What do you know about Russian cuisine? The main thing - we don't use spices at all. Salt and black pepper - that's it. And it’s almost the truth, but I would add - parsley, mustard and bay leaf. We love brown bread and potatoes – the same way Indians love rice.
Besides, we really know how to cook meat. How to preserve vegetables fruits and berries too, as soon they are available in our climate, which is only in July, August and September. Therefore, we used to try to put these products on our table during the wintertime in the form of jam, compote, pickles, etc. And these homemade sweet or sour appetizers are really tasty and mostly healthy; they go with the main course as side dishes.
So where can you try something like this in Goa? For Russian-Ukrainian style, since these two countries were always like brother and sister to each other, you can try the following four locations in the North part of the state.
Mama's Grill House by Banana Republic, Baga
It’s the newest place run by a Ukrainian couple Tania and Artem, who is known as the founder of Tito's Bar Academy. They opened the restaurant in 2021 opposite Cavala and emphasise the grill. If you have heard about shashlik (our way of barbecue), it’s available there. So pork, chicken, fish and seafood are marinated and grilled according to Russian-Ukrainian traditions, served with homemade sauces and pickles. Two-three times a week Tania cooks some special dishes as well, like famous beetroot soup Borsch, burgers or Russian salad with salted lemon fish. In our country, the breed of the fish is definitely different. And always freshly baked bread and banana or apple pie!
We cannot call it a pure Russian or Ukrainian cuisine restaurant, but the preparation of the meal is based on those traditions and some authentic dishes are there too. And there is a swimming pool, by the way.
SHO Cafe, Ashvem
This small cozy place is also run by a Ukrainian fella since the last season. Illarion has a very limited menu of 4-5 fresh dishes daily, but those are pure Ukrainian-Russian. Borsch soup accompanied with a shot of vodka, Russian salad, chicken cutlets with mashed potatoes. Pelmeni and Varenniki (like dumplings or momos almost, but boiled) are cooked according to classical recipes, which are very well known in every post USSR family. You can try some homemade cake too with herbal tea here.
BORA BORA, Morjim
This restaurant-shack is the oldest place in our list - it was founded 16 years ago by three Russian partners and became very popular, especially because it works 24/7 during the season time. You can get a typical Russian breakfast - Syrniky (cottage cheese kind of cake) with condensed milk or sour cream. And you can also order pancakes with cottage cheese or oat porridge served with some fruits. For lunch and dinner, you can get Olivie, also known as Russian salad, Borsch soup and chicken cutlets with mashed potatoes. The rest of the menu are continental and Asian dishes.
Anna created this restaurant for the purpose of introducing her beautiful native country Armenia, which also once was a part of USSR, to Goans and all the tourists. Nobody in India knew anything about this wonderful part of the world: where is it, what kind of culture, traditions or cuisine. But their food was always the favourite for Russian speaking people – kebabs, Kharcho soup, Dalma (beef minced in the grape leaf) and Khachapuri. And there is only one place in India where you are able to experience such a special culinary journey. Plus oriental coffee, brewed in the sand is also found only at Lavash. No wonder, it’s very cosy here. Anna and her Goan husband Pedro Fernandes meant this place for their friends and guests to feel relaxed and at home. Lavash exists since December, 2018.
The way spices are respected in the Caucasus, so you can't call Armenian or Georgian food tasteless or bland in any way.