A Russian restaurant! It's not quite what you expect in downtown Chennai ... indeed I can't think of many places (Russia excepted) where you would come across a place advertising traditional Russian food.
The Winter Palace (the name is from the Tsar's old palace in St Petersburg which was stormed by the Bolsheviks in 1917, an event recreated in one of the high points of Soviet cinematography) is just a stroll away from where I and my fellow guest faculty are staying. And it has had good reviews.
So we gave it a go!
The Winter Palace is in the grounds of the Russian Cultural Centre, and the decor has been assembled with some care. It might be identikit Ruski diplomatic design, but there was a certain charm to it.
The menu includes some Russian favourites - borscht is there of course along with various versions of stroganoff - but extends well beyond it. Alcohol is served (but if you order a beer and can't work out why the mug has come and nothing more, do check carefully - there could be a sprinkling of Kingfisher lurking in the depths of the tankard). The service is ... well, well-meaning.
All it lacks is customers.
And the food? Well, on the whole impressive. We all enjoyed our meals - which ranged from steak to pasta, to stroganoff to pork loin. To be honest, it was better than I expected.
I had the pork, advertised as in a French style - which basically meant that there was a bit of melted cheese on top of each piece of loin. It was good, served with freshly-fried potatoes. A decent portion and intelligently cooked.
But alongside the high standard of the cuisine, I need to mention that there were - if you follow my drift - after-effects. You can't be sure about cause and effect, and I might well storm the Winter Palace again ... but Jane's prayers to/for her chicken stroganoff were not fully answered!
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