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.