Sunday, 23 September 2007

Ivan the Kozak

46-48 Cochrane St, Central
Visited 21st September


Heading up the Central Escalator to SoHo I've often wondered about Ivan the Kazak; that strange looking Russian restaurant with its pot plants and statue with the well endowed moustache. Naomi and I were heading to Aberdeen for an exotic weekend on a friends junk so we figured we may as well keep the sense of adventure alive and try some Russian and Ukrainian food. I've never eaten at a Russian restaurant before, but Ivan the Kozak certainly makes you feel as if you're in a Russian restaurant. The place is shrouded in heavy wooden timber, murals adorn the walls, the cutlery and crockery is old-school and the big, blond headed staff look the part, they even have an 'ice room' where you can drink vodka in freezing temperatures
.

The menu looked good and to my untrained eye pretty authentic, or a least the Russian names sounded authentic. I had 'Solynka'; a tasty salmon, lemon and olive soup as an entree, while Naomi enjoyed her 'Gorohoviy' or split pea and bacon soup. Though both soups were good, the serves were rather small and would have benefited from a bit of bread on the side. The range of mains looked fantastic but the lack of decent bangers in Hong Kong pushed me towards the 'Kolbasa Domasnaya' or homemade sausages. The huge sausage was accompanied by steamed broccoli, cabbage and a little tomato sauce, the serve was generous, but the sausage was disappointingly dry. Naomi claimed she was "sick of not having room for dessert" so while I gorged on meat and veg she had a dainty entree serve of 'Pelmeni'; tasty little dumplings stuffed with pork. For her much anticipated dessert Naomi ordered an adequate strawberry 'blini' or crepe.

Ivan the Kozak is certainly an experience. The food is honest and simple, but to pull this off the quality must be good; the soups were, but my main wasn't. The service was friendly and efficient, while the drinks menu featured a huge range of vodkas and some good Eastern European beers. Our bill was $357 which seems pretty fair for a meal in Central. When all's said and done the real strength of Ivan the Kozak is, as the good people at Monty Pythons once said "and now for something completely different".

Visit restaurant website.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I went to Ivan for lunch...
I do not know if Ivan gave you some money or what.. because the buffet was REALLY DISGUSTING!!!!!!!

the meat: was old and with a strange flavor...
the bread: old...
the restaurant smeels like a toilet...
and all that for 100hkd!!! come on!!!

for sure i will not come bac and try your exotic 'solynka'

all in all, really do not go there... unless you want to breakup with youe grilfreind or whatever...

chauu!
Mariano

Andrew said...

Hi Mariano

I haven't tried the lunch buffet, but it sounds terrible. I wasn't that positive in my post - I said the serves of soup were small, the meat dry and the only really good thing was it’s novelty. It seems like below average food is the norm there, thanks for your comments.

Andrew

Charlie said...

Went for dinner last night and it was quite horrid.

The highlights of the meal were the fruit beers and the vodka. The food was a big let down.

Red caviar starter is almost impossible to mess up, but instead of the great blinis they served last time we were there, a few years ago, two rubbery cold "pancake" were served which had the consistency of a rubber sheet.

The seafood pancake starter was filled with a lukewarm assortment of frozen and tasteless seafood.

My wife's veal stew needed a hefty slug of tobasco to give it any flavour, and my lamb chops were fatty and lukewarm served with frozen peas/sweetcorn.

Total bill was $616 and the whole experience was a big disappointment.

Andrew said...

Hey Charlie

Another negative comment on 'Ivan the Kozak'. I haven't been back there since I first went over a year ago and by the sounds of things I doubt I'll give it another chance either.

Thanks for the comment
Andrew

Anonymous said...

Самойлову Сергею- повару "Ivan the Kozak". Верни мои фото, видео, письма. Срочно!!! Хочу вычеркнуть весь ужас с тобой из своей жизни. Крюченкова Татьяна.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reviews. I was curious about this place everytime I visit Hong Kong but I guess I may give it a miss...maybe except have a shot of vodka or two.

Andrew said...

Hey

I haven't been there for over three years, but judging by the other comments that have been left here I wouldn't bother!

Cheers
Andrew

farfromdomestic said...

Wow, I'm so surprised there are so many negative reviews of this place. I was there in 2010 and the food tasted fine to me. My favorites are the varenyky, or Ukrainian dumplings, and the kielbasa. Either my taste buds are brain dead or they've improved over the past two years. I'd definitely tell encourage you guys to give it another go. I'll probably go again sometime soon and do a write-up on my blog on how it goes!

Linda

MT Maloney said...

Loved Ivan the Kozak. I think the problem with the reviews here is that people don't understand what this place is.

Come for ice-cold quality vodka, great caviar, and a fantastic environment.

Reviews that begin with "i went for the buffet" or "I ordered the fruit beer" should be immediately invalidated and the authors laughed right back to wherever it is they came from.