed with peppermint or strawberries. Russian cooks still uses Kvas for cooking cold summer soup known as okroshka,” Tam said, adding that Zvenigorod town in Moscow’s northwest was the birth place of  the beverage. Despite being full, I still wanted to drink more Kvas.
Tam wanted to order other Russian dishes, such as Salotka salted fish, grilled salmon Russian style and black salmon eggs with white Russian bread, but I told him we could visit the restaurant again.
We left with a resounding impression of quality, cosiness and fresh, aromatic food. We all agreed that we felt as if we were in Russia, and the staff were clearly passionate about the dishes they were serving.
If you’re looking for a calm respite from the hustle of downtown Ha Noi or fancy trying some traditional Russian dining, Little Dream Moscow comes highly recommended. — VNS
Little Dream Moscow Restaurant in Ha Noi
Address:  4 Nguyen Gia Thieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Tel: 0246.680.9339 / 0937277939
Opening time: 9am to 9pm
Comment: Authentic Russian cuisine with modern flair in a spectacular, cosy setting and refined hospitality.


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